The Value of Varied Prayer

Praying Hands

It is the clear teaching of Scripture that we are to give ourselves to consistent prayer (; ; ; ; ). However, at times we can find it hard as we may  struggle with how we ought to pray.

The manner of prayer is a struggle for many, but it ought not to prevent us from praying! We must not be under the impression that there is a single formula to prayer. As we study the Scriptures we learn that prayer takes place in varied ways. An excellent example concerning the manner of prayer is what is most famously known as the Lord’s Prayer (). Though it was not a prayer that He prayed, it is His prayer in the sense that He created it. This prayer provides us with a model of how to pray (click here for a previous post on this prayer).

A common devise to help us remember the different kinds of prayer is the ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) acrostic. Consider the following Scripture references to help inform the different ways we pray:

Adoration
One aspect of the believer’s prayer is adoration. This involves praising, worshiping and exalting the Lord. When we think about what Scripture says concerning who God is, there is much we can praise Him for. The psalmist declared, Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; 
and His greatness is unsearchable” (). When you pray, take time to adore the Lord.

Confession
A second aspect of our prayer time is confession. All of us sin. This is not to be ignored. If you are a believer you will never be condemned (cf. ), but your sin does interfere with your fellowship and joy int he Lord. What do we do about it? The apostle John said,  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (). Confession of our sin is to be an ongoing practice in our prayers.

Thanksgiving
When we stop and consider all that the Lord has done for us and continues to do for us, we have lots to be thankful for! To be thankful is the will of God (), so it is an essential part of the Christian life. We are to never forget all His benefits (). The words of the psalmist instruct us well, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” ().

Supplication
The final aspect of pray we will consider in this post is supplication. This refers to the requests that we make in prayer. This tends to be the most commonly employed aspect of prayer. If we rightly use the previous aspects, our requests ought to be in line with what will honour the Lord. Healthy prayer will involve requests (cf. ). We are commanded to Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (). Our supplications among many other things will include prayer for the lost (; ; ; ), prayer for provision (), forgiveness (), protection (), wisdom () and our leaders ().

We are to take time and pray. Let us make use of the variety of ways God has provided for us in coming before His throne of grace.

23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way.

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

17 pray without ceasing,

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.

8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,

136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way.

43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

10:1 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,

12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,

The Manner of Prayer

Prayer2

How should we pray? In we have what is most famously known as the Lord’s Prayer. Though it was not a prayer that He prayed, it is His prayer in the sense that He created it. This prayer provides us with a model of how to pray.

Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come,
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil'” ()

The Lord Jesus begins this prayer by saying, “Our Father in heaven“. In all of His prayers, Jesus used the term Father with the exception of (). This manner of address reminds us that we are His children (; ), He provides for us (; ), and that He loves us (). Furthermore, the recognition of Him being in Heaven is also significant. Firstly, it reveals His omnipotence (; ; ). Second, it reveals His omniscience ( ff.). And finally, it reveals His ability to help ().

After the opening words, this model prayer contains six petitions. The first three are concerning God whereas the final three are concerning us. This pattern is rather instructive and useful to remember. A tendency in many prayers is to offer up a wish list. Many prayers can be very self-centered. This prayer, however, teaches the believer to place their attention on God making it a God-centered prayer. Recognizing that the purpose of this prayer is to simply be repeated word for word (though that is not necessarily wrong), it provides God’s people with a pattern and model on how to pray.

Continue reading The Manner of Prayer

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.

and said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.

Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.

22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;

The Lord is in his holy temple;
the Lord’s throne is in heaven;
his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.

Psalm 102:19

19 that he looked down from his holy height;
from heaven the Lord looked at the earth,

123:1 To you I lift up my eyes,
O you who are enthroned in the heavens!

The Necessary Components of Genuine Worship

worship 1What is needed for worship?
It is common for people to think that the necessary components of worship are lighting, a band, instruments, and perhaps a good voice etc., but does that create spiritual worship? Paul declared to his readers,

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” ().

At the end of this verse Paul speaks of “spiritual worship“. This is a reference to the kind of worship that is reasonable, genuine and spiritual in contrast to ritualistic or man-made manipulation. What are the necessary components of this genuine God exalting spiritual worship? Continue reading The Necessary Components of Genuine Worship

12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Worship: The Believer’s Duty and Delight

Worship1

The idea of worship means many different things to people today. Of course, extremes of experience and traditionalism have distorted and distracted people from genuine worship.

The word ‘worship’ is from the old English, “weorthscipe”, which means “a recognition of worth”. In the Scriptures, the concept of worship carries the idea of serving God by means of an attitude of fear and adoration. What is worship? Worship for the believer is the act of recognizing God’s worth and responding to that in service to Him. Worship is to be exclusively offered unto the Lord (; ; ; ; ; ; ). How do we worship God? If we are going to do this, we need to have a right recognition of three realities:

Continue reading Worship: The Believer’s Duty and Delight

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“‘You shall have no other gods before me.

Deuteronomy 6:13

13 It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.

10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.’”

And Jesus answered him, “It is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God,
and him only shall you serve.’”

26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.”

Acts 14:15

15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.

18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,

10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Revelation 22:8

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me,