15 worship songs about prayer (hymns and contemporary)
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Prayer is an important Christian discipline, and every worship leader needs a good repertoire of worship songs about prayer in their back pocket when the situation calls for it.

We’ve compiled 15 old and new worship songs about prayer and included suitable Scripture to use as devotions, readings, or introductions.

Hymns about prayer

Don’t write off these classic songs from church history. Many of them communicate truth in thoughtful ways that are missing in some modern worship.

You can find all of these hymns about prayer in MediaShout’s lyric library, so pulling them into your next MediaShout presentation is a cinch. (If you’re not using MediaShout yet, consider trying it out for free.)

1. Beautiful Garden of Prayer

The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer.—Psalm 6:9

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.—1 Peter 5:6–7

If the sermon is about the importance of creating a disciplined prayer life, this hymn is a great place to start. The music was written by James Henry Fillmore and the Eleanor Allen Schroll. It was originally copyrighted and first published in 1920.

Lyrically, “Beautiful Garden of Prayer” paints a picture of prayerful intimacy,

There’s a garden where Jesus is waiting,
There’s a place that is wondrously fair.
For it glows with the light of His presence,
‘Tis the beautiful garden of prayer.

O the beautiful garden, the garden of prayer,
O the beautiful garden of prayer.
There my Savior awaits, and He opens the gates
To the beautiful garden of prayer.

There’s a garden where Jesus is waiting,
And I go with my burden and care.
Just to learn from His lips, words of comfort,
In the beautiful garden of prayer.

There’s a garden where Jesus is waiting,
And He bids you to come meet Him there,
Just to bow and receive a new blessing,
In the beautiful garden of prayer.

The encouragement to cast burdens on Christ and receive his comfort makes this a very appropriate hymn to use as a transition to congregational prayer times for various concerns.

2. In the Garden

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.—1 John 1:7

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.—Hebrews 1:1–2

Using extremely figurative language, “In the Garden” describes the relationship that comes out of a regular prayerful relationship with the Lord. For such a popular hymn, it’s fairly polarizing. Many critics point to its “sappy” nature and criticize it for its hyper sentimentality.

The reason it is still so popular over 100 years after its first publication is that many can identify with the picture that writer C. Austin Miles paints of the intimacy available to believers, but only if they’re willing to “come to the garden alone.”

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me,
And He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of
His voice is so sweet,
The birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me,
Within my heart is ringing.

I’d stay in the garden with Him,
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go;
Through the voice of woe,
His voice to me is calling.

3. Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.—Psalm 46:1–3

The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
the righteous man runs into it and is safe.—Proverbs 18:10

While “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” never directly mentions prayer, it speaks of a confidence and trust in God’s providence that speaks to a faith that is born from out of a prayerful relationship. This works well as a worship song about prayer in a way that isn’t too obvious and cheesy.

In 1887, Anthony J. Showalter corresponded with two different friends who had lost their spouses. In an effort to provide some solace, Showalter referenced Deuteronomy 33:27—”The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”

In meditating on that passage, Showalter sat down at his piano and wrote the chorus for the hymn.

Leaning, leaning,
Safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

He then called on his friend and hymn writer, Elisha Albright Hoffman, to help him write the lyrics for the verses.

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms!
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms!

Oh how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms!
Oh how bright the path
Grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

4. My Faith Looks Up to Thee

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.—Philippians 1:6

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith—Hebrews 12:1–2

Ray Parker, a recent Yale graduate, penned the words to this hymn in a personal notebook that he used for poetry, prayers, and prose. He wrote it in response to a difficult year and never intended for anyone to ever see it. Years later, he ran into his friend, composer Lowell Mason who had been working on a book of hymns and wanted to know if Palmer had anything to contribute, and Palmer showed him these words. Mason loved them and immediately went to work putting them to music.

My faith looks up to Thee,
Thou Lamb of Calvary,
Savior divine!
Now hear me while I pray;
Take all my guilt away.
Oh let me from this day
Be wholly Thine!

May Thy rich grace impart
Strength to my fainting heart,
My zeal inspire.
As Thou hast died for me,
Oh may my love to Thee
Pure, warm and changeless be,
A living fire.

While life’s dark maze I tread,
And griefs around me spread
Be Thou my Guide.
Bid darkness turn to day;
Wipe sorrow’s tears away;
Nor let me ever stray
From Thee aside!

When ends life’s transient dream,
When death’s cold sullen stream
Shall o’er me roll,
Blest Saviour, then in love,
Fear and distrust remove.
Oh bear me safe above,
A ransomed soul.

Inspiring holy confidence, “My Faith Looks Up to Thee” is a song of depth and power. It’s perfect to use when the focus of a service is on prayerful confession.

5. Pass Me Not

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.—1 Timothy 2:5

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.—Hebrews 4:16

This is one of the first hymns published by famous hymn writer Fanny Crosby, writer of hymns like:

  • All the Way My Savior Leads Me
  • Blessed Assurance
  • Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus Our Precious Redeemer!
  • Take the World, But Give Me Jesus

The strength of this song lies in its desperation. It’s so similar to the boldness shown by many of the sick who cried out for Christ’s attention and healing. If you’re looking for a song that really communicates the reckless and courageous prayers that God desires from his people, this is it.

Pass me not, O gentle Savior;
Hear my humble cry.
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.

Savior, Savior, hear my humble cry.
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.

Let me at Thy throne of mercy
Find a sweet relief;
Kneeling there in deep contrition,
Help my unbelief.

Trusting only in Thy merit,
Would I seek Thy face.
Heal my wounded, broken spirit.
Save me by Thy grace.

Thou, the Spring of all my comfort,
More than life to me,
Whom have I on earth beside Thee?
Whom in heaven but Thee?

6. Sweet Hour of Prayer

Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!—1 Chronicles 16:11

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.—James 5:13

While there is still some question about who wrote “Sweet Hour of Prayer” and how it was written, there’s no denying that it is a well-loved hymn. The lyrics are a valuable resource for identifying and expressing many of prayer’s blessings.

Sweet hour of prayer,
Sweet hour of prayer.
The joys I feel, the bliss I share.
Of those whose anxious spirits burn
With strong desires for Thy return.
With such I hasten to the place
Where God, my Savior, shows His face.
And gladly take my station there,
And wait for Thee, sweet hour of prayer.

Sweet hour of prayer,
Sweet hour of prayer,
Thy wings shall my petition bear
To Him whose truth and faithfulness
Engage the waiting soul to bless;
And since He bids me seek His face,
Believe His word, and trust His grace,
I’ll cast on Him my ev’ry care.
And wait for Thee, sweet hour of prayer.

Sweet hour of prayer,
Sweet hour of prayer,
May I Thy consolation share,
‘Til from Mount Pisgah’s lofty height,
I view my home and take my flight.
This robe of flesh I’ll drop and rise
To seize the everlasting prize,
And shout while passing through the air,
Farewell, farewell sweet hour of prayer.

7. Tell It to Jesus

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”—Matthew 11:28–30

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.—2 Corinthians 1:3–5

Turning your sorrows, doubts, and fears into prayers doesn’t come naturally. It’s a discipline. Originally published in a 1876 German hymnal, “Tell It to Jesus” reminds and encourages Christians to share their heavy hearts in prayer with God.

Do the tears flow down
Your cheeks unbidden?
Tell it to Jesus,
Tell it to Jesus.
Have you sins that
To men’s eyes are hidden?
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Do you fear the
Gathering clouds of sorrow?
Tell it to Jesus,
Tell it to Jesus.
Are you anxious
What shall be tomorrow?
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Are you troubled
At the thought of dying?
Tell it to Jesus,
Tell it to Jesus.
For Christ’s coming kingdom
Are you sighing?
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Tell it to Jesus,
Tell it to Jesus.
He is a Friend that’s well known.
You have no other
Such a friend or brother.
Tell it to Jesus alone.

8. What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.—John 15:13–15

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.—Philippians 4:6

The words to this beloved classic were written by Joseph Medlicott Scriven. Growing up in Ireland, Scriven hoped to follow in the footsteps of his father’s prestigious military career, but his poor health prevented it.

After graduating from Trinity college in 1842, Scriven fell in love and prepared to get married. The night before his wedding, his wife-to-be accidentally drowned. As if that’s not heartbreaking enough, years later he was engaged to another woman who contracted pneumonia and died.

In light of these experiences, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” becomes even more poignant. When someone with Scrivener’s experiences tells you that our peace is forfeited when we neglect to carry our burdens to God in prayer, we should listen.

What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry,
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear.
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge!
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do Thy friends despise forsake Thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
In His arms He’ll take and shield Thee;
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Modern worship songs about prayer

Here is a selection of more current worship songs about prayer. Due to their copyright status, we won’t be able to reprint all of the lyrics—but you can find them elsewhere online without much hassle.

9. Hear Our Prayer

Writer: Tanya Riches

Restore us, O God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved!—Psalm 80:7

Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate.—Daniel 9:17

Direct and simple, “Hear Our Prayer” is a passionate cry for a touch from God. It’s an ideal opening to lead a congregation into a prayerful worship time, or a great song of response for a service centered around bold prayer.

10. Give Us Clean Hands

Writer: Charlie Hall

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart . . .—Psalm 24:3–4

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or dissension.—1 Timothy 2:8

This is another prayer of empowering confession. Taking a teaching about prayer and turning it into an opportunity for a congregation to immediately put it into practice is a wonderful benefit of leading others in worship.

“Give Us Clean Hands” has a definite stand-in-the-gap (Ez. 22:30) element to it, and makes a forceful song for praying for your country or generation.

11. Lord, I Need You

Writers: Daniel Carson, Christy Nockels, Matt Maher, Jesse Reeves, Kristian Stanfill

This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.—Ephesians 3:11–12

So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”—Hebrews 13:6

This moving song is built around the chorus of “I Need Thee Every Hour” by Annie Sherwood Hawks and Robert Lowery:

I need thee oh I need thee
Every hour I need thee
Oh bless me now my savior
I come to thee

Around that classic chorus, “Lord, I Need You” weaves a prayer of desperation and longing. It’s part confession, part urgent appeal, and all prayer. If you’re not familiar with this one, it’s a powerful prayer for commitment and dedication that’s sure to get everyone singing.

12. The Lord’s Prayer

Writers: Shane Barnard

Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.—Matthew 6:9–13

If the church wants to take prayer seriously, it should start with the Lord’s Prayer. After all, it is the instruction Jesus himself gave us about prayer. While there are many versions and recordings of the Lord’s Prayer, Shane & Shane’s version is a great modern take.

13. Make My Life a Prayer to You

Writer: Melody Green

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.—1 Corinthians 10:31

We love because he first loved us.—1 John 4:19

I know that this is listed under “modern worship songs about prayer,” but considering the fact the the church is over 2,000 years old, I think it’s OK to include a song from 1978.

Keith Green wrote most of the songs he performed, popular songs like: “Oh Lord, You’re Beautiful,” “There Is a Redeemer,” “Your Love Broke Through.” But “Make My Life a Prayer to You” was written by his wife Melody.

Much like “Take My Life, and Let It Be,” this is a song about consecration and commitment. It’s a prayer turning one’s life over to be a used by the Lord. It profoundly eschews religious language and baggage to embrace a very simple message.

Make my life a prayer to you
I wanna do what you want me to
No empty words, and no white lies
No token prayers, no compromise

14. Take My Life

Writers: Frances Ridley Havergal, Chris Tomlin

So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.—Psalm 90:12

I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.—Romans 12:1

While “Take My Life” isn’t really a worship song about prayer, it is an actual prayer. The majority of it comes from Havergal’s hymn from 1874. This powerful invocation represents her heart’s cry for all of her talents, resources, and abilities to be put used for God’s purpose and glory.

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.

Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.

To these verses, Chris Tomlin changes the melody a bit and adds a catchy refrain that kind of brings it all together.

15. Thank You Lord

Writers: Paul Baloche, Don Moen

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!—1 Chronicles 16:8

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.—1 Thessalonians 5:18

It seems only appropriate to end this list with a prayer of thanksgiving. Thank You Lord was written by by two guys responsible for well-known worship songs like:

  • Open the Eyes of My Heart
  • Our God Saves
  • Above All
  • God Will Make a Way
  • Blessed Be the Name of the Lord
  • And too many more to count

“Thank You Lord” expresses thankfulness in a graceful, reflective manner. It’s a worship song about prayer that seems tailor made for so many situations. You can definitely use it during a sermon series on prayer, but it can also be used for special services like baptisms, Christmas, and Easter. Not only that, but it perfectly accents weddings, baby dedications, and even funerals. When you get down to it, there is no inappropriate time to express thankfulness.

I come before You today, and there’s just one thing that I want to say
Thank You, Lord, thank You, Lord
For all You’ve given to me, for all the blessings that I cannot see

What are your favorite worship songs about prayer?

We’d love to hear from you! Leave us a comment and tell us what your go-to songs on prayer are!

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