Editor's note:

This selective, topical index is designed to help readers get a picture of the with-God life presented in the Bible and the role of the Spiritual Disciplines in fostering that kind of life toward its fullness. The passages listed either contain a specific reference to a topic serving as a discipline (e.g., the word “meditation”) or are about that topic without using the specific term. Because this index is selective, it does not list every passage in the Bible on each topic, and the entries are restricted to the topic’s role as a Spiritual Discipline. Some of the entries are negative examples of the practice of a particular discipline.

The list of disciplines chosen for this index also does not include every practice or situation that could actually serve as a discipline in the process of spiritual formation. The disciplines under consideration here include celebration, chastity, confession, fasting, fellowship, guidance, meditation, prayer, sacrifice, secrecy, service, silence, simplicity/frugality, solitude, study, submission, and worship. Since the central focus of Christian spiritual formation is the with-God life, that topic begins the index. It is followed by sections containing scriptural references for the various disciplines, in alphabetical order. Those references for which there are spiritual formation exercises are designated by an asterisk.

No doubt some passages may have been omitted that might be very useful for understanding spiritual formation. What is given here is intended to provide only a substantial introduction to the presence and importance of Spiritual Disciplines in the Bible. For further study on disciplines and how they are to be practiced, please see Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, and Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines.

We are releasing this Bible in two editions—with and without the Deuterocanonial Books. (See the Foreword for a general statement.) In the Spiritual Disciplines Index, you will see some references to passages in the Deuterocanonial Books. These references will be in italics to differentiate their status from the New and the Old Testaments.

—Renovaré Team

Excerpt from Life with God Spiritual Formation Bible

PRAYER: Interactive conversation with God about what we and God are thinking and doing together. 

Gen 18:23-33 Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord.

*Gen 20:7 He will pray for you and you shall live.

Gen 25:21 Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his prayer.

Exod 33:18 Show me your glory, I pray.

*1 Sam 1:9-20 Hannah … was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly.

1 Sam 7:8 Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, and pray that he may save us.

*1 Sam 12:23 Ear be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; and I will instruct you in the good and the right way.

*1 Kings 8:28-53 Regard your servant’s prayer and his plea, O Lord my God, heeding the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you today.

1   Kings 9:3 I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you made before me.

2   Kings 6:17 Then Elisha prayed: “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” 

*2 Kings 19:15-19 And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord.

*1 Chron 17:16-27 Then King David went in and sat before the Lord.

*1 Chron 21:17 Let your hand, I pray, O Lord my God, be against me and against my father’s house; but do not let your people be plagued!

2 Chron 6:19 Regard your servant’s prayer and his plea, O Lord my God, heeding the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you.

2 Chron 7:14 If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven.

*2 Chron 30:18-19 Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “The good Lord pardon all.”

2 Chron 33:13 He prayed to him, and God received his entreaty, heard his plea, and restored him again to Jerusalem and to his kingdom.

Ezra 10:1 Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God.

*Neh 1:4-11 When I heard these words I sat down and wept, and mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

*Neh 2:4-5 So I prayed to the God of heaven.

Neh 4:9 So we prayed to our God, and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.

Neh 11:17 Mattaniah … who was the leader to begin the thanksgiving in prayer.

*Job 42:10 And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends.

Ps 17:1 Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry; give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit.

Ps 32:6 Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you.

Ps 39:12 Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry.

Ps 42:8 By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.

Ps 65:2 O you who answer prayer! To you all flesh shall come.

Ps 69:13 But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord.

Ps 72:15 May prayer be made for him continually, and blessings invoked for him all day long.

Ps 102:17 He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and will not despise their prayer.

Ps 109:4 In return for my love they accuse me, even while I make prayer for them.

*Ps 123:3 Have mercy upon us, O Lord.

*Ps 141:2 Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.

Ps 143:1 Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my supplications in your faithfulness; answer me in your righteousness.

Prov 15:29 The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

*Prov 28:9 When one will not listen to the law, even one’s prayers are an abomination.

*Isa 26:16 O Lord, in distress they sought you, they poured out a prayer when your chastening was on them.

*Isa 36:15 Do not let Hezekiah make you rely on the Lord by saying, The Lord will surely deliver us.

Isa 37:21-22 Because you have prayed to me … this is the word that the Lord has spoken.

*Isa 38:3-7 Remember now, O Lord, I implore you, how I have walked before you in faithfulness with a whole heart.

*Isa 56:7 My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.

*Jer 12:1 You will be in the right, O Lord, when I lay charges against you; but let me put my case to you.

*Jer 29:7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf.

*Jer 29:11-13 Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you.

*Lam 3:44 You have wrapped yourself with a cloud so that no prayer can pass through.

*Dan 6:10 Daniel… continued to … get down on his knees three times a day to pray to his God and praise him, just as he had done previously.

*Dan 9:3-21 I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession.

*Jon 2:1-9 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish.

*Jon 4:2-3 He prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country?”

*Add to Esther 14:1-3 She prayed to the Lord God of Israel, and said: “O my Lord, you only are our king; help me, who am alone and have no helper but you.”

1   Esd 8:91 Ezra was praying and making

his confession, weeping and lying on the ground before the temple.

2    Esd 7:110-12 So if now, when corruption

has increased and unrighteousness has multiplied, the righteous have prayed for the ungodly, why will it not be so then as well?

*2 Esd 9:43-45 Every hour and every day during those thirty years I prayed to the Most High, night and day.

*1 Macc 12:11 We therefore remember you constantly … in our prayers, as it is right and proper to remember brothers.

*2 Macc 1:2-6 May God do good to you.

*2 Macc 13:10-12 He ordered the people to call upon the Lord day and night.

*3 Macc 5:7-9 With tears and a voice hard to silence they all called upon the Almighty God and Ruler of all power.

* Wisd of Sol 7:7 Therefore I prayed, and understanding was given me. 

*Wisd of Sol 16:28 One must rise before the sun to give you thanks, and must pray to you at the dawning of the light.

*Sir7:10 Do not grow weary when you pray.

*Sir 21:5 The prayer of the poor goes from their lips to the ears of God, and his judgment comes speedily.

Sir 34:31 So if one fasts for his sins, and goes again and does the same things, who will listen to his prayer?

Sir 35:20-22 The one whose service is pleasing to the Lord will be accepted, and his prayer will reach to the clouds.

*Sir 38:9-14 My child, when you are ill, do not delay, but pray to the Lord, and he will heal you.

*Sir 39:5-6 He sets his heart to rise early to seek the Lord who made him, and to petition the Most High.

Sir 51:13 While I was still young, before I went on my travels, I sought wisdom openly in my prayer.

Bar 2:14 Hear, O Lord, our prayer and our supplication, and for your own sake deliver us.

Toh 3:1 Then with much grief and anguish of heart I wept, and with groaning began to pray.

*Tob 3:11-16 At that same time, with hands outstretched toward the window, she prayed.

*Tob 7:16 Take courage, my daughter; the Lord of heaven grant you joy in place of your sorrow.

Matt 5:44 Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Matt 6:5-9 Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray … so that they may be seen by others.

Matt 14:23 After he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray.

Matt 21:13 It is written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer”; but you are making it a den of robbers.

Matt 21:22 Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.

Matt 26:36-44 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray”

Mark 1:35 In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.

Mark 6:46 After saying farewell to them, he went up on the mountain to pray.

Mark 9:29 This kind can come out only through prayer.

Mark 11:17 Is it not written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations”? But you have made it a den of robbers.

Mark 11:24 Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Mark 11:25 Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.

Mark 14:32-39 They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”

Luke 2:37 She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day.

Luke 3:21 When Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened.

Luke 5:16 He would withdraw to deserted places and pray.

Luke 6:12 Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God.

*Luke 6:28 Bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.

Luke 9:28-29 Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. 

Luke 11:1 He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”

Luke 11:2-13 When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name.”

Luke 18:1-8 Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.

Luke 18:10-14 Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

*Luke 22:32 I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail.

Luke 22:40-46 In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.

*John 11:41-42 And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me.”

Acts 1:14 All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer.

Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Acts 6:4 We, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.

Acts 6:6 They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

Acts 8:15 The two went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.

Acts 9:11 Get up and go … look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying.

*Acts 10:2 He was a devout man who feared God with all his household; he gave alms generously to the people and prayed constantly to God.

Acts 10:4 Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.

Acts 11:5 I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision.

Acts 12:5 While Peter was kept in prison, the church prayed fervently to God for him.

Acts 13:3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

Acts 14:23 With prayer and fasting they entrusted them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe.

Acts 16:13 There was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there.

Acts 16:25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God.

Acts 22:17 While I was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance.

*Acts 28:8 Paul visited him and cured him by praying and putting his hands on him.

*Rom 8:26 We do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.

Rom 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.

*1 Cor 1:4 I give thanks to my God always for you.

*1 Cor 7:5 Do not deprive one another except perhaps by agreement for a set time, to devote yourselves to prayer.

1   Cor 14:13-15 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret.

2   Cor 1:11 Many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

*Eph 1:16 I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.

*Eph 6:18 Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication.

Phil 1:3-4 I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you.

Phil 4:6 In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Col 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving.

*Col 4:12 He is always wrestling in his prayers on your behalf, so that you may stand mature and fully assured in everything that God wills.

1 Thess 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

1 Tim 2:8 I desire, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument.

1 Tim 4:5 It is sanctified by God’s word and by prayer.

1 Tim 5:5 The real widow, left alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day.

Heb 5:7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears.

James 5:13-16 Are any among you suffering? They should pray.

James 5:17-18 Elijah … prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.

*1 Pet 3:7 Husbands, in the same way, show consideration for your wives … so that nothing may hinder your prayers.

1 Pet 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.

1 Pet 4:7 Be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers.

Jude 20 But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit.

Rev 5:8 Each [held] a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

Rev 8:3-4 He was given a great quantity of incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar that is before the throne. 

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Excerpted from the Life with God Bible (New Revised Standard Version), with special thanks to HarperOne and to the late Dallas Willard who compiled the Index.