Prayer…should always be based on truth from scripture. Last week’s Life Today message on prayer prompted many to comment, so I am following up to share thoughts on the types of prayer I observe as revealed in scripture, excluding fasting which will be addressed later. Philippians 4:6-7 and James 5:16 are powerful entreaties to pray and seek God’s wisdom on how to pray. I strongly encourage you to do your own search of the scriptures on prayer.
Prayers: Praise and worship, thankfulness, even confession. (1 Jn. 1:9) Asking for nothing, simply acknowledging God for who He is, His creation, redemption, salvation. I was an enemy of God, and by grace I have become a new creation, seated with Christ at the right hand of the Father. (Eph. 2:4-10) Therefore, I am moved to bestow praise, honor and glory on my Lord. I worship Him in the power and presence of His Spirit. (Ps. 19; 117; 8; 150) (Lk. 2:20; 11:2; 18:43; Jn. 11:41)
Petitions: Prayer of faith. This is praying, believing. You are asking God for a particular outcome. (Mk. 11:24) Heb. 11:1 is operative here. Faith is at the forefront. God lives in the present; you and I live in the context of time. When you pray in faith, God immediately gives you your petitions according in accordance with his will–in the spirit realm. But in the natural world, due to a number of factors, it may take time for the answer to manifest itself. Daniel’s prayer for 21 days gives profound insight. (Dan. 10:10-14) To wait is a necessary requirement many times. (Ps. 27:13-14) In Christ, just as a lawyer in court, we have the legal standing to come into His throne room and petition God. He is the Judge, and will rule on our petitions in the most judicial way.
Supplications: Drawing from the supply in God’s storehouse for our needs. (Lk.12.24; Phil. 4:19; Mt. 6:30-33; Mt. 7:11) I am a child of God, a child of the Covenant, so I am privileged to dwell with Him in Christ and eat at the King’s table. As a loving Father, he delights in providing all our needs. And as a grateful son or daughter, it is our joy to give Him praise and thanksgiving, even in advance, believing His promises. Not only our physical needs of food, clothing and shelter, but all our spiritual needs as well. (Eph. 1:3) This includes the fruit of the Spirit. (Gal. 5:22)
Intercessions: Act of praying to God for someone else. They may be incapable of praying, unsaved, battling addictions, sick, having marital issues, wayward children, in need of wisdom or direction, maybe financially destitute. Interceding for your church, its pastors, the government and the leaders is encouraged. Missionaries, here and abroad, many in very dark places need covering and support. Paul, in Eph. 1:15-18; 3:14-21; 6:18-20 and Phil. 1:3,4 sets our example. Jesus, while on earth, prayed for His disciples (Jn. 17:6-19) and for all Believers (Jn. 17:20-26). And now as High Priest, He is making intercession for His Church. (Heb. 7:25-28) Since I am seated with Christ in His throne room, watching and hearing Him interceding for me, and the world He created; I am moved and compelled to pray for others, anytime, anywhere.
Binding and Loosing: This prayer is found in Mt. 18:18-19. God has given us authority here on earth, actually in the Garden, (Gen. 1:28) and by virtue of our covenant rights through Jesus. Notice that things do not begin in heaven and come to Earth, but rather the action starts here on Earth. When you pray in this manner, God affirms it in heaven and puts His seal of approval on your prayer. In God’s kingdom, all prayer is effective if in line with God’s word and His laws. Our battle is “against the principalities, powers and rulers of the darkness of this age”. (Eph. 6:12) Evil spirits at work in people’s lives can be bound; and angelic spirits can be loosed to work in your or their lives as promised by God in His word. The “whole armor of God” is necessary for victory and this prayer can enable it to happen. We need to believe it, claim it and thank Him for it. It is best accomplished where “two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name” for then we are confident of his promise to be there with them. And since He is with them, Godly business can be done with assured success. Always “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour”. (I Pet. 5:8) Binding and loosing have to be based on the authority God has granted you in scripture, not on some desire you have, remembering that you are a target. Always claim the covering of the blood of Christ!
Summary statement: God has provided each type of prayer for a specific purpose. Though you may engage in 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 promises and limitations. If you follow the examples in the Bible, you’ll be sure to use them properly. And never forget, God is running His universe through the prayers of His people.
Be serious…be persistent…be prayerful!
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (II Chronicles 7:14)