Sometimes new believers will say, “I don’t know what to say to God” or “I don’t know how to talk to God.” God helps us to talk to Him by telling us some things we should talk to Him about. Below are the five most common types of prayers and conversations with God in the Bible.
Praise: Talk to God about how great He is
This is appreciating the Lord for who He is. It is telling God how wonderful and amazing He is. “God, you are an awesome God and you do incredible things. I love You and You are worthy to be praised. You are the Beginning and End. You are my Creator who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever-present. Your mercy and goodness endures forever.” God’s Word tells us that God inhabits the praises of His people. (Psalm 7:17; 9:1; 18:3; 34:1; Ephesians 1:3; 1 Peter 4:16)
Thanksgiving: Talk to God about what you are grateful for
This is appreciating the Lord for what He has done. It is an attitude of gratitude. It is telling the Lord, “Thank You for guiding me through that situation. Thank you for giving me the strength to get through it. Thank you for my health, my home, my family, and my job. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for giving me a good church to be a part of. Thank You for using me in Your kingdom work.” God’s Word tells us “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18, NLT; see also Psalm 30:12; 92:1; Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 3:17)
Confession: Talk to God about your sin
This is confessing to God the sins you have done and asking Him to forgive you for them. God’s Word says, “If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9, NLT). Here is where we confess our greed, lust, pride, impatience, rudeness, and hatred. (Leviticus 5:5; Psalm 32:3, 5; 38:18; Romans 10:9)
Intercession: Talk to God about the needs of others
This is asking God to do something in the life of another. “God, give John insight and wisdom regarding that relationship. God, protect Bob on his journey. God, heal Suzy and use her to bring You glory. God, help Sally to love that person that’s been mean to her at work. God, give Gary patience while he waits on You to provide him a job.” God’s Word says, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them, intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them” (1 Timothy 2:1, NLT).
Petition: Talk to God about your needs
This is asking God to do something in your life. This deals with your needs and your concerns. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, in our lives beyond the concern of God. If God has numbered the hairs on your head, then He is concerned about every inch of your life. So go ahead and ask. “God, I need to grow in my love for my spouse. I need guidance regarding my finances. I have gotten myself in a mess and I need your help to get out. Heal me of this disease. Deliver me from this sin that I have entangled myself in. Give me boldness to tell others about You.” Whatever it is in your life, lay it before Him. (1 Timothy 2:1; Hebrews 5:7)
Some situations in life just call for a prayer of praise, “God you are wonderful.” Sometimes all we need to do is thank Him. Other times we may need to spend more time in intercession lifting up someone in prayer. Other times we need to focus on confessing our sins before Him and then there are those times you need to lay your personal needs at His feet. Ephesians 6:18 says, “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers” (NIV 84).