The Scriptures present many examples of prayer and its effectiveness. While we may despair sometimes, thinking that God does not hear prayer or is not concerned with our welfare, we can take comfort when we consider how God has answered prayers of those who have gone on before us.
Abraham. God charged Abimelech to restore Sarah to Abraham. In return, Abraham prayed to God for Abimelech, and he and his household were healed (Genesis 20:7, 17).
Moses. Many times Moses prayed to God for the people. On account of Moses’ prayers, God ended a fire (Numbers 11:2), delivered the people from the fiery serpents (Numbers 21:7), and did not destroy them (Deuteronomy 9:26).
Hannah. Hannah fervently prayed to God near the Tabernacle, and He provided her with a son (1 Samuel 1:10-27).
Samuel. Samuel constantly petitioned the LORD, seeking to understand what His will was for Israel, and God responded (1 Samuel 7:5, 8:6, 12:19, 12:23).
Solomon. Solomon prayed that God would be with Israel and sanctify the Temple. God consecrated it and put His name there (1 Kings 8-9).
Elijah. Elijah is described as a man with a “nature like ours,” and because he prayed, God both caused drought to strike Israel and later provided rain (James 5:17-18; cf. 1 Kings 17-18).
Elisha. Elisha prayed for God to raise a child from the dead and blind the Arameans, and He did so (2 Kings 4:33, 6:17-18).
Hezekiah. When Jerusalem was besieged by the Assyrians, and all hope was lost, Hezekiah and the people of Judah prayed to God, and He delivered them from the hands of Assyria (2 Kings 19). Hezekiah also prayed when he was told that he would die, and God lengthened his life by fifteen years (2 Chronicles 32).
Nehemiah. Nehemiah prayed to God when he heard of Jerusalem’s condition, and God provided for him to build the wall and protect the city (Nehemiah 1:4, 6, 11).
Esther. Esther fasted (and most likely prayed) before speaking with the Persian king regarding the doom of her people. Even though God’s name is never mentioned in the book, it is clear that He provided deliverance through her influence and actions (Esther 4:15-17).
Job. Job’s prayer for his friends brought about their cleansing by God (Job 42:8).
Daniel. Even when it was made illegal to pray to God, Daniel still did so, and God delivered him from his trials (Daniel 6:10).
Jesus. Even though Jesus was the Son of God and God Himself (John 1:1, Matthew 16:17), He often prayed to the Father. He would pray by Himself on the mountain (Matthew 14:23, Luke 5:16) and prayed to God just before He suffered (Matthew 26:36-44). As it is written:
[Jesus], who in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear (Hebrews 5:7).
The Apostles. After Jesus departed from them, they continued in prayer (Acts 1:14). They also considered it their task to devote themselves to the ministry of the Word and to prayer (Acts 6:2).
The early church. The earliest church devoted itself, among other things, to prayer (Acts 2:42).
Paul. Paul constantly spent time in prayer. While he was imprisoned in Philippi with Silas, they spent the time praying and singing, and God delivered them by the earthquake (Acts 16:25). Paul prayed for the Christians with whom he came into contact (cf. Romans 1:10) and pleaded for Christians to pray for him (cf. Ephesians 6:18-19).
Epaphras. Paul testifies how devoted Epaphras was to his work among the Colossians, continually praying for their development and confidence in the faith (Colossians 4:12).
These are some of the many examples of prayer as revealed in the Scriptures; no doubt many others have prayed and God has provided deliverance to them also. We can see that prayer is a constant feature of godly people throughout the Bible, and God has responded to prayers in many ways. Let us not be disheartened; we may not be prophets, but we can be righteous, and our prayers can be fervent and effective (James 5:17-18). Let us be devoted to God in prayer!