Often times we refer to the supreme being, creator of the world, in general terms such as God and Lord. Researching and praying the names of God will lead you into a greater understanding of who it is we worship and a deeper relationship with Him.
The names of God reveal His character and essence. So, what besides Lord and God should we call Him?
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What are the Names of God and Their Meaning?
There are over 100 names for God in the Old and New Testament. For the purpose of this article, we are going to focus on 10 Names of God from the Old Testament.
Of course, translation comes into play here. Some names are translations from Hebrew, some are “God” joined with a characteristic of Him, creating a more revealing, intimate name.
The most common names of God are:
- Yaweh (YHWH)
- Jehovah (English translation of YHWH)
There are variations of these names of God as well which describe a characteristic of Him.
- El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty)
- El Elyon (the Most High God)
- El Olam (the Everlasting God)
- Jehovah-Raah (the Lord my Shepherd)
- Jehovah-Rapha (the Lord that Heals)
- Jehovah-Jireh (the Lord will Provide)
Praying the Names of God
Let’s take a look at these names of God and a few scriptures they are found in. I encourage you to make this personal and apply it to your relationship with your creator. I also encourage you to pray the names of God during your prayer time, focusing on what they reveal about Him.
Looking for an intensive study on the Names of Jesus? Learn more!
Elohim means “the strong, creator God” and is used over 2,000 times in the Old Testament.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2)
Praying Elohim is recognizing that He is the supreme God, creator of the world.
Prayer: I humble myself before you Elohim, creator of the world. I recognize you as supreme ruler and God over all the earth. I am your creation, your handiwork, and clay in your hands. I exalt you for you are great.
YHWH is considered the holiest name of God and many Jews will not speak it for fear of violating it as described in Exodus 20:7.
You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
They use Ha-Shem (meaning “the name”) instead.
YHWH is the most used name for God in the Old Testament and appears 6,519 times. It is first seen in Genesis 2:4.
This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
Prayer: The heavens shake and the earth quakes in the presence of YHWH. Who am I that you are mindful of me? Who am I that the most holy of all welcomes me into His presence? I humble myself before you, and make my request known.
Jehovah means “Lord, the Existing One”. It also means “to become” or “to become known”. Our God continues to reveal Himself to us.
Jehovah came about by combining the consonant only name YHWH with the vowels of Adonai (Lord).
God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’
“This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation. (Exodus 3:15)
Praying the name of Jehovah brings to mind that God wants to be known by His children. He wishes to share Himself with us.
Prayer: Oh Jehovah, it is my longing to become closer to you, to understand who you are as my God and creator. As I seek you, you will answer. It is your desire that I draw nigh to you and as your creation shows, you long to be known of me. You wish to reveal yourself to those who seek you. I pray that you reveal your truths to me.
Adonai means “master over all” or “Lord”.
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. the Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2)
When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he exclaimed, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!” (Judges 6:22)
Prayer: Adonai, you are ruler over all of the earth and I wish for you to be ruler over my life.
El-Shaddai is probably one of the more well known names of God in the Christian world.
El-Shaddai means “God Almighty” or “the overpowerer” emphasizing God’s supreme power and might. It is first used in Genesis and found often throughout the book of Job.
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Genesis 17:1
Prayer: El-Shaddai, I know you are greater than any other god that I put up before you. Break down my idols, be the one and only in my life.
El Elyon (el-el-YONE)
El Elyone can be translated “the most exalted one”. It emphasises God’s strength, sovereignty, and supremacy.
They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer. (Psalm 78:35)
Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying,
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” (Genesis 14:18-20)
In a world full of false gods and religions, it is important to proclaim the one true God, the only one worthy of our praise and devotion. The one that is greater than all the others.
Prayer: El Elyon, I sing your praises for you are great. You only are worthy to be praised. By your strength, you destroy your enemies. Tear down the strongholds in my own life and deliver me from all that comes against me.
El Olam (el-o-LAWM)
Olam means “forever, eternity, everlasting” so El Olam means the “Eternal God”.
But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath. (Jeremiah 10:10)
It is comforting to know the eternal God, isn’t it? The one true God, unchanging, present, steadfast, and secure. He was in the beginning and He has been working in the lives of His children for thousands of years.
Prayer: El Olam, it is hard for my finite mind to understand what it means to be eternal. Even before you created the world, you were. I know that after all of the pain and suffering of this world passes away, you will still remain and your children will dwell with you for all eternity. Set my eyes on things eternal and remind me that sufferings of this current world are only temporary.
Jehovah-Raah (yeh-ho-VAW raw-AW)
Raah comes from ro-eh which means shepherd. Another word that comes from ro-eh is rea which means “friend” or “companion”. This indicates that God not only takes care of us as a shepherd cares for his sheep, but wants a deeper, more personal relationship with us.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. (Psalm 23:1)
David understood God in such an intimate way. Not only did he witness God’s power and strength, but he was familiar with a God who gently feeds and cares for each of his sheep. The same God that brought down the walls of Jericho feeds each little sparrow.
When praying Jehovah-Raah we can connect with God in a more personal way.
Prayer: Jehovah-Raah, you are God of the universe, creator of all, and yet you come to me in my time of need. You hear each prayer and wipe away every tear. Your heart is glad when I am rejoicing and your heart is heavy when I am weeping.
Jehovah-Rapha (yeh-ho-VAW raw-FAW)
Rapha means to “restore” or “heal” making Jehovah Rapha a “God that heals”.
But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the Lord, ‘because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.’ (Jeremiah 30:17)
Living in a sinful fallen world brings pain of all kinds. Our bodies are riddled with disease, our minds are a battlefield for doubts, fear, anxiety, and much more. Jehovah-Rapha alone can restore your physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
Prayer: Jehovah-Rapha, heal me! Heal my body, my mind, my heart, and my spirit like only you can.
Jehovah-Jireh (yeh-ho-VAW yi-REH)
Jehovah-Jireh is the name Abraham gave to Mount Moriah after God provided a ram to sacrifice in the place of Isaac.
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” (Genesis 22:13-14)
“Provide” in Hebrew also means “see to it”, “perceive”, and “experience”. This puts God in a personal light. Not only does He provide, but He experiences our wants. He is so close to us that He perceives what we need and supplies it.
Prayer: Jehovah-Jireh, provide a way through my troubled times. My physical and emotional needs are great, but I know that you provide for your children. I believe that you look into my heart and my future and you work all things for my good. When satan comes against me, provide an escape. When I am my own worst enemy, provide me courage.
Be sure to check out this Names of God Coloring Book to use during your prayer time! (Use code KINGDOM25 to save 25% off anything in the shop!)
Resources for Studying the Names of God
For further reading on the Names of God, be sure to check out
- The Best Names of God Bible Study Books
- The Names of God: 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups
- Lord, I Want to Know You: A Devotional Study on the Names of God
- The Names of Jesus Scripture Cards
How do you feel about praying the names of God? Which one resonates with you?