What is Prayer?
Prayer is a Believer’s means of communication and contact with their Heavenly Father. God wants a relationship with His children and what better way to establish one than through talking to God. In Psalm 63:1-7 exemplifies how we as believers should also desire a relationship with God.
Importance of Prayer:
Through prayer, we make our requests to God. Philippians 4:6 says: be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know unto God. When we pray, we should expect to get answers.
And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; - Luke 18:1
Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. - Luke 21:36
Pray without ceasing. - 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Effective and Fervent Prayer:
You may have heard the old saying “prayer changes things.” However, it not simply the act of praying that changes things. It is the exercising of faith on the part of the children of God that changes things through the vehicle of prayer. Faith is what causes the change. James 5:16 says, Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. This means that a Christian who knows how to pray in faith can really change things. Prayer combined with faith in the Word of God, is a guide through which His power can be released to meet our needs, allowing Him the opportunity to get involved in the circumstances of our lives. As we pray, our heart changes and our perspective of our circumstances also changes. We begin to see God’s will more clearly and understand how to draw on His power.
Hindrances to Prayer:
Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear. - Isaiah 59:1-2
If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. - Psalm 66:18
Mark 11:25 - 26 also applies: and when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. - 1 Peter 3:7
Types of Prayers:
There are different types of prayer for different kinds of circumstances and each type of prayer has its own spiritual rules that govern it. You have to know the rule that governs the kind of prayer you are using or it will not work. Here are some types of prayer: prayer of agreement, prayer of faith/petition prayer, prayer of repentance, prayer of intercession, prayer of praise and worship, and casting your cares.
1. Prayer of Faith/Petition Prayer: Mark 11:24: Therefore I say unto you, what thing soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them. When you operate in the prayer of faith, no sight is involved, meaning no physical senses are involved.
Hebrews 11:1 says, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. If you see it, you do not need any faith, because faith is the evidence of things not seen. In addition, it is not possible to pray effectively or intelligently without knowing the will of God. In order to know His will, we must know His Word. God’s will is revealed in His Word. First John 5:14, 15 states, and this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will he heareth us. And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
2. Prayer of Repentance: 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, if my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. This is a very important passage on repentive prayer. To repent means to turn away from something. The word “repent comes from meta, “after, “and noeo, “to think”. Repentance is a decision that results in a change of mind, which in turn leads to a change of purpose and action.
3. Prayer of Agreement: Matthew 18:19 says, Again, I say unto you that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. This involves more than one person getting into agreement about one particular thing they are believing God for.
4. Prayer of Intercession: Ezekiel 22:31: And I sought for a man amongst them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Prayer of intercession is when you pray for someone else totally and completely, without knowing what the person’s circumstances and/or situations are. There are two methods of intercession: On one side of intercession, we get in agreement about somebody or something and pray for them in English, telling God what we want. The other side, the very high place, is a strong urge in your spirit to pray for something or someone in tongues [in the spirit].
Romans 8:26 states, In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. We pray based on our perceived knowledge, meaning that our prayers will be limited to what we know about a particular person, place or thing. But when we pray in the spirit, two very important things happen: our mind cannot get in the way to confuse the issues, and neither can the devil, because he does not know what we are saying or what we are praying about.
When we pray in our natural language, Satan does know what we are saying, and he can interject some thoughts into our mind while we are praying.
5. Prayer of Praise and Worship: This is a prayer between you and the Lord. You are telling Him how much you love Him. You are not asking for anything. You are sending up a sweet savor unto Him of adoration, appreciation and thanksgiving. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. (Psalm 100: 1, 2)
6. Casting your Cares: After instructing his readers to humble themselves under God’s hand (v. 6), 1 Peter 5:7 tells us that we are to, “cast all your cares upon Him: for He careth for you”. This is the secret to conquering anxiety and tension by casting all their care on Christ. Care, ‘merimna’ (mer-im-nah), comes from meiro, “to divide”, and noos, “the mind”. The word denotes distractions, anxieties, burdens and worries. Merimna means to be anxious beforehand about daily life. Such worry is unnecessary, because the father’s love provides for both our daily needs and our special needs.