The Discipline of Prayer

Lesson 1998
Tags: Prayer
Excerpted from “Just a Closer Walk with Thee”: Spiritual Disciplines for Devotional Vitality
Related Resources: The Lord’s PrayerGod’s Best for Us (Matt. 7:7-11)

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men” (1 Tim 2.1).


  • We develop friendships by spending time with others, especially in conversation. This is no less true of our relationship with God than of our relationships with fellow men and women.
  • Prayer is not primarily a matter of asking and receiving. God has a much higher purpose for prayer. He intends for it to be our primary means of communication with him. More specifically, prayer allows us to fellowship with God as a friend.
  • Prayer should include a variety of elements, including adoration, confession of sin, praise, thanksgiving, petition, and intercession.
  • Prayer is in many ways foundational to the other disciplines. No relationship can grow apart from communication.


Ask the participants to pray around an attribute of God or a spiritual truth for a certain number of minutes. Suggested themes are listed below:

  • God’s role as refuge (Ps 46.1)
  • God’s provision for our needs (Phlp 4.19)
  • God’s deep love for man, as shown in Christ (Jn 3.16)

Further Reading

Barker, Laura J. “Will You Pray for Me?: Six Essentials of Effective Intercession.” Today’s Christian Woman July 1995: 38-40.

“Best Books on Prayer.” Discipleship Journal Mar. 1994: 49-50.

Bounds, E. M. Numerous writings on the subject of prayer.

Eastman, Dick. The Hour That Changes the World: A Practical Plan for Personal Prayer. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1978.

Foster, Richard J. “The Discipline of Prayer.” Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth. Rev. ed. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1988. 33-46.

--------. “5 Misconceptions That Hinder Prayer.” Discipleship Journal Mar. 1994: 33.

Gaddy, C. Welton. “Prayer: A Love Affair with God.” Discipleship Journal Mar. 1996: 20-24.

Hartman, Lance. “Does Prayer Change God’s Mind?” Discipleship Journal Mar. 1994: 36-41.

Hughes, R. Kent. “Discipline of Prayer.” Disciplines of a Godly Man. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1991. 93-104.

Lewis, C. S. “If God Is Sovereign, Why Should We Pray?” Discipleship Journal Jan. 1994: 82.