What Does the Bible Say You Should Pray For?

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Often, I find myself wondering what I should be praying for.  It’s easy to find myself praying for those things I want, or would like to see happen.  We pray as a family before dinner, and at bedtime, but those prayers are usually routine and rehearsed.  Others reach out with prayer requests and of course I answer that I will pray.  But what does the Bible say??

So I spent some time in research and found that the Bible is definitely full of scripture on prayer.  There are many passages on where to pray and how to pray, as well as a plethora of examples of prayers throughout the new and old testaments.  When I began my search on what to pray, I was overloaded with very specific instructions.


According to scripture what should I be praying for?

How can I know what to pray for?

Praying for rest

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.   

Matthew 11:28

Praying for protection

The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
    the righteous man runs into it and is safe.   

Proverbs 18:10

Praying in adoration

Pray then like this:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.   

Matthew 6:9

Praying for God’s will

Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.   

Matthew 6:10

Praying for God’s provision

Give us this day our daily bread,    

Matthew 6:11

Praying for forgiveness

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!    

Psalm 51:1-2
and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.   

Matthew 6:12

Praying for help in avoiding temptation

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.   

Matthew 26:41
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.    

Matthew 6:13
Things to pray for

Praying for one another

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.   

James 5:16

Praying for an invitation

And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.   

Luke 11:9

Praying for leadership

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.   

1 Timothy 2:1-4

Praying for help

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
    and delivers them out of all their troubles.   

Psalm 34:17

Praying for your enemies

But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.   

Luke 6:28


But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.   

Matthew 5:44

Praying when suffering

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.  

James 5:13a

Praying when happy

Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.   

James 5:13b
What should I be praying for?

Praying for healing

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.   

James 5:14

Praying in gratefulness

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.   

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Praying in confession

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.   

1 John 1:9

Praying for missions

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.   

Matthew 9:37-38

Praying for strength

Seek the Lord and his strength;
    seek his presence continually!   

1 Chronicles 16:11

Praying for His nearness

The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.

Psalm 145:18

Praying for wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.   

James 1:5

Praying when complaining

Evening and morning and at noon
    I utter my complaint and moan,
    and he hears my voice.   

Psalm 55:17

Praying for anxiety

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.   

1 Peter 5:7

Praying for relief from burden

Cast your burden on the Lord,
    and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
    the righteous to be moved.   

Psalm 55:22

Praying for unbelief

And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried outand said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”    

Mark 9:24
Scripture on prayer - What does the Bible say?

Praying for your requests

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.   

Philippians 4:6

Praying for what you don’t know to pray for

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.   

Romans 8:26

So, what does the Bible say you should pray for?

EVERYTHING.  There is not a thing on this earth, not a thing you can come by or experience, that you should not lift up to God.  Whatever it is, He can handle it.  Don’t hold back because you are afraid that you are overstepping.  He wants to hear it all.  Even those things we aren’t quite yet aware of, He’s already heard the prayer.

When my kids and I were on a road trip through the mountains early one morning, we hit a bank of really thick fog.  This fog was so dense that I slowed down to a crawl on the curvy highway and considered pulling over.  But then, all at once, the fog lifted.  My daughter immediately started laughing and explained that she was just about to pray for God’s protection and guidance through the fog.  Because the Holy Spirit interceded on our behalf, her prayer was answered before she even uttered the words! God knows us intimately, whether we know Him in the same way or not.  He wants to hear every prayer on your heart.  He just wants you to talk to Him in the simplest of ways.  Don’t overthink it.  Just do it.  Today.

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