TYPES OF PRAYER
© Carlos Padilla – August 2022
Without a doubt, prayer is one of the more profound experiences that a man or a woman of faith can experience, when it is done with a heart delivered to God. For Christians, prayer is to God the Father in the name of His Son Jesus Christ – Yahshua, through the Holy Spirit. But the first thing we must learn is its essence, to know what happens in the spiritual dimension when we pray, and to know this I will offer another Biblical study about Prayer, but in this study we will go deep into the dimension of prayer itself, to find out that prayer is divided in three basic types, as if they were the pillars of the communication with God, inside which we will identify different purposes according to the will of God to talk to us.
Then, if using vane repetitions, even several “Our Father” in a row, or prayers to saints or virgins, as Catholicism, which is not based in the Bible, not taking into account the true Word of God and guide of Christian life, considering prayer a penitence, which is not the will of God. Which is the way to pray and what types of prayer are there, and which are blessed by God? Will God answer prayers of those who pray without seeking the face of God, without talking to Him with a sincere heart, and they do only to justify themselves before their own conscience? If you seek the blessing of God and to learn the types of prayer that Jesus Christ taught, according to His Word, keep reading…
TYPES OF PRAYER
In the Bible, both Judaism as well as Christianity concentrate prayer in three basic types: for praising and worshiping God, to thank God, and to ask God. However, from these three, the type of prayer to which we dedicate almost the totality of the little time we dedicate to prayer, is to ask. We have a Spanish saying: “you have a friar’s mouth” referring to the famous begging friars that lived of charity, following their mendicant order, that would ask everyone to survive, and this way stay away from the succulent life of luxuries of the papacy, from temptations, and offer their poverty to God as penitence. Once again the separation from the knowledge of the Word of God, has taken many good Christians to live radical lives, as long as they could please God and seeking by their merits the salvation of their souls from hell.
Before we go deeper it is good to make a reminder that even though in reality it should be the same to pray than to repeat prayers, the concept of prayer repetition is something that our Lord Jesus Christ exhorts not to do, in the Gospel of Matthew 6:
“And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP GOD
The first thing our heart must emanate towards our God is a feeling of praise and worship. As we recognize God in all we have received, and before we give thanks for being alive every morning, not only for us, but for our beloved, for our children, and our family, the brethren in the church, one must recognize that God is the artifice that makes all exist and of the fact that we can experience and receive Him. God is worthy or praise and worship if we go to the field of the Spirit, the most high, where we find the salvation that He has propitiated to take us to Hi Kingdom, through Christ and with the action of the Holy Spirit. Therefore let us praise Him and worship Him always. Let us recognize God as our Father: Our Father, who art in Heaven. Hallowed be Your name! For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen!
Prayer of praise:
Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty, 2 Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain. 3 He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters, Who makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind, 4 Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire.” Psalm 104.
TO GIVE THANKS TO GOD
How much we must thank God for! Without a doubt, after praising and worshiping God for He is worthy or this, for His infinite goodness and such a grand love for us, sinners, to save us, for creating us, for choosing us, for giving us the faith in His Son Jesus Christ – Yahshua, for keeping us in holiness until His return in His Kingdom, by the Holy Spirit every day in His teaching, guide and intercession, for the simple fact of being alive every morning, for having our beloved ones, the brethren in the faith, for the church, for the good deeds of charity of each Christian, of the church and for the ministers that compose it; the list never ending, but one is the main, to give thanks to God for Jesus Christ who gave Himself for all of us:
Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.” Luke 22.
Prayer of thanksgiving:
“Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.” John 11:41.
TO ASK GOD
As I was saying at the beginning, what we do best when we pray to God is to ask for things. The key is not that we ask, but that we ask according to His will. The confession to God of our sins, in repentance, follows the order of the three types of prayer: first praise and worship God, then give thanks for being heard, but finally asks for forgiveness and for restoration and sanctification, seek the love and the friendship of God, which one always receives when we come to God in Christ with a sincere heart.
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 forgive our debtors. And do not deliver us into temptation and set us free from the evil one! Matthew 6. Most of the “Our Father” are petitions, and indeed is so much the need we have from God and His blessing.
For the neighbour:
Prayer for the family, our beloved ones, so they may be saved, that they believe, that they may know God and receive Christ in repentance, so they may be set free from hell when resurrection comes the day of judgment, and may have access to the eternal Kingdom of God.
Prayer for healing of the sick, children in hospitals, or which birth defects. Can God heal today? Truly God is the same, yesterday, today and forever, the exceptional situation of the apostles, after Jesus Christ departed to the throne of glory, when they received the permanent gifts, is not the same today. Neither they had the entire Bible as we do. However, those who have to believe will believe, with or without miracles. But we can indeed pray for healings, for the resurrection of the dead, for incredible miracles, and sometimes God will do the miracle, but many times not, for those gifts are not permanent in the pastors in today’s church. But, the prayer of faith, has much power, we must always pray if we have the faith that God will make a miracle, in the name of Jesus Christ. Sometimes He does them even when is not in that moment, not even by imposition of hands, but through other ways, like doctors, or others, who are surprised by healings or operations of discarded who are healed.
Abraham’s prayer of intercession for Sodom:
And he said, “Indeed now, I have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose twenty should be found there?” So He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of twenty.” 32 Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should be found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.” 33 So the Lord went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.” Genesis 18:31.
“Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. 46 Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.” Luke 22:41.
For the enemies:
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven…” Matthew 5:44.
“And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Mark 14:36.
“Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34.
“And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. Luke 1:10.
“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:19.
“Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.” Acts 12:5.
Prayer in congregation and in public:
Who prays in congregation or in public must be conscious of covering the three types of prayer, and over all to take into account the people he has before him, not himself. Once he gives the glory to God in Christ, through the Holy Spirit, praises and worships the Lord, must give thanks to God for all the blessings He gives us all, he must take into account the culture and the society he has before him, and that he shares, the present historical moments, the experiences of the congregation, or of the public, and then ask for all those needs which that congregation needs, and finally pray for those who have leadership and/or pastor, both before God and for His church, as for the governors, for peace and so that the good deeds reflect Christ to the others. Some example in the history of the Bible we find in Peter’s sermon:
“But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words… … “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear… “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” 40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this [l]perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.” Acts 2.
But the final prayer to God for His disciples from the Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel of John, chapter 17 must be read and studied.
Non Christian prayers:
What happens with the millions of people believers of the different religions who pray to gods, dead relatives, spirits, or to saints and virgins in some branches of Christianity, or to the same God but not in Christ, case of Judaism? Does God listen to those prayers, and answers those people?
“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.” Proverb 21:2.
“Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:24.
“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time…” 1 Timothy 2:5-6.
RELEVANT PERSONAL PRAYERS IN THE BIBLE
In the Word of God we find the history of the saints, prophets and evangelists, as how prayer is common to all of them. The examples shown as follows are from the Bible, and are a brief compilation of some prayers, but with great significance which are or great inspiration and guide for all believers who want to know and talk to God:
Set as the first example of prayer:
“And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the Lord.” Genesis 4:26.
Abraham receives from God the order to sacrifice his firstborn Isaac as burnt offering:
“Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him… …But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.” Genesis 22.
Jacobs blessing to Isaac:
“Surely, the smell of my son, Is like the smell of a field, Which the Lord has blessed. 28 Therefore may God give you of the dew of heaven, of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine. 29 Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be master over your brethren, and let your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be those who bless you!” Genesis 27.
Prayer and communication of God in dreams to Jacob of the blessing of Isaac his father:
“And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. 14 Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” Genesis 18:13.
Moses intercedes for the people:
“Thus I prostrated myself before the Lord; forty days and forty nights I kept prostrating myself, because the Lord had said He would destroy you.” Deuteronomy 9:25.
Gideon prays asking for signs:
“So Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said— 37 look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.” 38 And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.” 40 And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.” Judges 6:36.
Samuel before anointing David as king:
“I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the Lord all night.” 1 Samuel 15:11.
Prayer of Elijah for God to show His power to the rebel world:
“Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that you are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” 1 Kings 18:37.
David praises first and then cries:
Praise is awaiting You, O God, in Zion; And to You the vow shall be performed. O You who hear prayer, to You all flesh will come.” Psalm 65:2.
“So I said: “Woe is me, for I am [a]undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.” 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.” 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”9 And He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Isaiah 6.
“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.” Daniel 6:10.
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him...” John 17 read complete.
Peter sent to Cornelius:
“The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. 10 Then he became very hungry and
wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance 11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 13 And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” 15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has [f]cleansed you must not call common.” 16 This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again. 17 Now while Peter [g]wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate.” Acts 10.
Cornelius prayer experience connected with that of Peter:
“So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing…” Acts 10:30.
Paul to Titus: He talks to him in chapter 2:11 as if it were a prayer:
“ For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. 15 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.”
The experience of John in his prayer and revelation of the book of Revelation:
“I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, 11 saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” Revelation 1.
Prayer is recommended by the prophets, by the Lord and by the apostles:
“Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face evermore!” 1 Chronicles 16:11.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7.
“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41.
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18.
“Pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
The Moravian Ludwig von Zinzendorf, in the work “100 Years Prayer Movement” it tells of a revival movement from the Moravians, one of the prominent evangelical groups who flooded part of the world with missionaries, started a 24 hours prayer, where 12 men and 12 women would pray an hour each, for God to send missionaries to the world. The movement remained alive for a hundred years, with brothers and sisters in turns for that prayer not to cease. The results were large revivals with multitude of missionaries. What would happen today if the church did those types of things!
The Jewish Talmud shows the great devotion of the merciful Jews that don’t cease to dedicate time to God, to the Torah and to prayer. We see it in the Wailing Wall.
We conclude that, there are three types of prayer, to praise and worship God, because He is worthy of worship; to give thanks to God for so many things; and our favourite, due to the amount of time we dedicate to it, to ask God. Within these three types, we find that there are many ways, reasons and purposes that fulfil them, but it helps us when we pray, to follow this order of three types, so that every time it is not a prayer or emergency, in the prayer of the night “Arvit”, of the morning “Shajarit”, and of the afternoon “Minjá”, first we praise and worship god, then we give thanks to Him for all, and finally we ask Him, that long list of things, that He knows beforehand, but that He rejoiced with us who come to Him, in Jesus Christ – Yahshua, placing in Him all our trust, hope, and in good heart, because we know in Whom we have trusted, He who gave His life for us and who comes to take us to His Eternal Kingdom. Although the Jews pray three times, and this way Christians, the monks get to pray seven times a day. Does that mean that we must respect three, or seven? The apostle Paul concluded in his first letter to the Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
To close, the words of the Lord Jesus on the cross, and His intercessory prayer for his executioners, in Luke 23: “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” as reply to the repented thieve, crucified next to Him. And for his executers: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do. Into Your hands I commit My Spirit.”