How Can We Learn from the First Prayer in the Bible?

by Ron Hughes


If you accept the idea that prayer is a conversation with God, the first prayer recorded in the Bible is found in Genesis. The context suggests that human/divine interaction “in the cool of the day” was a regular feature of life in Eden.

However, this conversation was different. It was the first one to take place after Adam and Eve’s disobedience. If you’re unfamiliar with it, take a moment to read it. Genesis 3:8-13.

What strikes me here is that God was the initiator of the exchange. And I suspect that God is the one who prompts prayer in our lives, too. We may think it is our love for Him, our concerns for people and situations, our fears, our pain, our hopes, our desires, or some other personal motivation that drives us to open the conversation. However,

it is the Holy Spirit who moves us to cry out
“Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6)
. (Tweet this.)

Whether we are experiencing feelings of joy or distress, it is the Spirit within us who initiates our prayer—in a sense with the same words of Genesis 3:9 “Where are you?” Hiding in fear? We need to talk. Struggling with a relationship? Tell me about it. Flying high? I’m here. Concerned about a friend or a situation? Me, too.

In Adam’s response (the first recorded words of a human directed to God) we find the recognition of God’s presence, a confession of fear, a statement about his condition and his personal response to the situation.

Adam had things figured out. His initial response to the situation was fear. I think he really expected God to take him out on the spot. When that didn’t happen, he tried to shift the blame, first to Eve, then to God.

God let both Adam and Eve have their say, then, unperturbed, He set in motion the whole plan of redemption, something that Adam and Eve couldn’t possibly have conceived of. I can’t help but think they were left shaking their heads and asking each other: “What just happened?”

We are surrounded by a humanistic world-view that makes each of us responsible—responsible for everything from the condition of the planet to getting positive outcomes in our personal lives. These days it’s easy to get the idea that the Christian’s job is to engage in “prevailing prayer” with God to get things done.

Perhaps we take too much on ourselves. Maybe we try to hard.

Possibly we get in the way with our insistence
on getting our will done. 
(Tweet this.)

God’s Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. He is the One who helps us in our weaknesses and takes over when words fail us. (Romans 8:26)

How much credit do we give God for what we sense
as the desire for prayer in our lives? (Tweet this.)

Today, when you respond to the urge to cry out to God, rest in the conviction that He is the One who started the conversation. He is the One with the plan. He is the One with the power to make things right.

Ron Hughes

Ron is president of FBH International , a multi-language media ministry and maintains an active itinerant speaking ministry in churches and conferences.  Ron is a professional member of The Word Guild and has one published book, “Refresh: 19 ways to boost your spiritual life”, and is working on several other writing projects. Much of his writing is published on the ministry website and has been used in radio broadcasts.

Ron has been married to Debbie since 1976.  They have four children, one of whom is married.  They live on a 100 acre farm in the Niagara region which they share with a few horses, chickens, cats and a dog.



  1. Thanks Ron for sharing your inspiring and insightful thoughts.
    Yes, I’m sure we often fail to realise that our Heavenly Father initiates the prayerful urge within us . . . It’s of grace, as is all the good He accomplishes in and through us. ~~+~~

    1. I’ve been walking with Jesus for more than 50 years now and know others who have been doing so much longer… and we’re all still learning that He is the great initiator, the Father of lights who never changes and gives all good gifts.

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