Hey everyone. I started the week talking about prayer, I suppose I’ll end it the same way. As a nerd, when a topic strikes my fancy I will gorge myself on information and do my best to soak it up like a sponge. Years ago, my youth pastor shared with me a list of the different types of prayer that our found throughout the Bible. I was struck by the fact that for Christians, much of our spiritual lives revolve around the notion of communicating with God, but how often do we take any amount of time to really examine the practice?
I think I believe that prayers are more for us, than for God. It’s an opportunity for us to get close to him and to find fulfillment in that action. For this reason, I feel that there are very few “rules” to saying a prayer… Whatever can move your spirit, whatever can convince you to keep talking, to keep praying, to keep fighting, is good. That said, from time to time I would come across this list and try to make a point of praying a type of prayer I was less than familiar with. It forces you out of your comfort zone a little bit and allows you to interact with God on a level and in a way you may not have expected. With no further adieu, I present, the list:
Adoration– Prayers of Adoration are marked by a deep sense of love for the person and character of God. A building block of a healthy prayer life, adoration reminds us who we’re addressing. Adoration should be a natural response when confronted with the love, majesty, and holiness of our Lord. It’s a prayer that thrives as we focus more on how good God is rather than how much we need.
The book of Psalms consists almost entirely of this form of prayer. Spend some time reading the words and experiencing God for yourself. Think of the different facets and characteristics of God and tell him how much those mean to you.
Communication– God is still an active force in the world and in our lives. He is a living being that longs to speak with his children. I believe that God is constantly speaking, whispering his love and thoughts into our lives… however, our lives have become so loud, so frenzied that we often have trouble hearing it.
Communicating with God is usually done in one of two ways, either by speaking to and engaging him in a dialogue, or by God speaking via a circumstance in our life. Regardless of the means, one thing is certain: We can’t hear him if we’re too busy reading a grocery list of needs off to him. God craves real, meaningful words from us. Once we’ve said our piece however, we must learn to listen or we’ll continue to miss his message. Dan. 9:3-6, Acts 9:10-16 Gen 3:8-10
Communion– If Communication is a chat with a friend, Communion is a whisper in our ear from a cherished lover. Communion goes deeper than Communication. It’s more intimate, more involved. When we commune with God, our spirits are mingling together. God has stepped down from heaven and is where we are, live and in person, hugging us to his chest. Dialogue flows easily, and often transcends words. This is the closest to heaven we are able to get on this side of eternity.
We can see it in action in the life of Abraham and many of the patriarchs. They had a seemingly very consistent and constant connection to God, and as such, made several decisions by simply bringing their needs to him. He answered, and they did.
Confession– Confession is simply the acknowledgement of a fact about oneself or another. That acknowledgment can be either a disclosure of one’s sins as an act of penance or an affirmation of God’s greatness and goodness. Ezra 10:10-11 Dan 9:4-5 1 John 1:9
Contrition– the act of grieving and being truly sorry for one’s sins or shortcomings. Contrition is an attitude of the heart involving humility, brokenness of spirit, admission of sin, and grief for shortcomings; at the same time it implores God for his mercy.
Entreaty– To plead or ask urgently, especially in order to persuade. Prayers that we speak to God in an attempt to change his mind or the direction his will seems to be heading in.
Intercession– A form of prayer in which the focus lies solely with others. You approach God on another person’s behalf and try to enact a change in their life.
Meditation– To meditate is to focus one’s thoughts, reflect on, or ponder over something. Unlike Eastern meditation that encourages the participant to completely empty the mind, Christian meditation focuses on putting something into the mind. A scripture, a thought, or maybe just the idea of God himself.
Petition– to ask for something. An earnest request.
Praying in the Spirit– praying which springs from the merging of the human spirit with the Holy spirit, issuing in a prayerful utterance in an unknown tongue. 1 Cor 14:14-15
Submission– Submission is not so much a means of prayer as a condition of effective prayer. The submissive person humbly accepts the authority and lordship of the One to which he prays.
Supplication– the act of making humble and earnest entreaty for favor, especially to God. 1 Kings 8:33-34 Ps. 30:8
Thanksgiving– a public acknowledgement or celebration of divine goodness, an expression of gratitude.
Travail– used in the KJV to refer to painful or laborious work, or toil, either physical or mental. An intense application by prayer to the point of inward agony and pain in behalf of spiritual pursuits, including the birthing and development of souls and ministries in the kingdom of God. Gal 4:19
Worship– a reverence extended to an esteemed supernatural being; it is also the act of expressing that reverence, admiration or devotion. John 4:23-24