Sometimes we have such a religious and formal mindset when it comes to prayer. We think that it has to be done a certain way or at a certain time, but that’s not the case. Praying is much simpler than we make it seem, and it’s more important than we know.
For starters, the Holy Spirit wants to speak to us. He desires a closeness with us and for us to know and love Him with every fiber of our being. Prayer is one way to worship and also communicate with the Lord. In church, we always hear about how important prayer is. In Ephesians 6:18, God tells the people to pray on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. He tells us this, yet we usually only pray when we’re in desperate need of something.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus mentions the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-13, which is the following:
“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.”
Jesus says for us not to pray "in empty phrases”, but when you pray to request forgiveness and submit yourself to the Lord, just like in this passage. Just before these verses, Jesus says, “your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Since God knows all our thoughts, needs and desires, He knows what we long for and what we’re going to pray about. Then, you might ask, why would we need to pray and bring things to God if He already knows it all? Well, because when we do so, we’re humbling ourselves before Him.
Humbling ourselves when we pray requires us to give up the control we have over our lives. We sometimes have the mindset where we think that we’ve got it under control, that everything’s fine, and that we don’t need God. As human beings, we so often think that we don’t need Jesus to make it through life. The truth is that left to our own devices, we cause mayhem. When we’re without God’s guidance, life can become quite chaotic. That’s why when we come to the Lord in prayer, we need to do so humbly and willingly. We also shouldn’t pray ONLY when in the midst of desperation or ONLY when everything in life seems to be going just the way we want it to. If you’re struggling, He does want to hear about it. It’s difficult, but praise Him in the struggle. If you have an amazing life, praise Him for that too! But we can’t use God only when we want or need something. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, the Bible tells us to “pray without ceasing.” This means that we need to be in constant and recurring prayer every day. Pray when you walk to class or go to work. Pray when you exercise, when you journal, when you spend time with friends, when you listen to music, or any activity that you do daily. When in prayer, you’ll find that the Holy Spirit wants to speak to you. The thing is, sometimes you have to be the one to speak to Him first.
I was curious one day, so I searched “different types of prayer.” And I found that there are a few types of prayers that we practice. They are listed below and I’ll briefly expand on them. You can read these and perhaps practice them if you like. But as I mentioned earlier, your prayers don’t have to be super formal. It’s just talking to God like you would a good friend. Consider the list and explanations below to be a guide. If you’re confused or lost in your prayer life, maybe this will help you.
Different types of prayer:
The first type of prayer is communion…this means all day and all the time. This was mentioned before, but we should be in constant prayer and in that state of mind where we can live our lives while praying along the way. You’ll find that God is a great conversationalist, and that He loves to listen to you. Although, sometimes He won’t answer your prayer, or at least, it takes Him awhile. Sometimes we get too focused on making our prayers sound presentable. All Jesus really wants is for us to communicate with Him like He’s our best friend, because that is indeed what He is.
This means lifting up your needs before the Lord. You should know that God cares about everything, even the things that we consider insignificant and small. Present your requests to Him and wait for His answer. Try not to be too disappointed if the answer is no, because if it is, then it’s for our own good.
At YWAM LA, we gather together as a base every Thursday morning for intercession. This means that we talk about a person, place, people group, or anything that needs prayer, and we pray for it as a group. Intercession is so important because when two or more people are gathered, amazing things happen. We find that when we pray as a base, we can hear words from the Lord. We receive things that He’s speaking over the topic we’re praying about. Some people receive visions, other hear words from the Holy Spirit, and some people come up to the microphone and speak out a prayer or verse on their heart. It’s such a powerful and impactful time. Interceding for others is so vital to our Christian walk because we’re called to love God and love people. One way to love people is by taking time to intercede for them.
This one is tough, because it’s something we have to battle with every day as Christ followers. We live in a constant battle between the light and the dark. They both desperately want us. We can pray against Satan and his demons and for them to leave in Jesus’ name… because that causes them to flee. But we also have to deal with ourselves and where our mind is at. We need to keep our minds on heavenly things. Your mind is the battlefield, and two separate sides are waring for it. When we put our focus on Jesus and put on the full armor of God, the darkness cannot strike us. I like to think of it as though we have a spiritual shield around us that protects us against many evils. That shield is Jesus.
Prayers of Agreement:
This basically means corporate prayer, or when two or more are gathered. When we pray in groups, we should affirm each other’s prayers by verbally processing and agreeing with that prayer.
Prayers of Thanksgiving:
It’s crucial to count your blessings, naming them one at a time. Maybe keep a journal where you solely write down things you’re grateful for and what God has blessed you with. When you look back and reflect on this, it’ll bring you to a place of peace and gratitude for all that the Lord has done and will do in your life.
Again, don’t think of praying as something formal. God is our Father, and also our best friend. He’s the only one who perfectly understands and accepts us, because He loves us unconditionally. Be in the constant state of praising, thanking, and lifting up Jesus’ name.