Types and Aspects of Prayer

Sermon Notes

 

Part 1 – Expanding and Beyond the Lord’s Prayer

Luther strongly suggested doing what we have talked about with The Lord’s Prayer

  • Working through each petition in your own words
    • Great value in this
      • Focuses our minds – rids distracting thoughts
      • It is actual prayer

Then Luther points out two things:

  • After praying through the Lord’s Prayer – one should feel free to “pray from the heart”
    • Free form prayer – pray as you feel led
    • Own petitions
  • Luther also points out be on the lookout for the Holy Spirit
    • The Spirit might impress upon you an insight from scripture and instruct your heart
      • In this case – put aside all other petitions, sit in silence and listen

Luther says:

“The Holy Spirit himself preaches here, and one word of his sermon is better than a thousand of our prayers. Many times I have learned more from one prayer than I might have learned from much reading and speculation.”

  • So, as we move into free form prayer we lift up our other concerns and personal petitions to God

This is not to say that anything goes in free form prayer.

Remember – One of the greatest myths of prayer: Because it’s prayer, my motives will always be pure.

        St. Augustine – our hearts are “disordered”

  • Simply by our human nature – our hearts are disordered
    • Things of greatest importance can be 3rd or 4th in priority in our hearts

St. Augustine:

“God, whom we should love supremely, is someone we may acknowledge but whose favor and presence is not existentially as important to us as prosperity, success, status, love, and pleasure… Unless at the very least we recognize this heart ‘disorder’ and realize how much it distorts our lives, our prayers will be part of the problem, not an agent of our healing.”

  • This why so important to meditate on scripture and pray the Lord’s prayer
    • Settle our hearts & minds
    • Focus more on the things of God
    • Settles the disorder and centers our priorities

 

Part 2 – 2 Types of Prayer

Two types of prayer – private & corporate

  • Either praying by ourselves
  • Praying in concert with other believers
    • Everything else – different types of requests or petitions

 

Jesus Describes Private prayer: Matt. 6:5-6

 “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

Corporate Prayer: Acts 4:23-31

 As soon as they were freed, Peter and John returned to the other believers and told them what the leading priests and elders had said.24 When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God: “O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— 25 you spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant, saying,

‘Why were the nations so angry?
    Why did they waste their time with futile plans?
26 The kings of the earth prepared for battle;
    the rulers gathered together
against the Lord
    and against his Messiah.’

27 “In fact, this has happened here in this very city! For Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you anointed. 28 But everything they did was determined beforehand according to your will.29 And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. 30 Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

31 After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.

 Those are types of prayer – private and corporate

  • Two legs of prayer life

 

This illustrates another of the myths of prayer: Private prayer is more important than corporate prayer.

  • Private prayer is not more important – more convenient
  • Equally important – 2 legs of your walk

 It is America’s sense of rugged individualism that has led us to believe this myth

    • I pray for myself
    • I pray for others
  • If you look at the attendance of the average church – most pastors report less than 2% of a congregation will attend a prayer meeting
  • W. Tozer once said not to expect a big crowd when God is the only attraction.
  • For a church body or an individual to have a truly effective ministry without a thriving corporate prayer life
    • Just like trying to win a race on one leg
    • You’ve handicapped yourself right out of the gate

 

Part 3 – Many Types of Petitions

 Everything else we’re talking about are petitions

  •  Requests we make of God

Phil 4:6 NIV

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

 Here we have a lot of different types.

Let’s look at four types of petitions: Supplication, Intercession, Faith, Thanksgiving

Supplication to ask God for something – typically for yourself

  • “Give us today our daily bread” – supplication

 James 5:13-15

Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.

  Luke 11:11-13

 “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

 St. Augustine – pray for a “happy life”

Happy life as defined in Psalms 27:4 –

One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,

 This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pray for other things

    • The Lord’s Prayer shows we need many things
  • But, if God and knowing Him is truly our greatest pleasure It transforms how we view our happy life.

 

Intercession – to plead or mediate on behalf of another person

  • Praying earnestly for the needs of others
  • This is probably where we will spend the bulk of our time in prayer.

Many examples of intercessory prayer in scripture:

        Abraham prayed for Sodom – Gen. 18:22-33

        Elijah prayed for rain for Israel – 1 Kings 18:41-46

        Elisha prayed for a boy to come back to life – 2 Kings 4:32-36

        The church prayed for Peter – God busted him out of prison – Acts 12:1-18

Paul gives us a beautiful explanation of how to pray for someone:

Col. 1:9-14

So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy,[c] 12 always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

 

What does this passage teach us about intercessory prayer?

 Pray persistently

        Vs. 9 – “we have not stopped praying”

  1. What to pray for.

                        – grow in complete knowledge of His will

                        – spiritual wisdom and understanding

        Vs. 10 – Why?

  • So their lives will
    • Honor and please God
    • Produce every kind of good fruit
    • Know God better and better

Vs. 11 – Prays that they will be strengthened w/ His glorious power

  • So they will have
    • Endurance and patience

Then he prays:

  • They will be filled with joy
  • Always thanking the Father

 

Petition of Faithtwo kinds – pray in faith/pray for faith

        Pray in faith – rooted in confidence in the Lord’s word

Mark 11:22-25

Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. 23 I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. 24 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.25 But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

         Matt. 9 – The Bleeding Woman

                Vs. 21 she thought, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.”

        Pray for Faith – one example

Mark 9:23-24 – Father asked Jesus to heal his son – “Have mercy on us if you can.”23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

  • This one example – but a strong one
  • James says if we lack wisdom we can ask for it

This indicates if we lack faith we can pray for it.

Thanksgiving

  • This should be a standard part of all prayers
  • Praise and worship brings us into the presence of God
  • Praise and thanksgiving are powerful weapons
    • Disarm two deadliest weapons of the enemy
      • Unbelief and satanic attacks

Many Psalms of Thanksgiving

Psalms 100

Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
    Worship the Lord with gladness.
    Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
    He made us, and we are his.
    We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
    go into his courts with praise.
    Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
    His unfailing love continues forever,
    and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

 1 Thess. 5:16-18

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

 

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