By Patrick Hawthorne
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 2:1-4 NKJV)
“Arrrggg… Life is already so confusing and now you tell me there are four ways from Sunday to pray?” Prayers, prayers, and more prayers. How the heck am I to distinguish one prayer from another?”
If this is how you feel when reading the above verses, relax and take a deep breath. Learning the different types of prayer is relatively simple to remember. Let’s start with supplications.
- Supplications – Just remember the word supply. With supplications, we are asking – or petitioning – the Lord to meet a specific need; to supply the answer to the request. As my friend commonly says, “God is not the cosmic candy dispenser.” If you are asking for a Cadillac when the roads are not fit for a donkey, you might want to rethink your petition. George Muller, an 1800’s missionary, petitioned the Lord on a daily basis for food and financing to run his orphanages. This was an honorable request made with honorable intentions. Subsequently, his requests were met by God.
- Prayers – This is simply talking with our Heavenly Father. Yes, we are always to maintain an attitude of reverence and humbleness, but this type praying is more informal. It can be as simple as my morning salutations unto God. “Good morning Father, good morning Jesus, and good morning Holy Spirit. This is going to be an awesome day because You have made this day and I will rejoice and am glad in it.”
- Intercessions – This is a more formal type of prayer in which we obtain audience with the Lord on the behalf of another. Intercession is not complaining about the faults of another but asking God to move on behalf of the person. This may be a loved one who doesn’t know Jesus and you are asking the Lord to send laborers across their path. Or, it may be the leaders over your work, city, or nation.
- Thanksgiving – This is simply thanking the Lord. It is finding the good and not focusing on the bad. For example, instead of complaining about your job, thank the Lord that you have one. Having a heart of thanksgiving and finding the good things in life is the surest way to have a life of peace and joy
Paul was teaching Timothy a Godly principle. If you incorporate these four types of prayers into your daily life, beginning with those who are in authority over you, you can guarantee that your life will be filled with God’s peace and His joy. Why? It’s because your focus will be on what is pleasing to God versus what is negatively impacting you. “And the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your hearts and your mind through Christ Jesus (Phil 4:7) Be blessed.