INTRODUCTION TO PRAYER

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)

THE DEFINITION OF PRAYER

Prayer is communicating with God. It takes different forms, but basically it occurs when man talks with God and God talks with man. Prayer is described as:

Calling upon the name of the Lord: Genesis 12:8

Crying unto God: Psalms 27:7; 34:6

Drawing near to God: Psalms 73:28; Hebrews 10:22

Looking up: Psalms 5:3

Lifting up the soul: Psalms 25:1

Lifting up the heart: Lamentations 3:41

Pouring out the heart: Psalms 62:8

Pouring out the soul: I Samuel 1:15

THE DEFINITION OF PRAYER

Prayer is communicating with God. It takes different forms, but basically it occurs when man talks with God and God talks with man. Prayer is described as:

Calling upon the name of the Lord: Genesis 12:8

Crying unto God: Psalms 27:7; 34:6

Drawing near to God: Psalms 73:28; Hebrews 10:22

Looking up: Psalms 5:3

Lifting up the soul: Psalms 25:1

Lifting up the heart: Lamentations 3:41

Pouring out the heart: Psalms 62:8

Pouring out the soul: I Samuel 1:15

Crying to Heaven: II Chronicles 32:20

Beseeching the Lord: Exodus 32:11

Seeking God: Job 8:5

Seeking the face of the Lord: Psalms 27:8

Making supplication: Job 8:5; Jeremiah 36:7

Prayer is not just talking to God, but it involves listening also. Prayer is communication, and a one-way conversation does not last long. When you pray, expect God to speak to you. Most often He will do this through His written Word or by a "still small voice" that seems to "speak" to your heart. Sometimes He will give you a vision or interpret back to your spirit what you have prayed in your heavenly prayer language.

Don't just rush in and dump all your requests on God and then end your prayer. Allow time for Him to speak to you. He will give answers to your questions, guidance for the day ahead, and help you order your priorities. Sometimes He will give you a special message of encouragement to share with someone for whom you are interceding.

When you pray, there is no one approved posture for prayer. You may pray while:

Standing: I Kings 8:22; Mark 11:25

Bowing down: Psalms 95:6

Kneeling: II Chronicles 6:13; Psalms 95:6; Luke 22:41; Acts 20:36

Falling on your face: Numbers 16:22; Joshua 5:14; I Chronicles 21:16; Matthew 26:39

Spreading out your hands: Isaiah 1:15; II Chronicles 6:13

Lifting up the hands: Psalms 28:2; Lamentations 2:19; I Timothy 2:8


 

HOW PRAYER IS ANSWERED

The Bible reveals that prayer is answered:

Immediately at times: Isaiah 65:24; Daniel 9:21-23

Delayed at times: Luke 18:7

Different from our desires: II Corinthians 12:8-9

Beyond our expectations: Jeremiah 33:3; Ephesians 3:20

THE PRAYER LIFE OF JESUS

Prayer should be important to us because it was important to the Lord Jesus. Jesus is our
greatest model of intercessory prayer. Study each of the following references about the prayer life of Jesus:

JESUS MADE PRAYER A PRIORITY:

-He prayed any time of the day or night: Luke 6:12-13

-Prayer took priority over eating: John 4:31-32

-Prayer took priority over business: John 4:31-32

-He taught prayer to his disciples: Matthew 6:9-13

PRAYER ACCOMPANIED ANY EVENT OF IMPORTANCE IN HIS LIFE:

-At His baptism: Luke 3:21-22

-During the first ministry tour: Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16

-Before the choice of the disciples: Luke 6:12-13

-Before/after feeding the 5,000: Matthew 14:19,23; Mark 6:41,46;John 6:11,14-15

-At the feeding of the 4,000: Matthew 15:36; Mark 8:6,7

-Before the confession of Peter: Luke 9:20

-Before the transfiguration: Luke 9:28,29

-At the return of the seventy: Matthew 11:25; Luke 10:21

-At the grave of Lazarus: John 11:41-42

-At the blessing of the children: Matthew 19:13

-At the coming of certain Greeks: John 12:27-28

-For Peter: Luke 22:32

-For the giving of the Holy Spirit: John 14:16

-On the road to Emmaus: Luke 24:30-31

-Prior to His ascension: Luke 24:50-53

-For His followers: John 17

-Before His greatest trial: Matthew 26:26-27; Mark 14:22-23; Luke 22:17-19

LEVELS OF PRAYER

There are three levels of intensity in prayer: Asking, seeking, and knocking:

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)

Asking is the first level of prayer. It is simply presenting a request to God and receiving an immediate answer. In order to receive, the condition is to ask:

...ye have not, because ye ask not. (James 4:2)

Seeking is a deeper level of prayer. This is the level of prayer where answers are not as immediate as at the asking level. The 120 gathered in the upper room where they continued in prayer is an example of seeking. These men and women sought fulfillment of the promise of the Holy Spirit and continued seeking until the answer came (Acts 1-2).

Knocking is a deeper level. It is prayer that is persistent when answers are longer in coming. It is illustrated by the parable Jesus told in Luke 11:5-10. It is also illustrated by the persistence of Daniel who continued to "knock" despite the fact he saw no visible results because Satan hindered the answer from God (Daniel 10).

TYPES OF PRAYER

Paul calls for believers to pray always with "all prayer" (Ephesians 6:18). A This refers to the various types of prayer which include:

WORSHIP AND PRAISE:

You enter into God's presence with worship and praise:

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him, and bless His Name. (Psalms 100:4)

Worship is the giving of honor and devotion. Praise is thanksgiving and an expression of gratitude not only for what God has done but for who He is. You are to worship God in spirit and in truth:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24)

Worshiping God in truth means that you worship Him on the basis of what is revealed in the Word of God. To worship Him in Spirit is to do so sincerely in the power of the Holy Spirit, from your innermost being, putting Him first above all others. When you worship in Spirit, you allow the Holy Spirit to direct your worship. You do not use man-made formulas or rituals of worship. You do not just repeat chants or prayers with your mind somewhere else.

Instead, you open up the innermost recesses of your heart and mind, and lift praise and adoration to Him in your own words. Sometimes, the Holy Spirit will take over completely and you will begin to worship in the "other tongues" of your prayer language.

Praise and worship can be with:

Singing: Psalms 9:2,11; 40:3; Mark 14:26

Audible praise: Psalms 103:1

Shouting: Psalms 47:1

Lifting up of the hands: Psalms 63:4; 134:2; I Timothy 2:8

Clapping: Psalms 47:1

Musical instruments: Psalms 150:3-5

Standing: II Chronicles 20:19

Bowing: Psalms 95:6

Dancing: Psalms 149:3

Kneeling: Psalms 95:6

Lying down: Psalms 149:5

COMMITMENT:

This is prayer committing your life and will to God. It includes prayers of consecration and dedication to God, His work, and His purposes.

PETITION:

Prayers of petition are requests. Requests must be made according to the will of God as revealed in His written Word. Petitions may be at the levels of asking, seeking, or knocking.

Supplication is another word for this type of prayer. The word supplication means "beseeching God or strongly appealing to Him in behalf of a need.

CONFESSION AND REPENTANCE:

A prayer of confession is repenting and asking forgiveness for sin:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

INTERCESSION:

Intercession is prayer for others. An intercessor is one who takes the place of another or pleads another's case. It is upon this type of prayer that the remainder of this manual focuses.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Study the following Scriptures again and then experiment by praying in different positions:

Standing: I Kings 8:22; Mark 11:25

Bowing down: Psalms 95:6

Kneeling: II Chronicles 6:13; Psalms 95:6; Luke 22:41; Acts20:36

Falling on your face: Numbers 16:22; Joshua 5:14; I Chronicles 21:16; Matthew 26:39

Spreading out your hands: Isaiah 1:15; II Chronicles 6:13

Lifting up the hands: Psalms 28:2; Lamentations 2:19; I Timothy 2:8

Study the following verses again and then experiment by praising and worshiping God in the various ways Scripture directs:

Singing: Psalms 9:2,11; 40:3; Mark 14:26

Audible praise: Psalms 103:1

Shouting: Psalms 47:1

Lifting up of the hands: Psalms 63:4; 134:2; I Timothy 2:8

Clapping: Psalms 47:1

Musical instruments: Psalms 150:3-5

Standing: II Chronicles 20:19

Bowing: Psalms 95:6

Dancing: Psalms 149:3

Kneeling: Psalms 95:6

Lying down: Psalms 149:5