Prayer is the privilege of the believer to communicate with the living God whereby he expresses his desires to God while making requests that are agreeable with His will and through His name. Generally speaking, one is expressing their dependency on God when they pray. It involves confession of his sin and also praying for others, all with thankfulness. It is essential to pray in the Spirit.
Who: A partial list in James chapter five informs us to pray if we are sick, cheerful, suffering; those who are faithful and righteous. The sinner is to pray.
Why: Because it is an expression of our dependency and need of God. Prayer is a means by which we confess our sins, praise, petition, and give thanks to God.
How: There are several suggestions as to how the people (including Jesus) prayed. These suggestions include: fervently, earnestly, with devotion, with thanksgiving, without ceasing, with their hopes set on God, alone, in a secluded place, with a few other believers, with the church assembled together, kneeling, standing, sitting, and sometimes with fasting.
What: It appears there is no limit. For instance, people prayed: to honor God and worship Him, before healing sick people, before raising the dead back to life, that the Lord would send laborers into His harvest, for boldness in the face of persecution, that Christ would dwell in their hearts through faith, for strength to comprehend Christ’s love, to be filled with the fullness of God, to be strengthened with all power, for safety and deliverance, for guidance, for children, and to be kept from temptation. 2Thessalonians 1:11 gives us an example of another important aspect of prayer, that being the need to pray for to each other to be worthy of their calling. (“…always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of your calling…”)
When: There was no “set time” when people prayed. They prayed at all times. For instance: before healing someone or raising them from the dead, the church prayed for Peter when he was in prison, while walking along the road, Peter and John were on their way to the temple to pray at 3:00 p.m., Peter prayed at the sixth hour in Acts 10, Cornelius prayed at the ninth hour, also in Acts 10, and Jesus prayed all night.
It seems that whenever there was a need, the Lord’s people prayed, no matter what time it was. Praying was a way of life.
Where: People were not limited as to where they were when they prayed. Some examples include: in the upper room, in their own homes, Jesus in the synagogue, Jesus on the road somewhere with His disciples, Paul on his knees in prison, women at the riverside, on the housetop (Peter), Gethsemane (Jesus), on a mountain (Jesus), Paul prayed at the house of Judas on Straight Street, and Peter prayed while he was sinking in the water. We can offer our prayers anywhere!
Scripture List: Matt 21:22; Mark 11:22-26; Luke 18:10-14; James 4:2-33; 1John 5:14-15; 1Thes. 5:17-18; Eph. 6:18; Phil. 4:6; Rom. 8:26-29; John 15:7; Matt. 5:44; Luke 6:27-28; 1Tim. 2:1-2; Mark 8:6; Jude 20; James 5:13; 3John 2-3; James 1:5; Col. 1:9-11; 2Thess. 1:11-12; 2Thess. 3:1-2; Eph. 1:15-16; Acts 12:5, 14-20; 1Pet. 3:12; John 9:31; Matt. 18:20; John 17:1-12; 2Thess. 1:11.