ALL KINDS OF PRAYERS
By Liz Adleta, Fellowship of Prayer Strategist
Ephesians 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
I love this verse! We are told to pray in the Spirit:
- On all occasions
- With all kinds of prayers and requests
- Always keep on praying
- For all the Lord’s people
Pray on all occasions for all the Lord’s people always with all kinds of prayers. Have you ever thought about what kinds of prayers this may be referring to?
When I was young, I was taught a simple acronym A.C.T.S. It stands for:
Four kinds of prayers. I believe there are several other kinds of prayer as well:
- Listening prayer
- Prophetic/apostolic prayer
- Intercessory prayer
- Prayers of agreement
Thanksgiving. Let’s take a quick look at these types of prayer. The Word tells us that we enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Thanksgiving simply means giving thanks to God for everything He so generously gives to us: life, breath, food, clothing, shelter, and so much more. In 1 Chronicles 16:7-36, we see how David models four elements included in true thanksgiving:
- Remembering what God has done for us.
- Telling others about it.
- Showing God’s glory to others.
- Offering gifts of ourselves, our time, and our resources.
A thankful heart is a joyful heart; this practice of entering His courts with thanksgiving prepares our hearts for an audience with the King and brings the added benefit of filling us with joy.
Adoration. As we fill our hearts with thoughts of God’s generosity and goodness, praise and adoration are a natural result. We find that intense admiration wells up, culminating in reverence and worship, including the outward acts and attitudes which accompany such. As we reverently and raptly contemplate the Divine perfections and prerogatives, our hearts are filled with praise. Out of the heart, the mouth speaks. We find ourselves speaking in words and song, exclaiming about God in His transcendent greatness, holiness and lovingkindness. The Word tells us that He inhabits the praises of His people—He literally is enthroned upon our praises as they rise to Him. We His people praise and we find God manifesting His presence near us and among us. It’s no wonder that as we fall more in love with our Savior and King in remembering His kindness to us, and we pour forth to Him our words and expressions of love and gratitude, He responds to us by drawing near as we draw near to Him. If we could only engage with God through thanksgiving and adoration, what a joy we would experience never the less! We turn our hearts and minds to Him and He wraps His Presence around us. We experience true intimacy with Him in this delightful place.
Listening Prayer. Having drawn near to God through thanksgiving and adoration, we find that we, like Esther, have the ear of the King, Our Beloved. In His Presence is fullness of joy; at His right hand are pleasures forevermore. This is the place where we can hear His heart. Because we love Him, our greatest desire is to know what pleases Him and to hear what things are on His heart. This is the time and place for listening prayer. We can be still in His presence and know He is indeed God Almighty, Sovereign Lord, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. As we linger here, we are changed in His Presence from glory to glory. We are becoming what we behold. Remember Moses whose face was transfigured after spending time before God.
Confession. As we listen in this place of intimacy, gently, so gently, the Holy Spirit may convict us of things in our lives and hearts not pleasing to God. Confession is simply acknowledgement, admission, profession, honesty, repentance and telling it forthrightly to all who should hear it. 1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” As we admit our need of forgiveness, God freely offers not only pardon but cleansing as well. There are actually two distinct confessions in the gospel: the confession of sin and the confession of Christ. Both are necessary for salvation; one is pointless without the other. We are called to be honest about our faults as well as our faith. God may speak to us about confessions we need to make before men; obedience to His instructions should be born out of our love for Him and respect for His wisdom and love for us.
Supplication. In this place of listening and responding to His voice within us, a time comes for us to make our requests known to God. Supplication simply means petitions, entreaties or requests. Jesus told us to ask and we would receive that our joy would be full.
Intercession. To intercede simply means to plead or mediate on behalf of another person or group. Depending on the object of our prayers, we would be asking or interceding.
In the Disciples’ Prayer, several requests are listed:
- Your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as in heaven.
- Give us this day our daily bread.
- Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
- Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
God showed me that these phrases are spoken according to different roles that we hold as royal priests before Him:
- Your kingdom come and Your will be done are spoken by us in our role as ambassadors for the King of kings and His Heavenly Kingdom.
- Give us this day our daily bread is spoken by us in our role as stewards of the Master’s Household.
- Forgive us as we forgive is spoken in our role as advocates before the Righteous Judge.
- Lead us not and deliver us are spoken in our roles as both soldiers of the Captain of Hosts and sheep of the Good Shepherd.
Envision yourself in these roles over any given circumstance and I think you’ll find it much easier to understand how to pray. In addition, I believe you’ll discover that you have much more faith-filled prayers, because we are called to such positions by God Himself who delights to give us what is needed according to His will and purposes in every situation. When we ask for things which advance His Kingdom and His glory, of course He will answer our requests. When we speak as stewards of the Household, as its Master, He delights to see that the Household is supplied appropriately. Jesus ever lives to make intercession for us and as our Advocate, He stands alongside us arguing in our defense. We freely forgive as He has freely forgiven us; in doing so, we are overcoming evil with good.
For me, it is a bit strange to think of myself both as a soldier and as a sheep, but we are both. Jesus, in Luke 10, warned the disciples that He was sending them out as sheep among wolves. When they returned to Him later in the chapter, He noted that He saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning. We may be as vulnerable as sheep, but our Good Shepherd watches over us. We are told to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. In walking in dependence upon Him and abiding in the place of intimacy, we fight the good fight of faith on our knees. The battle is not ours, but the Lord’s. As we abide in Him, we do find that we bear much fruit for His glory.
Prophetic/Apostolic Prayer. Prophetic prayer involves speaking forth by the Holy Spirit the thoughts and intents of God. What is being spoken forth is God’s heart on the matter. When we operate from this place of deep intimacy, we often find ourselves sensing a power welling up within us beyond our natural selves. A “knowing” guides our words beyond what we can know in the natural. Prayer hits a deep place and it’s not surprising to see an emotional response such as tears welling up, or other physical manifestations. Prophetic prayer may seem more authoritative than other prayer and may come in the form of declarations and assurances from the Holy Spirit through us as we speak. The result of this type of prayer is an air of confidence that God has indeed spoken. Always we examine what is spoken by the plumb line of the Word of God and let God Himself confirm with two or three witnesses.
Apostolic prayer is birthed from that intimacy with God and His heart bubbling out from our spirits, yearning for the fulfillment of His purposes in the earth among all peoples. It seems similar to prophetic prayer but may be broader, covering regions, peoples, or situations. Apostles are the “sent ones” and often pray for the breaking open of new territories for the Kingdom of God and the binding of strongholds and demonic efforts restricting the progress of the gospel. In the Disciples’ Prayer, the phrase “For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever” would, in a sense, be an apostolic proclamation.
Prayer of Agreement. The prayer of agreement is simply when two or more people come together and agree with one another and with the Word of God that something specific be done. See Genesis 11:1-9; Matthew 18:19-20; Exodus 17:8-13; Psalm 133:1-3; Acts 4:23; and Hebrews 10:24-25 give some examples. Even unbelievers can stand in agreement and there is a certain amount of power released in this (Genesis 11:1-9). But, God has delegated through Jesus power and authority to His Bride, the Church, and as we stand together in unity, more of God’s power can be released. When we pronounce the “amen,” we are basically saying, “Yes, Lord, let it be so.” The Word tells us that all His promises to us are “yes and amen in Christ Jesus.”
I challenge you to walk through these different kinds of prayers as you engage with God, individually or corporately. Be intentional as you turn toward him, and draw near. Allow ample time so that you can practice the “alls’ listed in our scripture above, praying all the time for all the saints all kinds of prayers always. You’ll be part of changing the world when you do!