The Tool of Prayer
Praying is by far the most powerful and wisest thing you can do for yourself, your loved ones and anyone around you. Prayer moves the hands and heart of God. He desires your love, your time, your attention and your fellowship.
Prayers are similar to tools. They enable us to do work with God. Just as there are many different kinds of tools, so there are many varieties of prayers. Identifying the different spiritual tools that God has given us to work with is essential before we can select the right one and use it to serve a particular function.
In the Bible we read of people asking God for information on a wide variety of subjects, as wide as their interests. For example, one of the psalmists, probably David, asked God why the nations were in turmoil (Ps. 2:1). Joshua asked God why He had brought the Israelites across the Jordan River miraculously only to allow them to fall before their enemies (Josh. 7:7-9). David often asked God if he should take a particular course of military action (2 Sam. 2:1, etc.). Job pleaded with God to identify his sin, sin that he could not identify himself (Job. 7:11-21). One of the psalmists wanted to know why God would not respond to his prayers when everything around him seemed to be falling apart (Ps. 10:1-2). The Apostle Paul asked God three times to take away this ‘thorn” from his flesh (2 Cor 12:8). These are some types of questions and prayer that biblical characters asked God in prayer. The other time Paul asked God who the Person was who appeared to him on the Damascus Road (Acts 9:5). There is no limit in prayer because God is our loving Father who desires to communicate effectively with us.
What is Prayer?
If God already knows our needs, why do we need to pray? If we don’t understand the five purposes of prayer we probably won’t be motivated to pray.
God won’t automatically do everything for us. Instead, He has given us a tool to use, which is prayer. Prayer is a privilege God gives us where He lets us participate in His will being accomplished on earth (Matt. 6:10).
However, if we don’t use the “prayer Tool” the door will remained closed for some of God’s blessings.
In fact prayer is a two-way channel by which God and man communicate with each other. Communication is very vital for any relationship that is to pass the test of time. Through prayers Christians relate their minds, feelings, emotions, desires and inadequacies, while God communicates answers, assurance and His supremacy to the believers. Prayer and the word of God make us spiritual grown ups.
We should develop the culture of being devotional. Develop a personal prayer life as a Christian. A Prayerless and worship less Christian is a powerless Christian. Prayerful Christians are great achievers. Anything that you don't pray for as a Christian you will have complications and difficult to conquer. Even Church issues are dealt with and are resolved in and by prayer. Revival will only come when churches together with their leaders go on their knees. Time and again we should be able to combine prayers with fasting. King David wrote that he “humbled [him]self with fasting” (Psalms 35:13). James tells us, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). Paul says Pray without ceasing (1 Thes 5:17). Prayer is mandatory. Constant prayers and occasional fasting help us to witness and encounter great breakthroughs, miracles and visitations.
Fasting is a means of getting our minds back on the reality that we are not self-sufficient. Fasting helps us realize just how vulnerable, insufficient, inadequate and how ineffective we are without God's intervention. Fasting effectively helps us to focus and rely on God for the supernatural strength, provision, and wisdom that we need.
Prayer is connecting our heart to God’s heart.
Prayer is having a heart-to-heart talk with God, letting Him know what’s on our heart. “Pour out your heart before Him.” (Psalm 62:8). Our closeness to God can be measured by how much we talk to Him when we’re NOT at church.
James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” “Drawing near” isn’t referring to distance because God is inside us. It’s talking about drawing nearer in our hearts.
Jesus said the Pharisees honoured God with their lips, but their hearts were far away (Matt. 15:8).
They missed the primary purpose of prayer—to develop a relationship with God.
James 4:2 tells us “you do not have because you do not ask.” To say it another way, if we don’t use the tool of a key the door won’t open. God can change our circumstances if we will use the tool of prayer and call out to Him for help.
Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, was threatening to conquer Jerusalem. King Hezekiah knew he would be defeated unless God stopped Sennacherib. Hezekiah prayed that God would deliver Jerusalem from the Assyrian army. God answered him, “Because you have prayed to Me about Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard you” (2 Kings 19:20). God came to his rescue because he prayed. If the king hadn’t prayed Jerusalem would have been destroyed. Prayer brought something to pass on earth that would not have happened if he hadn’t prayed.
Prayer can make a difference in what happens in your life.
“The effectual fervent (desperate) prayer of a righteous person avails much” (James 5:16). When we pray out of desperation we touch God’s heart and catch His ear. Our prayers show Him how desperately we want something. As Jesus passed through Jericho, two blind men sitting by the road cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us!” (Matt. 20:30). Even though a huge crowd surrounded Him, Jesus stopped when he heard their cries for help. He then answered their request and healed them.
On another occasion, a woman who had an issue of blood for 12 years touched the hem of His garment. While a large crowd was touching Him, Jesus felt power leave Him and she was healed (Mark 5:24-34). What was different about her touch than the others touching Him? She was desperate for a miracle.
Prayer is the way we release our burdens to God. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7).
How to Pray
When we pray correctly, we transfer our burdens and problems into the Father’s hands. If you are still burdened down after you have prayed; it means you didn't (never) let go of your problems when you prayed! When we’ve truly prayed, we’ve released our concerns into the Lord’s hands and we let Him carry the load. Prayer will set us free from any burden (1 Peter 5:7; Psalms 55:22)
He told us to pray for our enemies because our prayer releases the Holy Spirit to convict them of their sins and bring them to true repentance.
Remember, some things will not happen unless we pray. We don’t typically like to pray for those who mistreat us, but if we will pray for the Holy Spirit to convict them we might see some surprising results.
1. Prayer of Faith – Also known as the prayer of petition, this prayer is used when making requests for our personal needs. The key to this prayer is receiving the answer by faith when we pray. This is the prayer Jesus taught in Mark 11:24 and Matthew 21:22. It’s the prayer that changes things!
2. Prayer of Consecration – Also referred to as the prayer of dedication and submission. This is the prayer Jesus offered before going to the cross (Luke 22:42). This prayer is often misused. We should only pray, “if it be they will” when we don’t know God’s specific plan for our lives.
3. The Prayer of Commitment This prayer is also called the prayer of casting your cares on the Lord or "the stress relieving" prayer. This prayer is based on I Peter 5:7, "casting the whole of your care (all of your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all)." God wants us to live a carefree life. (See also Philippians 4:6)
4. The Prayer of Praise and Worship This prayer allows us to express our love and devotion to the Lord. This prayer does not petition God, but is a simple act of faith expressed in praise and worship to God. This is the prayer we use to approach God's presence. "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise" (Psalm 100:4 5).
5. The Prayer of Agreement This is a prayer you pray with another person to petition God. The success of this prayer is based on two people being in complete agreement and faith This prayer allows you to join faith with someone when asking God for something and is able to release multiplied power! (Matthew 18:18 20, Deuteronomy 32:30)
6. United Prayer This prayer is sometimes referred to as "group prayer" or "corporate prayer," based on Acts 4:2324. This type of prayer is often used in the local church and in Christian gatherings. Great power for the miraculous is released through unity of spirit and singleness of mind. (See Acts 5:12, 12:512)
7. The Prayer of Supplication This prayer is mentioned when Christians pray for other believers. Paul refers to supplication and intercession in his letter to Timothy, a young pastor, exhorting him and the church to pray for others. (See 1 Timothy 2:1) This kind of prayer is not a mere casual request, but a deep urgent petition to God on behalf of other believers. (See also 1 John 5:16)
8. The Prayer of Intercession Similar to supplication, intercession is offered on behalf of the lost, unbelievers or the backslider. By definition, intercession means, "to stand in the gap for someone" (Ezekiel 22:30). We mediate or plead on behalf of others who cannot reach out to God on their own. See examples of Moses (Exodus 32:914) and Abraham (Genesis 18:1633).
Intercession is prayer that pleads with God for your needs and the needs of others. It is standing in the gap, standing on behalf of, people, families, churches, nation(s) etc. But it is also much more than that. Intercession involves taking hold of God's will and refusing to let go until His will comes to pass. Intercession is warfare -- the key to God's battle plan for our lives. But the battleground is not of this earth. The Bible says, "We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and spiritual powers in the heavens above" (Eph. 6:12). Intercessory prayer takes place in this spiritual world where the battles for our own lives, our families, our friends and our nation are won or lost. An intercessor is a person who by calling or by nature chooses to be a mediator, praying on behalf of those who cannot intervene for themselves. Intercessors make requests, urge, plead, beg, counsel, discuss,risk, sacrifice and make war on issues relating to families, marriages, churches, countries , tribes, cities, continents etc thus they have an impact on the final outcomes of everything. And I sought for a man among 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 Ezek 22:30-3
9. Praying In Tongues The Bible sometimes refers to this kind of prayer as "praying in the Spirit," "supplication in the Spirit" or "praying with the Spirit" (1 Cor 14:2, 1415; Eph 6:18). In this kind of prayer, it is the human spirit that prays, empowered by the Holy Spirit. This prayer is not based on mental knowledge, but involves yielding to the Spirit to allow Him to pray His perfect will through us for the situation.
Psalms 102:12-13, 16-21, 28 (KJV)
But thou, O LORD, shalt endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations. Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come. When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory. He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer. This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD. For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth; To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death; To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem; The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee.