What is Prayer?

What is Prayer?

The simplest definition of prayer might be this: “Dialoguing with God.” It is merely expressing your heart to God and spending time with Him. God speaks, we listen; we talk and God listens. You might want to ask, what is prayer not! Christian prayer is not a mindless chanting of memorized words to a distant god in the sky. It requires an active engagement of your body, soul and spirit. God, in turn, focuses His attention on His children. God designed prayer to be fulfilling, exciting, and rewarding.

While I am going to be focusing mostly on intercession in the following articles, I wanted to give an overview of other types of prayer that will hopefully inspire you to study the subject of prayer further.

What is prayer? Dialoguing with God

Types of Prayer

A. Thanksgiving
B. Petition
C. Prevailing
D. Praying For Others

A. Thanksgiving– Giving thanks to God for all things in your life. We are commanded to give thanks in all circumstances. Being thankful is being grateful for His protection, provision, blessing, and most of all for his Son.

B. Petition– We ask God for the specific things we need in our life. Give us our daily bread. Give us the things we need to survive, a roof over our heads, employment etc. Petitions are usually self-orientated, presenting our personal needs to our Heavenly Father, having faith that He will provide. God invites us to be specific in our prayers.  Avoid praying in generalities. “God bless the whole wide world”

C. Prevailing Prayer– Fervent consistent insistent prayer refuses to give up until a breakthrough takes place.  Often, prevailing prayer is necessary to see lasting emotional healing or physical healing of chronic diseases.

Biblical Example:

Luke 18:1-8 – Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

D Praying For Others– (Intercession) Sacrificial love on its knees in prayer. Pleading on behalf of the needs of someone else. You stand in the gap by praying prayers of repentance as if you were actually the person you were praying for. For example, identifying yourself with the sins of those for which you are in prayer.

Biblical Example: Nehemiah, a very godly and upright man,  prayed prayers of repentance, identifying himself as one of those who had sinned. He asked the Lord to have mercy upon Israel and to return it to its former glory.

Nehemiah 1:4-10 – I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand.”

Further Bible Resources and Leads to Prayer Examples:

Encouraging Bible Verses
Another website I created that is home to hundreds of Bible verses organized by subject.

Daily Christian Quotes
Examples of prayers written or spoken by modern-day Christians and by our brothers and sisters in Christ who went before us.

Daily Audio Bible Listen to the Bible being read 365 days a year. This isn’t a pre-recorded CD or audio book! For the last 10 years, Brian Hardin reads the bible every day and often adds a short commentary at the end of the daily bible reading. By the end of each year, you will have read God’s word, cover to cover!

BibleGateway.Com Find dozens of Bible translations, a search engine, bible reading plans and study aids here.

Find several Bible reading plans on Encouraging Bible Quotes, a ministry of Katherine Walden.

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All Bible verses, unless otherwise attributed, are from the English Standard Version (ESV).

©1997, 2016 Katherine Walden

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