The Importance of Prayer in The Old Testament

The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them. The Lord watches over all who love Him… (Psalms, 145:18-20)

… Let us go at once to entreat the Lord and seek the Lord Almighty… (Zechariah, 8:21)

Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime; it is the Lord Who makes the storm clouds. (Zechariah, 10:1)

“When my life was ebbing away… and my prayer rose to You.” (Jonah, 2:7)

So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with Him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “O Lord, the great and awesome God, Who keeps His covenant of love with all who love Him and obey His commands.” (Daniel, 9:3-4)

… At night His song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life. (Psalms, 42:8)

He [Job] prays to God and finds favor with Him, he sees God’s face and shouts for joy; he is restored by God… (Job, 33:26)

But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.” (Nehemiah, 6:9)

I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy… I cry to You, O Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” (Psalms, 142:1, 5)

… If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I… forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles, 7:14)

But we prayed to our God… (Nehemiah, 4:9)

You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship You. (Nehemiah, 9:6)

This is what the Lord says, He Who made the earth, the Lord Who formed it and established it—the Lord is His name: “Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah, 33:2-3)

I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord… When my spirit grows faint with in me, it is You Who know my way. In the path where I walk men have hidden a snare for me… I cry to You, O Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. (Psalms, 142:1-6)

From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said: “In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me… I called for help, and You listened to my cry. You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all Your waves and breakers swept over me… But You brought my life up from the pit, O Lord my God. When my life was ebbing away, I remembered You, Lord, and my prayer rose to You, what I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord.” (Jonah, 2:1-9)

O Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mer cy; in Your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief… I spread out my hands to You; my soul thirsts for You like a parched land. Answer me quickly, O Lord; my spirit fails. Do not hide Your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul. Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, for I hide my self in You. Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. For Your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life; in Your righteousness, bring me out of trouble… (Psalms, 143:1, 6-12)

Then Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high… There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides You; there is no strength like our God… For the Lord is a God Who knows, and by Him deeds are weighed… The Lord brings death and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and raises up.” The Lord sends poverty and wealth; He humbles and He exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap… “For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s… He will guard the feet of His saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness. It is not by strength that one prevails.” (1 Samuel, 2:1-9)

Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed… they could have children again. (Genesis, 20:17)

Then he prayed, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.” (Genesis, 24:12)

Moses then left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord. (Exodus, 10:18, 8:30)

… But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the Lord… pardon every one who sets his heart on seeking God—the Lord, the God of his fathers?” (2 Chronicles, 30:18-19)

Three times a day he [Daniel] got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. (Daniel, 6:10-11)

Then Solomon stood… spread out his hands to ward heaven and said: “O Lord… there is no god like You in heaven above or on earth below—You Who keep Your covenant of love with Your servants who continue wholeheartedly in Your way. O Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that Your servant is praying in Your presence this day… You will hear the prayer Your servant prays toward this place. Hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people… when they pray toward this place. When a man wrongs his neighbor and is required to take an oath and he comes and swears the oath before Your altar in this house… judge between your servants, condemning the guilty and bringing down on his own head what he has done… when they turn back to You and confess Your name, praying and making supplication to You in this house, then… forgive the sin of Your people… and bring them back to the land You gave to their fathers. When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because Your people have sinned against You, and when they pray toward this place and confess Your name and turn from their sin… then forgive the sin of Your servants… Teach them the right way to live, and send rain on the land You gave Your people for an inheritance. When famine or plague comes to the land, or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers, or when an enemy besieges them in any of their cities, whatever disaster or disease may come, and when a prayer or plea is made by any of Your people…—each one aware of the afflictions of his own heart, and spreading out his hands to ward this house—then… forgive… since You know his heart (for You alone know the hearts of all men), so that they will fear You all the time they live in the land You gave our fathers. As for the foreigner… has come from a distant land because of Your name—for men will hear of Your great name and Your mighty hand and Your out stretched arm—when he comes and prays toward this house… so that all the peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You… and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly’; and if they turn back to You with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to You toward the land You gave their fathers, toward the city You have chosen and the house I have built for Your Name; then… hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. And forgive Your people, who have sinned against You; forgive all the of fenses they have committed against You… may You listen to them when ever they cry out to You.” When Solomon had finished all these prayers and supplications to the Lord, he rose from before the altar of the Lord, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out toward heaven. (1 Kings, 8:22-54)

So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with Him in prayer and petition, in fasting. I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “O Lord… we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from Your commands and laws. We have not listened to Your servants the Prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. “Lord, You are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame… in all the countries where You have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to You. O Lord, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against You. The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him; we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws He gave us through His servants the Prophets… Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against You. You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing up on us great disaster… Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come up on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to Your truth. Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of Your servant… We do not make requests of You because we are righteous, but because of Your great mercy. O Lord, forgive!… For Your sake, O my God, do not delay… (Daniel, 9:3-19)

… The Prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “… I am Your servant and have done all these things at Your command. Answer me, O Lord, answer me… and that You are turning their hearts back again.” (1 Kings, 18:36-37)

… I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. “O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God… hear the prayer Your servant is praying before You day and night… Give your servant success today.” (Nehemiah, 1:4-7, 11)

Hezekiah received the letter… and spread it prayed “O Lord Almighty… You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.” (Isaiah, 37:14-16)

And seek the peace of the city… and pray to the Lord for it… (Jeremiah, 29:7)

Therefore pray for the remnant that still survives. (2 Kings, 19:4)

… [They] pray for the well-being… (Ezra, 6:10)

And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “O Lord… You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.” (2 Kings, 19:15)

And Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see…” (2 Kings, 6:17)

Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him!” (1 Kings, 17:21)

Hear my voice when I call, O Lord… Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior… Teach me your way, O Lord; lead me in a straight path… (Psalms, 27:7-11)

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