When I discovered different ways to pray, I was really excited. Prayer had become stale and stagnant to me, an obligation not an inspiration.

This discovery opened up the heavens. I don’t know if I so much found them as they found me. They were in the Bible the entire time. I just needed eyes to see them.

What does this mean?

  • There are lots of possibilities for prayer.
  • We don’t have to pray like other people.
  • We can find the prayer types that work best for us.
  • We can pray our own prayers.

This is what I saw.

When you read the letters of the apostle Paul, you see that he’s exceedingly thankful. Time and again, Paul begins his letters with thanksgiving:

“I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you” (Romans 1:8).

“I always thank God for you” (1 Corinthians 1:4).

“I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers” (Ephesians 1:16).

Of the thirteen letters that are normally attributed to Paul, he’s thankful in ten of them. But if you read other biblical writers, they don’t sound the same.

Instead of thanks, David offers praise:

“O LORD, our LORD, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens” (Psalm 8:1).

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge” (Psalm 18:2).

“Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:1–2).

And instead of offering praise, Joshua prays God’s Word. His instructions for bringing the Israelites to the Promised Land were,

“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you maybe be careful to do everything written in it.” (Joshua 1:8)

And with these new eyes, I saw 12 different types of prayer.

prayer types heart

Here are 12 different types of prayer and a step to begin finding your best prayer types.


Definition: Multiple believers agreeing on earth with what heaven is saying

Bible character: Acts church

Verse: Matthew 18:19-20


Definition: Acknowledging your sin to God, and then celebrating the forgiveness you have received

Bible character: David

Verse: Psalm 51:2-3


Definition: Spending time with God in an activity that is not traditionally sacred or prayerful

Bible character: Adam and Eve

Verse: Genesis 3:8


Definition: God leading you to pray for the needs of a person, place, or cause

Bible character: Anna

Verse: Luke 2:37


Definition: Sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening for him

Bible character: Mary of Bethany

Verse: Psalm 46:10


Definition: Seeing a need and praying for it

Bible character: Leper and centurion

Verse: Luke 11:9


Definition: Declaring the truth about who God is, what he has done, or what he has promised to do

Bible character: Peter

Verse: Psalm 150:6

Praying the Bible

Definition: Praying the words of the Bible as your prayer

Bible character: Joshua

Verse: Joshua 1:8

Praying in Tongues

Definition: Praying in a personal spiritual language that edifies you and your relationship with God

Bible character: Paul

Verse: 1 Corinthians 14:14


Definition: Receiving a message from God for someone else

Bible character: Jeremiah

Verse: Jeremiah 1:7


Definition: Offering thanks to God

Bible character: Paul

Verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:18


Definition: Confronting the kingdom of Satan with the weapons of God’s kingdom

Bible character: The seventy-two others

Verse: Ephesians 6:12