God wants to hear from us. Just as we want to hear from our kids.
He wants to know the desires of our heart. Just like we want to know our children's hearts desires.
But... to have a full and fulfilling relationship with the Creator of the Universe, we need to move beyond the It's all about me prayers. (I guess that is growing up.)
In addition to the common prayers of supplication and the typical dinner time Thank you prayers are at least five other types of petitions and conversations with God. (I'm sure you could find more.)
1. The Prayer of Intercession
This type of prayer is on behalf of another. In John 17: 6-26 Jesus prays for his disciples and for all believers! He asks God for their protection from the evil one and for their sanctification (daily growth in holiness because of knowing truth). He also prays for the believers' unity and eternal life.
We understand the protection piece and even the sanctification part but why unity of the saints?
The purpose of like-mindedness is to let the world know Jesus was sent by God and he has loved them as God has loved him. The Lord desires that all will know him and come to him. The message is much more powerful if it is done in the spirit of unity. God's heart desire is that no one will perish.
So intercede like Jesus and pray for other believers protection and sanctification and for non-believers to see, hear, and come to Jesus.
2. The Prayer of Contrition
This is a personal prayer demonstrating our human need for forgiveness and mercy. When a prayer of contrition is spoken it contains words that communicate a broken heart due to an understanding of who we are before a holy God. We all fall short of the glory of God but we don't often see it. We think we are "good" person. This prayer knocks pride right off its throne. A contrite heart shows the humility and wisdom gained by an understanding of who we are in relation to God. This prayer is one that moves in the heart of the believer to desire to be more like Jesus. Read Psalm 15 and see who can dwell the Lord's sanctuary. We can only enter due to what Jesus has done for us on the cross.
Blessed is the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3
3. The Prayer of Worship
Prayer as worship? Yes! This prayer recognizes who God is. You may even call it a praise prayer or a prayer of adoration.
The shepherds prayed like this after a pretty crazy, terrifying, and amazing night when the angel of the Lord appeared and spoke to them, they saw and heard a great company of angels bursting onto song, and then they went to see Jesus. The shepherds glorified and praised God for all the things they had heard and seen (Luke 2:8-20).
You can do that too. Praise him for how he has moved in your life, praise him for who he is. Pray his attributes: Almighty, All powerful, All knowing, etc.
When we pray like this we see how big God is and our troubles shrink in comparison to our big God.
4. A Prayer of Consecration
God is able. He can. With him nothing is impossible . A prayer of dedication or consecration is like the part in the Lord's prayer where we say, "May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." This is the place where a believer's faith and trust in a trustworthy and faithful God for his plans to come to fruition, his way. This prayer is bold and expectant. Jesus prayed like this in the garden. Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me, yet not my will but yours be done" (Luke 22: 41-42). These words submit to the Lord's will and way.
5. The Warfare Prayer or the Authoritative Prayer.
Remember when Jesus said," Get behind me, Satan" (Mark 8:33)? A battle cry needs to be uttered in and only in the authority of Jesus. This type of prayer only works if it lines up with in God's system, His Word and His laws. We can't pray this type of prayer haphazardly or carelessly. Even the arch-angel Michael didn't accuse the devil when disputing over the body of Moses Instead he said, "The Lord rebuke you" (Jude 9). So when you find yourself in the midst of spiritual warfare always pray in the name of Jesus Christ, making sure your prayer is aligned with God's word and law.
After researching the types of prayer for this blog post, I feel convicted that my prayer life is not nearly as vibrant as it could be. I feel challenged to pray bigger and pray differently.
Will you join me?
Prayer is powerful because of the One to whom we pray.
With big faith, hope, and love,