THE POWER AND PROTOCOL OF PRAYER
Parts Seven & Eight –
The Different Kinds of Prayer & Supplication
Now we are continuing our look at the “The Power and Protocol of Prayer” where we are learning not just about prayer itself, but specifically how to unlock the power and potential that is in it. You see, we all believe that there is power in prayer, but not everyone sees that potential in their own lives. So, why is that? Well, what we have been learning is that the power of prayer is found in the protocol of prayer—that is, in the official procedure or principles that govern prayer, given to us by God.
So, we have learned what prayer is, what prayer is not, and how to pray. We have also learned the importance of praying the will of God and the spirit by which our prayers need to be prayed. We have also learned that incorporating things like thanksgiving & rejoicing are the appropriate seasoning for our prayers.
And, most recently, we learned that another virtue that we need to bring into our prayer lives is perseverance. We found that things like patience, persistence, and perseverance are critical to our prayer lives because as it is with everything in our Christian lives, it’s not how we start; it’s how we finish.
Church, perseverance is just so vital to the Christian life and something we see emphasized time and time again throughout the New Testament. I mentioned how things like patience and endurance are what the early church craved for—because they knew that if they could stand through the persecution, they would always be victorious. Likewise, we have need of endurance so that after we’ve prayed the will of God, we can receive the promise of answered prayer (See Hebrews 10:36). Yes, I am convinced that if we can have the virtue of patience working in our prayer life then we will see the answers to our prayers every single time. The reason why we sometimes fail to see the manifestation of those answered prayers is because we either grow weary or we simply let the emotions wear off. When this happens, we tend to let go of our faith and stop seeking the answers like we did in the beginning. So, like many see “patience” as one of their greatest weaknesses, I see patience as one of the biggest weaknesses in our prayer lives too.
I understand that we live in a microwave society where we want everything, and we want it now, but I also know that God is not in the business of “drive-thru breakthroughs!” He is called the “God of Patience.” Therefore, He is obviously not in a hurry! So likewise, we need to develop the fruit of patience and not be in such a hurry to see the answers to our prayers!
In fact, we saw that just as it takes the seed of a man and the egg of a woman to conceive a child, it takes both faith and patience to inherit the promises (See Hebrews 6:12). And we learned from James chapter one, how patience works in us to make that conception have its perfect work so that the baby will be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. So, while we there is the excitement of faith when we find out that we are “expecting,” the patience is there to carry us all the way to full term. Amen?
So, this is why these virtues like patience & perseverance are so needful in our prayer lives: It is because, more often than not, there will be a process of time from the time we pray and the time we receive the answers, and we will need these power p-words to bring the answers to our prayers to pass.
Jesus taught us the power of persistence in our prayer lives, and He called this “knocking and keep on knocking” kind of prayer, faith. But He made sure to illustrate to us that it’s not because God is unwilling to give us what we desire, but that there are reasons in both the spiritual and physical world that require perseverance on our part to press through for the answers.
Yes, God is willing to answer our prayers! He wants to meet our needs! So, seeing Him as that good and gracious Heavenly Father is one of the keys to removing the hindrances that keep us from receiving from Him.
So, we do need to understand that the reason we are persistent is not because God is unwilling to give us what we are asking for and that we have annoy Him into doing it. The reason we need to be persistent is because it is a form of faith in God. It is a confidence and reliance upon God’s ability and willingness. And when we operate in faith, we will see results! There is also something that happens in us when we wait on the answer. We develop character. We develop patience. We develop faith. These are all things that need to take place in us, and God wants to make sure we trust Him.
THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF PRAYERS AND SUPPLICATIONS
So, let’s pick back up where we left off in Ephesians 6:18, which I made the point, is a verse that generally does not get the attention that it deserves.
You see, this verse is a continuation of the apostle Paul’s brilliant exposition of spiritual warfare and the whole armor of God. So, after specifically describing our spiritual armor in verses 14-17, he moves right into this verse. This teaches us that prayer is evidently a spiritual weapon! Yes, it is one of the weapons of our warfare that is mighty through God for the pulling down of strongholds, etc.! Amen!
Now let’s continue looking at this verse that is chock-full of some awesome prayer principles: In it, Paul says, “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”
Now we covered the part of this verse that refers to the watchful and persevering part of our prayer life last time. So, now that we have seen the attitude in which our prayers are to be prayed, let’s now look at how Paul described these prayers. Again, Paul said, “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit …” I feel that the wording of this particular translation can leave us a little confused. Let’s look at this phrase in more detail …
First of all, when Paul said, “with all prayer and supplication” he was actually saying “through every kind of prayer and supplication.” What this shows us that there are both various kinds of prayer and various kinds of supplications.
Now as we have seen already in this series, there is a difference between “prayer” and “supplication.” Supplications are petitions & requests, and prayer is more on the relationship side of our conversations with God. So, the different kinds of prayer might be the prayer of thanksgiving, praise, & worship, the prayer of meditation & the prayer of tongues. The different kinds of supplications might be (I will just call them “the prayer of …” for the sake of changing terminology) the prayer of faith, the prayer of petition, the prayer of agreement, the prayer of consecration, & the prayer of intercession.
A PRAYER FOR EVERY SEASON
Now before we begin looking at these specific kinds of prayer, let’s look back at the words “praying always” at the beginning of this verse: The word “always” is a translation of three Greek words— en kairos pas. The word en means “in or in the sphere of” and the word pas means “every or all.” Now the word kairos is the interesting part of this phrase: This word describes “an opportune, seasonable, or appointed time.” So, the literal translation of “always” could be “in all seasons” or “in every appropriate time.” This shows us that these different kinds of prayers and supplications are to be used “in specific instances”—meaning, there are specific and appropriate times for every different kind of prayer and every different kind of supplication.
Let me give you some examples— The specific kind of prayer the Bible calls “the prayer of faith” would not be appropriate when praying for the salvation of someone. Why? Because we cannot pray once and believe we receive their salvation when their will is involved. What would be called the prayer of intercession is what would be most appropriate when praying for the lost because when free will is involved continuous, repetitive prayers are necessary. The prayer of faith would be more appropriate when praying for things that God has already both promised you and I and accomplished through Jesus like healing, financial provision, and protection.
Another example might be using the prayer of other tongues when praying for someone else’s financial need. That wouldn’t be the right kind of prayer because the Word teaches us that the prayer of other tongues is for our own self-edification. So, what would be the most appropriate form of prayer or supplication for asking the Lord to meet someone’s financial need. Well, there are a couple—one being “the prayer of petition” because you are asking the Lord to meet that need in their life. You might use “the prayer of agreement” as the two of you talk about the need, you ask the Lord together, and then agree concerning the thing you’ve asked.
So, as you can see, it is important for us to understand the many different kinds of prayers & supplication so that we can use the right prayer in the right situation.
Now this beginning of the verse is not translated according to the proper sentence structure of the original Greek. It actually says, “through all manners of prayer and supplication, praying in every appropriate time in the Spirit …” The Amplified Bible translates this verse— “Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty …” This is important because it will help us to understand what Paul was saying better.
PRAYING IN THE SPIRIT
Notice that in the original Greek language, the three words “in the Spirit” follow “praying always.” So, this shows us how we can effectively pray with the specific kind of prayer in the specific and appropriate times. We don’t have to know what kind of prayer to use every time. All we need to do is pray “in the Spirit.”
Now this is not just praying in other tongues, although it can include that. Praying in the Spirit is simply prayer that is prompted, inspired, and empowered by the Spirit of God on the inside of us. This is the Holy Spirit helping us in our prayers as Paul described in Romans 8:26 when he said, “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 which cannot be uttered.”
Church, when we pray under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, He will lead us to pray the way we need to pray in every situation. For example, say we have an hour allotted for prayer each day: Sometimes He might lead us to pray in other tongues for the entire hour, and sometimes He might lead us into 15 minutes of intercession and another 45 minutes of worship. Then another time, we might lead us back and forth between thanksgiving & praise and intercession for various needs. My point is, when we pray “in the Spirit,” it can vary and is not going to necessarily be consistent.
I believe the New Living Translation brings out the true meaning of the words “in the Spirit.” It translates this verse— “Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit …”
Saints, it is so important that we learn how to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit in our prayer lives! If we pray in ourselves, then we are limited to what we know but when we pray in Him then we will find a much more enjoyable flow. I would liken praying in the Spirit (as opposed to praying in our own abilities) to like going down a river in a boat as opposed to swimming down a river. It is like riding an escalator rather than climbing up and down stairs. It is so much easier and certainly more effective. Amen?
So, the question that should come up then is— “How do we pray in the Spirit?” There are a couple of ways that I believe we can tap into that flow of the Holy Ghost …
First of all, as we have been learning, we need to obey the law of prayer’s proper protocol and enter into His gates with thanksgiving and walking through His courts with praise. It is then from there that we will be in the Holy of holies where the presence of the Holy Ghost resides! This is when we will be in better position to be led by the Spirit because thanksgiving, praise, and worship (if it is done right) will always put us on the frequency of the Spirit. This is what the apostle Paul taught us in Ephesians 5:18-19 when he said that being continuously filled with the Spirit comes through speaking to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.
So, thanksgiving, praise, and worship put us on His frequency, but I’ve also learned that another practical way to get into the Spirit in my prayer times is to pray in other tongues. As we have learned, praying in other tongues builds us up! It charges our battery! And when we get charged and built up, we begin to operate more out of the inner man (the place where the Holy Spirit resides) than the outer man (where our intellect and our own strength resides). Sometimes it might take just 5 minutes and sometimes it might take an hour, but praying in other tongues will eventually transfer us from the flesh realm to the spirit realm. Amen.
THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF PRAYER
So, now that we’ve learned that there is an appropriate time for different types of prayer and that the Holy Spirit is here to inspire and empower us to pray the right prayer in those times, let’s begin looking at these different kinds of prayer and supplication Paul referred to …
Let’s begin with the various kinds of prayer:
THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF SUPPLICATION
But as we’ve made the point of throughout this series, there is a difference between prayers and supplications. Yes, we’ve learned that the term “supplication” describes more of the request side of our communication with God and, therefore, prayer is not just our petitions.
In fact, when you look up the Greek word that Paul used for “supplications” (Greek deesis), you will see that it always referred to asking God for things and presenting petitions to Him. It is defined as “to ask for humbly or earnestly; a humble petition; an earnest request; an entreaty.”
Let me give you an example where this word for “supplication” was used, but not translated that way--James 5:16.
At the end of verse 16, James gives us a tremendous promise concerning prayer. He says, “The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” The words “effective fervent” are the translation of the one Greek word energeo. This describes a prayer that is continuously active and energetic (This word is where we get our English word “energy” from). In other words, it is a prayer that does not lose its passion and zeal. But rather, it is a prayer that remains full of energy and power after time.
Now the word that is translated “prayer” in this verse is that word for “supplication”—the Greek word deesis. So, this is a poor translation, and since the word deesis describes the requests and petitions in our prayer times, James is talking about fervent, continual supplications being lifted up to God. And just by the context of this verse, we can see that is exactly what James is referring to because he goes right into talking about Elijah and how he prayed earnestly for the rain to both stop and start. This is our biblical example of the power in supplication!
So, what we see in Ephesians 6:18 is that there are not just different kinds of prayers, there are also different kinds of supplications. This means that there are also different kinds of ways in which we petition the Lord. Yes, there is not just one way to present our requests to Him; there are several ways. And that’s what I want us to look at this week—the different kinds of supplications …
Church, there are obviously different kinds of prayers and different kinds of supplications, and we need to understand what these are. But as I said, what is of the utmost importance is that we pray in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit because He will lead us into the right kind of praying for every occasion if we just let Him guide us.
So, lets study to show ourselves approved by searching the Scriptures to learn more about the various kinds of prayers and supplications and combine that with us walking in the communion of the Holy Spirit. If we do this, I can assure you that our prayers will be prayed in the right protocol and we will see great fruit as a result.