Prayer is often defined as “speaking with God.” This is a simplistic definition, but it is also accurate. When we pray, we are communicating with our Heavenly Father. Prayer is also two way communication. When we speak to God, he speaks to us. We may not hear God in an audible voice, but God will speak to us through his word and also through his Spirit. It is important to understand that not all prayer is the same.
There are different types of prayer, and we must comprehend that all prayers are not prayed in the same way. We pray all prayer with faith, but not all prayer is the prayer of faith. In this article we will look at seven different types of prayer: the prayer of agreement, the prayer of dedication, the prayer of praise, the prophetic prayer, the prayer of intercession, the prayer of supplication, and the prayer of faith..
The prayer of agreement involves praying with other believers concerning a common goal or objective. It is important that all those praying are actually praying the same thing. There is great power released when Christians come together in unity and stand on God’s word. “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:19).
It is common, especially when praying for healing, for believers to be praying for slightly different goals. One believer may be praying for peace through the sickness. Another believer is praying for God to heal them. Another believer may be praying for understanding of a lesson that God may be trying to teach the sick Christian. This is not the prayer of agreement.
When praying the prayer of agreement, the prayer objective should be announced to the entire prayer group. This way everyone is praying towards the same goal.
Jesus gave us a perfect example of the next prayer type, the prayer of dedication. “And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:41-42). The prayer of dedication commit’s a concern to God. This type of prayer is prayed when you really do not have a clear understanding of a situation, so you turn it over to God.
Many Christians have a problem with this type of prayer because they do not understand that this is not “the prayer of faith.” The prayer of dedication, as with all prayer, is prayed in faith, but it does not claim a particular promise. The next prayer type concerns thanking God.
Sometimes we just want to thank God and tell him how great he is. We are not asking for anything, we are simply speaking with God in a spirit of thanksgiving. This is called the prayer of praise. Mary, the mother of Jesus, gives us an excellent example of this type of prayer in Luke 1: 46-55:
And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
Mary’s prayer, Luke 1:46-55, is a prayer of praise, but it is also a prophetic prayer. This type of prayer is not common for all Christians. When this happens, God is speaking through you, and your words have a prophetic anointing. This type of prayer is usually proclaiming God’s word, forth telling, but it can also include proclaiming events that have not yet occurred, foretelling.
The next type of prayer is called the prayer of intercession. As a church planter, the Apostle Paul frequently prayed these types of prayers. Ephesians 1:15-18 speaks of Paul’s intercession for the Ephesians:
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
The prayer of intercession occurs when a prayer is offered on behalf of another Christian or group of Christians. But, it can also be prayed on the behalf of an unbeliever. The person may or may not be aware that you are praying for them. The spiritual attitude is one of mercy; you are coming to God on behalf of another, and you are pleading their case before God.
The next type of prayer, the prayer of supplication, is simply asking for God’s help. This prayer usually precedes the prayer of faith. With this prayer, you come to God with a request that you have not yet received a spiritual confirmation on. You are presenting a concern, along with God’s word, to God, and you are waiting on God to respond. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7).
The last type of prayer that we will look at is the prayer of faith. This prayer is usually prayed after you have prayed the prayer of supplication, and God has given you an answer. When God confirms, through his word and through the Holy Spirit, that your request has been granted, you then begin to confess his promise into physical existence.
With the prayer of faith, you never pray, “If it be thy will.” God has already told you that it is his will, and your request has been granted. If you pray with uncertainty, you are not praying the prayer of faith.
It is important to note that you can make confessions while praying, but confessions do not have to be prayers. When you confess, you are saying what God’s word says. Or, you are speaking to your mountain, Mark 11:22-24, and telling it what to do. While prayer is speaking with God, confession is you speaking to a problem with God’s power and authority. Confession is usually preceded by prayer, especially the prayer of faith. And, confessions sometimes do more to manifest your blessings than prayer.
Understanding the different types of prayer will help your prayer life to be very effective. As always, ask for God’s wisdom when ever you commune with him in prayer. Pray all prayers in faith, but understand that all prayers are not the prayer of faith.