Prayer: Types

Prayer: Types (9) Praise

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Praise (singing, giving glory to God)

Prayers that give God praise are like incense rising up to God. God is the only one to whom we should give praise. Little that man does is worthy of any lasting praise. Much of it is because of what “Man” thinks he has accomplished, but in reality, God has probably had much influence in anything good that humans can do. Nothing that man does is eternal, but all that God does has eternal and lasting significance. This is the reason why HE deserves praise.

King David understood this. That is why he wrote many psalms of praise. He also wrote psalms that were prayers. (Read Psalm 5:3, 54:2, 69:13) King David also knew that God was deserving of singing songs of thankfulness and psalms that gave glory to God. We should also sing songs of thankfulness, praise, and give God glory for what he has done for us.

In many stories of the O.T., we see how the Israelites gave praise to God. Of special import is the dedication of Solomon’s Temple when the people visible say the hand of God accepting what the people had done: ”And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endures forever.” (2 Chronicles 7:3)

Peter, in the N.T., also reminds us that we need to praise God. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;” (1 Peter 2:9) John in Revelation also gives us this thought: “And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.” (Revelation 19:5) Prayers of praise are always good!

Prayer: Types – Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving  (Col 4:2; 1 Tim 4:4)

We all know from U.S. history that the original colonies had hard times when they were first started. Many colonists died of starvation, disease, and malnutrition. Those that weathered the first years gave thanks to God for their first harvest. When we pray and God provides for our needs, we should and need to give him thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is an expression of gratitude for what God provides to us.

Perhaps one of the best expressions of thankfulness to God is found in Psalm 69:30 “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.” We are told again and again in scripture to give thanks to God. (See Psalm 116:17)

Paul in his epistle to the Colossians told them to “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;” (Colossians 4:2) To his friend Timothy, he also gave him this advice “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:” (1 Timothy 4:4) Whatever bounty that we have it should cause us to give thanksgiving to God. (2 Corinthians 9:11) Since HE is our creator and sustainer, we should reflect back to Him our praise and thanksgiving.

Prayer: Type – Intercession

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Intercession (or Supplication)

Prayers of intercession or supplication are very important. You are going before God and entreating him to give favor or leniency for another person. As believers, we are given access in Jesus name to come before the all powerful God of the universe. Intercession is petitioning God on behalf of another.

Webster’s dictionary gives us the following definitions for intercession: “prayer, petition, or entreaty in favor of another” and supplication: “to make a humble entreaty.” An intercessor is a go between for a sinner and God, the I AM. He “the I AM” is perfect and holy and the judge of all humanity. Jesus blood covers us as believers and therefore we can stand before God and intercede or entreat for others.

The Apostle Paul understood this and advised Timothy and the church at Ephesus to intercede and make supplications before God. To Timothy he said:  “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;” (1 Tim 2:1) Paul is telling Timothy that this is part of his job as an elder of the church.  Likewise, to the church at Ephesus he gave this advice “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” (Eph 6: 18) This is what we as believers are supposed to do as servants of Jesus Christ. It is part of the gospel work.

Prayer: Type- Prevailing

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As with intercessory prayer, prevailing prayer is also another part of the gospel work that we do as believers. What then, one may ask, is prevailing prayer? Prevailing prayer might be defined as one’s continual uplifting of a specific burden to God to move in or act upon. Prevailing prayer is also called definite and determined prayer. As believers, we should all have a burden or burdens for specific things. These might be for revival or salvation for an unbeliever. It might also be for a missionary on a foreign field that is fraught with danger. Prevailing prayer is a heartfelt prayer burden that needs God’s attention.

These words of advice about James 5:16 from evangelist R.A. Torrey are very impactful: “These words of God set forth prayer as a working force, as a force that brings things to pass that would not come to pass if it were not for prayer.”  (Page 177, R.A. Torrey, Prayer and Faith) Prayer is far more than just giving God our personal wish list. Effective prayer should always be about the needs of others and less about what we want.

Minister of prayer, Andrew Murray, had these words to say about persevering in prayer  “…persevering prayer is necessary to acquire a desired blessing. Every single believing prayer has its influence.“ (Page 385, Andrew Murray on Prayer.) When we prevail in prayer, we are blessed. Webster’s defines prevail as “to gain ascendancy through strength or superiority : to triumph.” We are God’s workmen. It is our job to prevail. Be determined to prevail.

Prayer: Type – Deliverance

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Deliverance (rescue, relief, liberation)

There will come times when we as believers will be asked to pray for someone who needs to be delivered from some form of enslavement. A drug addict, or an alcoholic are two such types of enslavement from which a person needs to be delivered. Jesus, in his earthly ministry was asked to free someone from such a condition. This kind of prayer is not to be taken lightly.

In Mark’s gospel, we see such a need.  A father asked Jesus to heal his son who was possessed by a dumb spirit. (Mark 9:22) His disciples had not been successful in ridding the boy of the demon and they asked Jesus why. (Mark 9:28)  His response was “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:29) Prayers of deliverance require mature faith.

Deliverance can also mean giving relief of some kind. In the N.T. we see two examples of this: “Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:” (Acts 11:29) This example shows giving financial support to those in dire straits.

We also see an example of deliverance in the form of rescue “This man was taken of the Jews, and should have been killed of them: then came I with an army, and rescued him, having understood that he was a Roman.” (Acts 23:27) Here we see the Roman Centurion explaining his reason for rescuing Paul from a mob. Use care when praying for deliverance because you may be battling with strong evil forces. In praying for deliverance, prayer and fasting are much need conditions.

Prayer: Type – Guidance

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A prayer of guidance is to truly be seeking God’s wisdom in making decisions. To make decisions without getting the input of God’s Word or the Holy Spirit is to invite mistakes and/or defeat. Peter speaks directly to this as he tells us “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:” (1 Peter 5:8) Don’t give the evil one an opportunity to chew on you. Get God’s Holy Spirit involved for your protection.

Evangelist Torrey reinforces this as he tells us  “A life governed by a multitude of rules is a life of bondage and anxiety. A life surrendered to the control of the Holy Spirit is a life of joy, peace, and freedom.” (Page 82, R.A. Torrey, Prayer and Faith) We live in a sin stained world with many temptations and attractions that can derail our good intentions.

The apostle Peter also had this to say as advice “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.” (2 Peter 2:20) If you want to stay out of trouble take Peter’s advice. Seek God’s guiding hand before you begin your work or witness. Good advice can keep you out of trouble.

Prayer: Type – Revival

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Revival or regeneration

Over the past centuries revivals have started with prayer. It can start with a few or a group. But no revival has started without dead earnest knee bending prayer. God does not start a revival on a whim. He starts one when a few dedicated souls spend time and energy in God’s word and in prayer. A revival starts with a devoted few who hunger for seeing souls saved.

Revival prayer is a special and specific type of prevailing prayer. It is not child’s play. It is not to be taken lightly. It is to be done with sincerity and dedication of heart. It will take time. When God sees earnest hunger of a few believers who dedicate themselves and the time to pray for revival, it will stir the heart of God and He will send revival.

The psalmist wrote these words “Wilt thou not revive us again; that thy people may rejoice in thee?” In this modern era, we live in a time of apostasy. Few believers have a real heart and desire to see the unsaved come to Christ. Few churches preach or teach what soul-winning or revival really means. The world around us has a growing hatred of anything that the Bible teaches about sin and immorality. If ever there was a time for revival, it is now. Paul said it best “for this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord of both the dead and living.” (Ro 14:9) Revival prayer is the antidote for today’s chaotic world.

Prayer: Type – For Ministry Partners

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Ministry Partners (Paul) Phil 1:3-11

We are to pray for ministry partners whether missionaries, evangelists, or our church pastor. In this prayer, Paul set the example as he prayed for the church at Philadelphia. In his prayer, he prayed for their fellowship, how they defended and confirmed the gospel. He prayed that they might continue in the fruits of righteousness and to the glory and praise of God and Jesus Christ.

As we partner with missionaries on foreign soil, they need our prayers to have protection and power to overcome the forces of evil that will confront them. Whenever we can, we need to encourage them in their mission to take the gospel to the lost. Also, we need to do the same for those who are evangelists because they are constantly traveling, preaching, and witnessing to lost people. The forces of evil are constantly waging war on those who are preaching the gospel. They need a lot of prayer and encouragement to do their work.

The pastor and deacons of your church need to be constantly lifted up in prayer for the challenges they meet daily. Teachers and outreach leaders also need to be bathed in prayer as they perform their responsibilities. Every church has the challenge of meeting the daily and monthly expenses of running the church. All of these things need to be covered in prayer. A church that is weak in prayer will be under constant attack by the forces of evil. Stand by your ministry partners and lift them up constantly in prayer.

Prayer: Type – Jesus

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High Priestly Prayer – Jesus (John 17:1-26)

This prayer by Jesus is Powerful. He is our high priest. He obeyed His Father and accomplished all that he was given to do. It is impossible for any human being to fully understand all that Jesus did. It is the believer’s job to try to understand all that he can.

Jesus was glorified by what he did. He died on a cruel cross. He was buried. He was resurrected by his own power because he is God. God the Father gave him the power to do all of this. What Jesus did created a means by which sinful man can become part of God’s family. Wow! How can any believer really understand what that fully means! We are finite, but because we become part of God’s family we will become the totality of what God wants us to be. As we are now, we cannot fully understand what that means!

Jesus suffered what he did so that all of humanity could know God, but they must choose to obey and do what Jesus says. God gives everyone the opportunity to know Him but God also gives everyone a choice. But the foolish ones will refuse to choose or make a bad choice. What they refuse to do will break God’s heart.

Those who choose Jesus will be set apart (sanctified) to do God’s work. That may be witnessing, serving on the mission field (at home or abroad), or preaching the gospel. Each believer will be equipped to do the work Jesus wants done. He chooses weak people to do the impossible because He empowers them by His Holy Spirit. This glorifies God because He is the only one who can do it! He loves every believer and will lavish his love on each of us. That is what heaven really means, God showing his love to those who chose His Son, Jesus! Maranatha, come Lord Jesus!