Prayer is a two way dialogue or communication between man and God. It is an act of communion with God. It includes: praise, worship, thanksgiving, devotion, petition and confession.
We use praise to applause, compliment, give homage to or express approval of something God has done in general or for us personally. We can even praise God with faith, in advance, for something we are expecting him to do. Praising God also breaks the yokes of any burdens we may have on us. Isaiah 61:3 says God has given us “a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” After having been thrown into prison, Acts 16:25-26 says “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.” When we praise, God inhabits the praises of his people and give them freedom and liberty from any type of suppression, oppression or depression they may have.
Worship is used to adorn, honor or reverence God. Before one would come before the king to make a request, they would first have to entertain him. In the same way, we come before God first with our worship, basically reminding him of who he is. In Matthew 6:9 Jesus shows us how to come before God: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…” God is our Father. He is the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He is Alpha and Omega, beginning and end. Author and finisher of our faith. God is Jehovah Jireh our provider, Jehovah Rophe our healer, Jehovah Mephalti our deliverer, etc. He is holy, he is good, he is just, he is wondrous, he magnificent, gracious and glorious. He the great I AM. He is everything. When we worship God, we reverence him for being these things. In worship, we are to also reverence God with our lifestyle. Romans 12:1 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service [this is your true and proper worship].”
When we pray to God we also use thanksgiving. We thank him for the food that we eat, the clothes on our back and the roof over our head. We thank him for our health, or success in the things we do as well as for always being there for us. We thank God for the transformation he is birthing in us. We thank God for his son, Jesus, who died for our sins so that we could have life.
The same goes for devotion, confession and petition. When we pray to God, we get intimate with him and ask him for not only material things that we may be in need of (because he already knows what we are in need of), but spiritual things as well. We ask Him, like in Psalm 139, “Search me, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the ways of everlasting.” When we confess our sins to God, we are telling him all the wrong that we have done and petition him for forgiveness. When we pray in the Spirit, or pray in tongues, which is praying in the perfect will of God, we can be confident that he hears us and like 1 John 5:14-15 says, he is faithful and just to give us what we ask for. Ephesians 6:18 says we are to pray in the Spirit “on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all of the Lord’s people.” Praying for the Lord’s people means to intercede or petition God on their behalf. This can be done privately or openly, individually or cooperatively. If they have sinned, if they are sick, if they are in need of a blessing, pray for them. James 5:16 says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much [they are powerful and effective].” We are also to pray for sinners, those who do not have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, that God may save them.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 commands us to “pray without ceasing.” There is always something to pray about or for. When was the last time that you’ve prayed?