[Course 20 Index] [Prayer-School Index] [Prayer Mini-Series Index ] [Prev Lesson] [Next Lesson]
When I was a little girl, the Whitman's Chocolate Sampler was our family's favorite gift to give to our friends. It was a box of chocolate and it had a whole bunch of flavors in it. And the box had the type of chocolate printed under each piece, such as "caramel chew" or "chocolate peanut cluster" or "strawberry cream." This gift was so popular because people could try all types of chocolates to decide which flavors they liked best and which ones they didn't like.
This teaching series has been a "sampler" similar to the Whitman's Chocolate Sampler. The purpose has been to expose you to various types of prayer. It's hoped you've found some forms of prayer you "like," ones that work well for you, that help you connect with God and help you see your prayers get answered.
This teaching series has provided samples of many types of prayer, but it has been far from exhaustive. There are many wonderful ways to pray that we haven't even begun to touch. I'd like to briefly mention a few other types of prayer that don't fall neatly into my earlier categories. These are prayer methodologies that some people have found very effective. For instance, some people are lead to pray Scripture over them or another person. Others are lead to sincerely pray the Lord's Prayer (from Matt. 6:9-13). Some are lead to pray in tongues (1 Cor. 14). Sometimes God may ask you to fast and pray, and fasting is quite a unique prayer experience for those who have never done it before. Or God may call you to participate in corporate prayer, where many believers come together to pray for your city or nation.
The Lord's Prayer
The disciples noticed that Jesus had an incredible prayer life, so they asked Him to teach them how to pray. In response, Jesus gave them a model prayer that deals with the following areas:
Some people pray the Lord's Prayer word for word, sincerely meaning it. Others pray the model or pattern that He gave us in that prayer, but they use their own words to do it, and they may spend prolonged periods of time in some of the areas as is appropriate to their day-to-day lives. For instance, on the days where they fell into some sin, they may spend more time on the repentance and receiving forgiveness. On the days where someone wronged them, they may spend more time on extending forgiveness, etc.
There are times when God quickens a passage of Scripture to you, where it seems to fit your situation. You can change it slightly (substitute "me" for "you", "I" for "they", etc) to personalize it and make it a prayer. Let's look at Psalms 91 to demonstrate what I mean by modifying the text slightly to make it a suitable prayer. Psalms 91 is a psalm of God's protection, and it's a favorite with many intercessors. They will sometimes pray it over themselves, with minor changes to personalize it.
Verses 3-6 read, "Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday."
If an intercessor personalized that for themself, they might turn it into a prayer by slightly changing the words, to read, "Lord, I trust that You will deliver me from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. You will cover me with Your feathers, and under Your wings I will find refuge. Your truth will be my shield and buckler. I won't be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in the darkens, nor of the destruction that lays waste by noonday."
If an intercessor felt led to pray that over a certain person, say John, they might personalize it as follows: "Lord, deliver John from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. Lord, cover John with Your feathers and give him refuge under Your wings. Let Your truth be John's shield and buckler. Make John confident in Your protection, so he does not fear the terror by night nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that walks in the darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste by noonday."
There are many excellent Scripture passages that you can pray. For instance, if you are ministering to someone with self-worth issues, (or interceding for them), Psalms 139 is a wonderful passage to personalize and use. And you will find there are many passages in the Bible that make excellent prayers. I encourage you to collect a few of your favorite prayer-like passages and begin praying them over yourself and over others.
Praying in Tongues
God intended the gift of tongues for the edification and encouragement of His children. The devil has turned the topic of speaking in tongues into something controversial and divisive. I don't want to get into the arguments for or against tongues as the evidence of being baptized in the Holy Ghost. Let's put that aside and look at praying in tongues as a form of prayer for those who do speak in tongues.
We do know that speaking in tongues is discussed in Scripture. Jesus said His follows would speak in tongues (Mark 16:17). The early disciples and believers received the gift of tongues and an accompanying power (Acts 2:3-4). Tongues are listed as one of the spiritual gifts in 1 Cor. 12:10, along with working miracles, prophecy, interpretation of tongues, healing, etc. Speaking in tongues is listed along with teaching and administration and working miracles in 1 Cor. 12:28. There is some debate as to whether tongues are a gift for some Christians or for all Christians. Mark 16:17 seems to support that tongues are for everyone and 1 Cor. 12:30 seems to support that tongues is a spiritual gift given only to certain people (and others get different gifts). I don't care what your personal theology is on this topic, it's OK with me if you feel it's for all believers and it's OK if you feel it's a spiritual gift given to some believers. But we must not devalue the gift of tongues simply because it's controversial.
Praying in the Spirit (often interpreted as praying in tongues) can be a very powerful experience, especially when you don't know how to pray about a particular issue you're concerned about. Romans 8:26 says, "Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered." In other words, the Holy Spirit gets personally involved in our prayers and He prays powerfully with us on our behalf.
Some people report that their personal faith and walk with God are built up and strengthened when they pray in tongues. 1 Cor. 14 seems to support that. Tongues can build a person's faith; it can help them "connect" with God. I know a prophet who needs to pray in tongues for about an hour each day to keep his prophetic sharpness and clarity. He feels praying in tongues helps him become receptive to things of the Spirit and He can hear God's voice more clearly when He prays in tongues.
Some people get immense edification from praying in tongues. Others, like myself, find more edification praying with our understanding. I don't "enjoy" long sessions of praying in tongues and I don't do it on anything close to a daily basis. However, there are times when an intensity comes on me to pray in tongues, and then it's quite a different experience! Also, I frequently find that when I'm in some type of spiritual warfare or ministry prayer, I find myself praying in tongues. And sometimes when God's presence comes on me very strongly, I find myself bursting out in tongues. I don't stop to think, "Oh, I guess I'll pray in tongues now." It just explodes out of me in response to the intensity of His presence.
1 Cor. 14:15 sums it up pretty well when it says, "What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding." In other words, we shouldn't discount the power of praying in tongues, but we shouldn't pray exclusively in tongues and discount the power of other types of prayer.
Corporate prayer is where believers join together to pray and seek God. Sometimes people pray in response to an issue. For example, many churches held prayer meetings in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Sometimes corporate prayer meetings are for an area rather than an issue.
Several years ago, the concept of "concerts of prayer" began springing up in my nation, the United States. These were citywide meetings where believers from many churches came together to pray for their city. They would usually begin at 7:14 PM in response to 2 Chron. 7:14, "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." Concerts of prayer were God's people coming together to humble themselves before God, repent and pray for God to release His blessings on their city (e.g., or heal the land).
There are many styles that can be used to run a corporate prayer meeting. My favorite is to intersperse worship and prayer at an open microphone. We encourage people to stick to one topic until it has been prayed through, and to keep their prayers short, but to feel free to pray many times on a certain topic. If the group is on a topic and they get a totally different prayer topic, we ask them to jot it down and hang onto it until the current topic is prayed through. We encourage people to listen to each other's prayers and if something "clicks" inside of you based on what you hear in another's prayer, then pray it. We call that building on each other's prayers. When there's a lull in the prayer time, we do a bit of corporate worship, and then begin another prayer session on another topic.
There are many other valid styles of corporate intercession; that one just happens to be my personal favorite. So when I run a prayer meeting, that's usually the format I use.