Throughout my life, as with many others, my conversations with God have changed dramatically. As we become wiser, which doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with age, and our relationship with God begins to deepen, we realize that there are several ways to communicate with our Maker; several forms of prayer. My desire is to briefly share a little of each type of prayer in hopes to challenge you to include a little of them all in your daily life. Doing so can help you to have a more well-rounded prayer life and relationship with your Heavenly Father.
The first type I wish to cover is typically the most common and familiar, yet overly abused form. It is called Prayer of Petition. This type of prayer is genuinely the first type of prayer many of us learn, even without being taught. It is where we ask God for something. Typically we do not practice it until things go bad, get tough or we just want something really bad; then we turn to God and beg; plead; make deals! In the end when they are not answered immediately, we assume God is not listening and that prayer doesn’t really work. Then we do not pray again until we want something else and the vicious cycle continues. How would you feel if in one of your close relationship the other person continuously was asking you to so something; or for a favor never asking if there is anything they could do for you? It would get pretty old wouldn’t it? Fortunately for us, our God is a patient and loving God and with any growth on our part, we can begin to take our prayer life to another level.
The next type I would like to discuss is called Prayer of Repentance. This is when we go to God asking for forgiveness. This is definitely a step in the right direction. God wants us to be one with Him; wants us close to Him so he can fill us with His love and grace. If we stay in a state of sin without asking for forgiveness, we are closing the door to God in our lives preventing ourselves from receiving His Divine Strength and Blessing. Offering our short-comings up to our Heavenly Father, with honest and contrite hearts, we are freed of the burdens we place on ourselves through our own faults and begin to receive the forgiveness Christ earned for us.
Another form of prayer vital to us growing in relationship with God is Prayer of Adoration & Praise. This is when we acknowledge the immeasurable goodness of our Father, that through Him our lives can be all He created us to be. It is a form of surrender of one’s self and an admittance that only through relationship with Him our lives may be made whole; purposeful; joy-filled and complete. Not that God needs our praise to think more of Himself, but it pleases Him when we desire His will in our lives. Turn to Him, offer up your life, seek His will and watch things begin to change for you!
A fourth type of prayer is the Prayer of Intercession. This is when we lift our prayers up on behalf of others. It’s when we pray for our spouse; our children; our family members; friends; our churches and pastors; our communities and our country. It’s when we lift the needs of all others up to God and ask for His guidance, strength and healing in their lives. Intercessory prayer is very powerful, especially when many come together in prayer for the same cause. “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20. We have seen the healing power of prayer when we have come together as a nation during crisis, such as 9/11, the many tragic shootings, devastating storms, etc. When we come together and pray for one another, God’s peace and love settles upon us and if even for a brief moment, we are all one in Christ!
Lastly but certainly not least, there is the Prayer of Thanksgiving. This is when we acknowledge to our God the thanks He is so deserving of for all of the great things He does in and for our lives. It may for bringing us together with our soul mates; for our beautiful healthy children; for providing us with a job; shelter; transportation. Going deeper we begin to thank Him for creating us; for His love; His peace; His guidance and His will. God deserves our unceasing thanks as it is through Him all of the goodness in our life comes.
Seeking that relationship that grows passionately day by day requires us to converse with our Maker in many different ways. When we can begin to direct our prayers away from ourself and outward towards God and others, ironically we will begin to receive an unmeasurable amount of purpose and peace within our own lives. I challenge us all to begin to pray for God’s will in our lives; to pray for God to begin to bless our country again and to consume the hearts of our fellow brothers and sisters and pray that we all seek that one on one relationship with Christ we all need to live to our fullest. May God bless each and every one of you with an abundance of love, purpose and peace!