Four Kinds of Prayer
Andrew Fountain –
- Regular times of prayer
- Special intense prayer, focused on an issue
- Short prayers (requests or thanks) linked to events during the day
- Background conversation with God, always conscious of his presence
1. Regular times of prayer
- The disciples asked Jesus how to pray: Matthew 6
- When you pray, do not babble repetitiously like the Gentiles, because they think that by their many words they will be heard.
- Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
- So pray this way:
Our Father in heaven, may your name be honoured,
- may your kingdom come,
may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
- Give us today our daily bread,
- and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors.
- And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen
- For if you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
- But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your sins.
2. Special intense prayer, focused on an issue
- Example:Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22)
- When he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.”
- He went away from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed,
- “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me. Yet not my will but yours be done.”
- (Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.
- And in his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.)
- When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping, exhausted from grief.
- So he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you will not fall into temptation!”
- We often read verses like:
- And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. [Mark 1:35]
- And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. [Mark 6:46]
- It is hard to make a sharp distinction between Jesus’ regular prayers and his specially intense ones, because his life was lived at this level of intensity
- Another really good example of this more intense, directed prayer, was before Pentecost, and then in Acts 4:
- When they heard this, they raised their voices to God with one mind and said, “Master of all, you who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them,
- And now, Lord, pay attention to their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your message with great courage,
- while you extend your hand to heal, and to bring about miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
- When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God courageously.
3. Short prayers (requests or thanks) linked to events during the day
- Great example in Nehemiah 2 (background to story...)
- So the king said to me, “Why do you appear to be depressed when you aren’t sick? What can this be other than sadness of heart?” This made me very fearful.
- I replied to the king, “O king, live forever! Why would I not appear dejected when the city with the graves of my ancestors lies desolate and its gates destroyed by fire?”
- The king responded, “What is it you are seeking?” Then I quickly prayed to the God of heaven
- A couple of other examples from the life of Jesus:
- Mat 19:13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray.
- Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them
- Any suggestions?
4. Background conversation with God, always conscious of his presence
- When Jesus was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, we see an insight into his private conversations with the Father (John 11)
- So they took away the stone. Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you that you have listened to me.
- I knew that you always listen to me, but I said this for the sake of the crowd standing around here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
Let’s do it!
- List of things to pray
- Some people here need jobs
- Some people here need healing
- Some people here need a place to live
- Salvation for people we know
- What other things are there?
- If God said to you, what are the three prayers you would most like me to answer, if you could have any prayers answered
- We are going to give thanks for food very shortly
- We can practice being conscious of God’s presence for the rest of the day
- P – Praise
R – Repentance
A – Asking for:
Y – Yourself
E – Everyone else
R – Rejoicing