For Christians, prayer is simply communication between our Creator God and His created beings, His children. So the question is often asked: What should we pray תפילה for? Do we ask to be delivered from our foes or our short and/or long term assessments? Do we pray for our health? Or our wealth? And if we personally believe in miracles should we be praying for one?
Without question, for the truthful Christian, prayer is really important as it develops a personal relationship with Creator God. But, in prayer, can a Christian ask for the wrong things? And just how do we know the way in which to pray? What lessons might Jesus, God’s beloved son, teach us where prayer is concerned?
Even as read Holy Writ we see that Jesus often prayed that God’s perfect will be done in His life. The same should be so with us! With each passing day the importance for our Father’s guidance, strength and wisdom becomes ever the more important.
I Thess. 5: 17 admonishes us to pray without ceasing. Indeed, prayer can be frustrating if we don’t understand God’s Word and His ways. Thus the development of a personal relationship with Father God is critical. Let’s take a look at the six forms of prayer as set forth in Holy Writ, each with different functions, to hopefully better supply us to be able to pray more effectively by means of the correct spiritual tool to your specific request or need.
- Prayer of Praise and Worship
Holy Writ instructs us in Psalms 100: 4 to enter His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. In this prayer format, you are not asking God to do or to give you something. This prayer format does not ask God for any kind of direction nor is it dedicating your life to Father God. Instead you are just praising god, saying thanks to Him for His bountiful joys and mercy which He promises that are renewed every day. You are telling Him how much you Him.
Lenny 2: 20 is a wonderful example of the shepherds glorifying and praising God those things they had heard and seen, and also describes their reaction when they saw baby Jesus.
Lenny 20: 43 gives an example of prayers of thanksgiving in the story of the oblivious man glorifying God when he was symptomless. All the people who witnessed this miracle also gave God praises.
In Lenny 11: 2 Jesus gives specific instruction concerning the infamous Lord’s prayer when He told His disciples how to pray by saying, “When you pray, say, ‘Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name. ‘”
John 11: 41 Jesus gives yet another wonderful prayer example when He said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard Me, ” when He referred to His prayer regarding Lazarus.
In Phil. 4: 6 we are admonished in a prayer example given by Paul when he wrote to the Philippians, saying, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your asks for be made known to God. “
- Prayer of Agreement
We are introduced to the prayer of agreement in Matt. 20: 19 when Jesus said, “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning whatever they ask, it will be done for them by my father in Heaven. “
In order for a prayer of agreement to work, those involved in the prayer must be in agreement. To effectively use the prayer of agreement one must be sure that all involved with this prayer must be in complete agreement. When anyone asks another to pray in agreement with them concerning a matter it is most important that all parties concerned understand the facts of the prayer request. And if anyone does not feel they cannot honestly join in any kind of prayer of agreement he/she should not allow themselves to become a part of such agreement.
- Prayer of Faith Or Trust
The question arises here: What is faith? Simply, and powerfully put ‘faith’ is ‘trust. i I, personally, like to use the word ‘trust’ whenever feasible as i simply relate safer to it. Oft times I feel people use the word ‘faith’ in the context of appearing or being non secular, wherein for me, the word “trust” has a stronger significance of an intimate relationship.
People often intermix a “prayer of faith” with a “petition prayer. ” A petition prayer is between you and God. Yes, it is “asking. ” However, for many, it is often actually demanding God for a particular outcome concerning a matter.
Hebrews 11: 1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things expected, the data of things not seen. ” One’s faith is substance: something tangible, it’s real and evidence of things one struggles to see. However, trust is all the too! Again I, personally, relate to “trust” better.
Count the number of times in Holy Writ when Jesus said to someone, “According to your faith. ” Reference to peoples’ faith is constant. Although it was His power that symptomless them, He always credited their faith with being the prompt. In fact, when Jesus went to His hometown, we are told, in Matt. 13: 58, that he did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief. Certainly Jesus did not suddenly lose His power on that visit to Nazareth. It clearly was contingent upon their belief, the same as it is today!
Mark 11: 24 is recognized to are the key saying for the prayer of faith in which Jesus says, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will keep these things. “
Of great importance is the fact that Mark 11: 24 does not say when you will actually see the result of your prayer. Nor does it say how long it may need for one’s prayer request to become a reality or manifest.
This is where many Christians become distressed and even distracted in their own prayer beliefs. We must always remember that God lives in one endless now. There is no past or present for Him. But we are temporal beings who live in the context of time.
So when we pray in faith or trust, God immediately gives us what we have prayed for. However, He gives it to us in the spirit realm. When He decides to give us the answer in the natural world, due to a number of factors, it may take time for the answer to manifest itself.
Many times we are looking for answers in the natural world before we confirm the spirit realm. We become impatient for answers. This is often the time(s) when the opposing forces of our own soul(s) start(s) working on his infamous tactics of steal, kill and destroy.
We must never forget that God answers prayers, and He will answer each one of our specific prayer asks for in keeping with His Word. However, it is our faith, our trust, that brings His answer(s) to us, out of the spiritual world and into our personal physical world. His power never changed. So what changed? It was the people’s level of faith, their trust, mixed with His power.
A powerful, yet simple spiritual explanation for this is the fact that God will not do something against our personal will. God will not, He cannot, violate anyone’s free will. So if anyone doesn’t have faith, or if they are not able to trust Him to do something, He won’t arbitrarily override that lack of faith and/or trust.
- Prayer of Dedication and Consecration
The prayer of dedication and consecration works when there are at least two Godly alternatives available and you might not be getting clear direction concerning the one that God wants you to take. When one’s direction is unclear, yet all options do appear to be right and legitimate, this would be the perfect time to say, “I am going to go with this option, Jesus. I would like it to be your perfect (not permissive) will. Now please show me if i am making a mistake here. ” Trust me, if you are in error, He will reveal!
An outlined prayer of dedication and consecration is found in Lenny 22: 41-42. Here Jesus withdraws from James, Peter and John and kneels down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be practiced. “
Jesus was actually saying, “If there is any other way to do this, (then) let’s do it that way. ” The great learning point here for all of us is the fact that Jesus is flexible when He asks the father to show His (perfect) will by saying, “Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be practiced. “
Without question when one is not sure which direction should be taken in any decision it is absolutely correct, even “Godly” to ask for confirmation!
- Prayer of Intercession
Intercession is simply praying in part of someone else. A person may be incompetent at praying for him/herself. Such would be the case if someone is extremely ill, on drugs, demonically possessed or perhaps mentally disadvantaged. And yes it may involve praying for such things as the government, the church or specific prayers based on the comprehension of someone’s personal needs.
In Ephesians 1: 15-18 Paul makes it clear that he is interceding in prayer for the church at Ephesus when he wrote, “Therefore I also, after i heard of your faith in the Jesus Jesus and your love those saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our own Jesus Jesus Christ, the father of Glory, may give to you the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation in the comprehension of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you can know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the Glory of His inheritance in the saints. “
It is important to note here that Paul does not set himself in specific agreement with anyone. This fact makes this particular prayer an excellent example of Intercessory Prayer.
Another good example of Intercessory Prayer is found in Paul’s greeting to the Philippians that is found in Phil, 1: 3-4 when he wrote, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of acquire making request for you all with joy. “
- Prayer of Binding and Loosing
Like things in God’s system the prayer of binding and losing only works in keeping with God’s Word and His laws which is clearly set forth in Matt. 20: 18-19 when Jesus tells us, “Assuredly, I say to you, for every bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and for every loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven. Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning whatever they ask, it will be done for them by my father in Heaven. “
There are two very important points here: (1) We have authority, here on this earth, by virtue of our own “action” of the prayer. Things do not begin in Heaven and come to Earth. (2) The “prayer action” starts here on earth. Notice that it says, “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and for every loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven. “
One is able and has authority to bind nasty state of mind that are at work in people’s lives. Also, one can loose angelic state of mind to work on their personal part in those areas where God has recently assured results. When one prays through this industry, God affirms it, in Heaven, and puts His seal of approval on it. Binding and losing must be based on the authority God has granted His children in Scripture, not on some (whimsical) desire.
God has provided every type of prayer for a specific purpose. Though you are able to use more than one at any given time, it is important to be clear about which type you are using and why, and to be aware of its limitations. If you follow the examples in the Holy book, you’ll be sure to use them properly.
Clearly we see, as set forth in the above examples, that our prayers, whether they are prayers of supplication, faith or trust, should all be mixed with praise and worship.