The past couple of days we have been talking about spiritual warfare and putting on the armor of God. The hardships in life are not just because life is enormously challenging sometimes, but because we have an enemy who is trying to destroy us. Jesus said so,
“The thief does not come except to kill, steal, and destroy….” John 10:10a
But do you know what Paul says to do right after you put on the armor?
“With all prayer and petition pray [with specific requests] at all times [on every occasion and in every season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all God’s people.” Ephesians 6:18 Amp
Pray always with all kinds of prayers.
Prayer is like going to the gas station and filling up with gas, or plugging in your phone when it is at one percent. It is like an oxygen mask at high altitudes, or in the depths of the sea. It is like the hot air they blow into balloons so they can get off the ground.
Are you living on fumes? Are you trying to live life with your tank on empty, hoping you will make it home before it runs out? I have done that and did not make it. It is so easy to just be inconvenienced a little by going to the gas station rather than being inconvenienced a lot, and inconveniencing others like I did my wife when they must come to get you!
Or like my brother who almost drowned when we were scuba diving because his tank ran out of air. The instructor had to share his tank and bring him back to the surface. That is what people have to do when they pray for you, but you are not praying yourself.
Pray always with all kinds of prayer.
I want to help you pray more by defining different types of praying. Paul said we are to pray with “all kinds of prayer”. Many people say that after they pray for about a minute, they run out of things to pray for, but when you realize that there are many types of prayers, this will dramatically change.
For instance, there is a conversational prayer. Talk to God like you would a friend. Tell Him everything – what you are angry about, lustful about, jealous of, what you are hoping for, disappointed in, etc. When you tell Him, it will not be the first time He learned about it. He already knows what is in your heart, but when you process it out loud with Him, it does good for your soul, and good for your relationship – because He will respond with comfort and wisdom.
There is the prayer of intercession – that is you holding onto Jesus with one hand, and your friend, or your spouse, child, church, President, our nation with the other. You are the friend in Luke 11 banging on the door of a friend’s house getting bread for another friend. You are the link in the chain between heaven and earth for them.
Then there is the prayer of agreement. Jesus said,
“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven” Matthew 18:19
Then there are personal requests – this is asking for things for yourself. We are all pretty self-absorbed, and needy, so if you realize that God is interested in every little detail of your life, you could be praying for a very long time.
Then there are prayers for deliverance. Jesus said we are to daily ask God to lead us away from temptation and deliver us from the evil one. If this were not necessary, Jesus would not have told us to pray for it, every day! These kinds of prayers are what the Psalms are full of – HELP!
Then there is praying Scripture. God tells us to put Him in remembrance of His Word. It is not like He forgot what He said, but when you send Scripture up the pipeline of prayer to heaven, God’s integrity to His Word kicks in and He responds. He told us clearly in Isaiah 55 that His Word will not return to Him empty!
Then there is the prayer of consecration – dedicating yourself to God.
I hope this helps you pray more. Oh, and do not forget what Paul says next – he asks the church to pray for him so that he will be able to speak boldly as he should, and that doors of opportunity to share the gospel would open to him.
I want you to know that I know that my bold preaching is not a result of my own efforts and energy. It is the grace of God supplied through your prayers. Personality does not change human hearts; the power of God does through the Spirit-filled preaching of His Word. So please pray for me daily!
Q. Do you get lost in prayer? Do you run out of things to pray about? How has this short teaching helped expand your understanding of prayer?
Q. What kind of prayer, from the list above, do you connect with the most, and why?
Q. What other kinds of praying do you think you could grow in?