Prayer – what is prayer?
I love the definition in “My Orthodox Prayer Book”
Prayer is doxology, praise, thanksgiving, confession, supplication and intercession to God. “When I prayed I was new,” wrote a great theologian of Christian antiquity, “but when I stopped praying I became old.” Prayer is the way to renewal and spiritual life. Prayer is aliveness to God. Prayer is strength, refreshment, and joy. Through the grace of God and our disciplined efforts prayer lifts us up from our isolation to a conscious, loving communion with God in which everything is experienced in a new light. Prayer becomes a personal dialogue with God, a spiritual breathing of the soul, a foretaste of the bliss of God’s kingdom.
In short prayer is not just asking and receiving from God it is life with God, intricate, deep, living, a thing not only to enjoyed – but also understood.
There are all kinds of prayer in the Bible, but for our purpose today I would like to leave you with 7 of them from the book of James chapter 5:
1. The Prayer of Praise. Verse 13… “you should sing praises” Somebody once said, “praise is the plow that prepares the heart for the planting of the promises of God.” In Acts 16:18-30, Paul and Silas experienced its power when they decided to life up a praise in their midnight hour of chains and pain.
2 The Prayer of Authority. Verse 14… “You should call for the elders in the church to prayer over you.” Somebody once said that “God gives authority to those who think the way He thinks and wants what He wants.” Luke 10:19 tells us that God has given us authority over all the power of the enemy.
3. The Anointing Prayer. Verse 14… “Anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord.” There is a balm in Gilead (Jeremiah 8:22) to heal the sick, an anointing that breaks the yoke of oppression. See Mark 6:13
4. The Prayer of faith. Verse 15… “Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick.” Someone said that “faith begins when the will of God is known.” Both Hebrews 10:1, 6 and Romans 10:17 speak about the role faith plays in pleasing God and receiving from Him.
5. The Prayer of Confession. Verse 16… “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” It is also said that “open confession is good for the soul.” Psalm 32:5-7
6. The Prayer of Labor. Verse 16… “The fervent prayer.” Thomas B. Brooks once said that “the best prayers often have more groans than words.” 2 Corinthians 11:27; Isaiah 66:7, 8.
7. The Prayer of the Righteous. Verse 16… “The prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” A. B. Simpson once said, “if we walk in righteousness He (Jesus) will carry us through.” Zachariah 12:10; Romans 8:26, 27.
He who finds prayer finds a very good thing – a foretaste of the bliss of God’s kingdom.