Prayers of the Old Testament

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Prayers of the Old Testament is one of the highly respected LifeGuide Bible Study Guides published by InterVarsity Press, a companion to Prayers of the New Testament. This study guide may be used by individuals or groups.

"I wrote these study guides because the prayers in the Bible have shaped and nurtured my own prayer life so profoundly." —Lynne Baab


From the introduction:
The Psalms are often called the prayer book of the Bible, and they provide beautiful models for a variety of moods and aspects of prayer. Throughout the ages, Christians have memorized the Psalms, praised God in communal worship with the Psalms and poured out their hearts to God using the emotive words of the Psalms.

Many Christians don't realize that dozens of prayers that are equally rich can be found elsewhere in the Bible. Some of the briefest prayers are evocative and inspiring, such as Samuel's prayer as a boy: "Speak, for your servant is listening" (1 Samuel 3:10). Some are exuberant and joyful, such as Moses and Miriam's prayer of exultation after God parted the Red Sea (Exodus 15:1-18). Jeremiah's prayers resonate with honest passion and pain, expressing his need for God in powerful and vivid language.

Each of the prayers in the Bible provides a model for our own prayers—as individuals, in small group settings and in corporate worship—which can help us get out of our ruts. Many of us tend to pray for the same things over and over: the same requests for our loved ones and the same pleas for the difficulties in our own lives. Similarly, when we focus our prayers on gratitude, we tend to praise and thank God for the same kinds of things. The prayers we'll study from the Old Testament can teach us to pray in new ways, bringing freshness to our routines. In many cases, we can even use the exact words of a prayer in the Bible.

These prayers also show diverse moods and expressions of prayer, modeling how many different emotions can play a role and answering some common questions: Can I be honest with God in prayer? Can I truly bring all my emotions before God as I pray? Does God really care about everything in my life? Does God really enter into every part of my life?

Table of Contents

  1. A Prayer of Moses: Praising God for Doing Wonders Exodus 15:1-18
  2. A Prayer of Hannah: Turning Things Upside Down 1 Samuel 2:1-10
  3. A Prayer of Samuel: Learning to Listen 1 Samuel 3:1-14
  4. A Prayer of Solomon: Interceding for the Nations 1 Kings 8:22-53
  5. A Prayer of Isaiah: Confessing and Commissioning Isaiah 6
  6. A Prayer of Jeremiah: Bringing Every Emotion to God Jeremiah 20
  7. A Prayer of Jonah: Praying in Desperate Situations Jonah 2
  8. A Prayer of Habakkuk: Trusting God in Spite of Circumstances Habakkuk 3