I want to grow in prayer and want to help others grow in prayer. As a result of that desire, I recently found myself in a Google search rabbit hole browsing for “tools for prayer.” One of the search results made me both angry and thankful.
I was angry because I found on one website, I found a bundle of items for sale by a self-proclaimed “prophetess.” These items included an anointed prayer mat (complete with the prophetess’s brand logo), an anointed prayer pillow, and Engedi Anointed Oil (no idea what that one is).
What made me angry was that this prophetess charged $150(!!!) for these “specialty prayer tools.”
The truth is, we don’t need to spend a penny to gain special access to God through prayer. Believers have special access because of the price Jesus paid for us. Thinking about that glorious truth is when the thankfulness began to set in. God has given us so many free prayer tools in the Bible and through the service and gifts of His children!
Here are ten of the best free prayer tools from the gracious hand of God. They are all simple but profoundly helpful and effective at seeking God’s face.
5 Free Prayer Tools from God’s Word
1. Pray the Bible Back to God
The Bible is the best prayer tool because through the Bible, God speaks to us, thus starting the conversation that we continue in prayer. Praying in response to the Bible is simply responding to what God has said.
This is a great practical relief for me! I don’t need to wait until I’m especially inspired or mentally sharp to approach God in prayer. I just open the Bible, read what God says to me through His Word, and respond. It’s that simple.
If you want a little structure for praying the Bible, the next point will help you.
2. The 3-Rs
When you find a truth or verse of Scripture you want to pray, follow the 3-R method. First, rejoice in that truth, then repent from your sin that the truth exposed, and finally, request God’s help for yourself or others to be changed by that truth. This three-fold way to pray the Bible helps you be well-rounded in what you pray for.
Consider this example from Romans 5:8, which reads, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
- Rejoice – God thank you for your love poured out for me on the cross! Thank you that you give sinners like me hope in forgiveness and salvation in Jesus.
- Repent – Forgive me for my sin and for not fully appreciating Your grace to me in Jesus.
- Request – God, help me live in greater worship of You. Deepen my grasp of Your grace so I am transformed and a light to our broken world.
Praying the 3-Rs is that easy!
3. The Lord’s Prayer
Some say that all types of prayer is contained in the Lord’s Prayer. This shouldn’t be surprising, because it, after all, is how Jesus taught His disciples to pray.
I recommend praying the Lord’s Prayer three ways: verbatim (it takes about twenty seconds), as a general template for prayer (like Martin Luther recommended), and praying it specifically for a person or situation. See my example below.
[Also, watch this video: How the Lord’s Prayer Helps Us Overcome Our Prayer Struggles]
4. The Psalms
God has graciously given us 150 inspired prayers that we can take to God in prayer. There are two general categories of Psalm, praise and lament.
- Lament Psalms are simply a response to the bad in the world. These often express sorrow at challenges in the life of the Psalmist and sometimes complain before God.
- The second type of Psalm is a Praise Psalm, which is a response to the goodness of God.
The Psalms provide Holy-Spirit inspired prayers for all types of situations and emotions you can experience, and the deeper you go in studying and praying the Psalms, the richer your prayer life will be.
5. Paul’s Prayers
Scattered throughout his thirteen epistles are many prayers by the apostle Paul—some long and glorious, others short and sweet. I consider Paul’s prayers to be a broad category—one that includes both his actual prayers and the glimpses he gives into his prayer life. These glimpses allow us to see things such as Paul’s reasons for thanksgiving, his reports on personal prayers, his requests for prayer, and his benedictions. These prayers and glimpses reveal the heart Paul has for God and his Spirit-inspired priorities.
Here is one example of a prayer you can make your own from Romans 15:13:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Here are a few other passages to study and pray: Ephesians 1:15–23, 3:14–21; Philippians 1:9–11; Colossians 1:9-12; 2 Thessalonians 3:1–5. (See a full list of Paul’s Prayers or this 30-minute teaching session).
Watch a short example of how I pray Ephesians 1:15–23
5 Prayer Tools from God’s People
6. The Prayers of Others
Many believers throughout the ages have penned their own prayers, preserving them for future generations. The classic recommendation is The Valley of Vision book of Puritan prayers which is available to read for free online. You may also enjoy Pastor Scotty Smith’s blog or some of the prayers I have written (a prayer for anxiety, work, contentment).
7. Teaching on Prayer
The internet provides us with a wealth of free resources on prayer. Consider the free books on prayer by John Bunyan, David McIntyre (which John Piper and Wayne Grudem called influential), and A Simple Way to Pray by Martin Luther (which you can find with a quick Google Search.)
You may also enjoy these 5 Encouraging Sermons on Prayer, the first chapter of my book When Prayer Is a Struggle, or the free video course called Pray the Bible that I put together coming out this fall with Open the Bible.
8. A Prayer Journal
A journal is a great tool for prayer because it can help you organize your thoughts and prayer requests, and allows you to see how God has answered prayer over time. Also, if you struggle to focus in prayer, you may find the practice of writing your prayers aids concentration.
9. The PrayerMate App
I love the PrayerMate app (Apple and Android) because it is simple and easy to use and it helps me organize various Scriptures and prayer requests. It’s basically a digital prayer-card system.
I’ve used PrayerMate for several years, and now when I tell people I’ll pray for them, I immediately plug in their request into the app and actually do pray for them! (Genius, right?)
This last free prayer tool may seem a strange one to include, but it has greatly helped my prayer life.
10. Short prayers.
You may be surprised to realize that many of Scripture’s prayers are very, very short. Consider the words of Jesus from the cross: “Father, forgive them they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). This prayer was perhaps three seconds. The Lord’s Prayer takes about twenty seconds to pray verbatim. The shortest Psalms can be prayed in about ten seconds. And I love the story of Nehemiah. He prayed during a conversation with the king—Scripture doesn’t even record what his words were—but we learn that God answered his prayer, and as a result, used Nehemiah to do great good for the people of Israel.
God even hears one word prayers prayed in faith like “Thanks!” “Help!” or “Wow!” Don’t discount the power of short prayers! They might change your life or even the world.
Free prayer tools will be the topic of one my next YouTube videos, so subscribe to my channel if you’d like to see it.