Types of Prayer by Philip John

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Another sermon from my father-in-law Philip John, at Ashraya Church in South India.

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Types of Prayer

  • Adoration
  • Petition
  • Intercession
  • Supplication
  • Confession

The Lord’s Prayer
Read Matt. 6:5-15

For sheer power and majesty no prayer can equal the “Our Father”. This prayer is really a total prayer. It spans everything – from the coming of God’s kingdom on earth to our daily bread! In other words all the issues that we face in life plus more.

The “Our Father” prayer is really like a sandwich. It starts off with Adoration and ends with Adoration. Petition, Intercession and Confession, is the filling inside.

These come under 3 categories – summed up as:

1. Give us
2. Forgive us
3. Deliver us.

GIVE US
Should we be astonished at the petition for daily bread? If it had come from anyone other than Jesus we would have dismissed it as trivial and smacking of materialism. But the Lord wants you to ask – with childlike expectation – give me my daily bread (all that I need …(motive need not be lofty all the time)!

FORGIVE US
Isn’t it interesting that give us precedes forgive us? Jesus feels compelled to explain this (Matt.6:14-15). At first glance it looks as if it is a conditional response – Unless you forgive others I will not forgive you!
But if you look at the heart of the matter you will see that Jesus was confirming a Biblical principle of sowing and reaping. We are forgiven as we forgive. As we sow forgiveness we will reap forgiveness. The parable of the unmerciful servant is to be our model. God cancelled a much bigger debt when he forgave us. No offense towards us is as big as that.

We are retaliatory by nature. But what would happen if we forgave, when someone offended us? This is a spiritual law – forgiveness breaks the law of retribution.

What is forgiveness? First let us define what it is not.

  1. Forgiveness does not mean that we stop feeling hurt. If the wounds are deep we will hurt for a long time. However, just because we suffer emotional pain does not mean we have failed to forgive.
  2. Forgiveness does not mean that we will forget but in forgiving we no longer use the memory of the offense against other.
  3. Forgiveness is not pretending that the offense did not really matter. The hurt is real but when we forgive, the offense no longer controls our behavior.
  4. Forgiveness is not behaving as if the relationship is the same as before we were hurt. We must face up to the fact that our relationship may never be the same. It could be better or worse.

What then is forgiveness?

It is the miracle of grace whereby the offense no longer separates the offender from the offended. If a husband ignores his wife, putting his work and all other things above her, he has sinned against her. The offense is real. A sacred trust has been broken. She will never forget this violation of respect. But forgiveness means that this real and horrible offense shall not separate us. Forgiveness means that the power of love that holds us together is greater the power of offense that separates us.

In forgiving we release the offender to receive God’s grace. We also invite our offenders back into fellowship. Having nothing to do with the offender is not forgiveness!

DELIVER US
The third petition has negative and positive components to it. Lead us not into temptation (negative). Deliver us from evil (positive).

The first part of the petition is quite disturbing. How can God tempt us or lead us into temptation? The Greek word temptato itself means ‘trials’ or ‘trying circumstances’ and the only time God tries us is when there is something in our heart that needs to be revealed – a wrong motive, lust, love of money etc. In the Lord’s Prayer we are asking God to help us to make the right choices so that he will not have to put us through those tests.

“Deliver us from the Evil One’ is crystal clear. Not so long ago the traditional church underplayed this aspect. They would acknowledge that there was evil in the world in a generic sense. But they were skeptical of the of the evil one, namely Satan and his band of fallen angels influencing much of the thinking of the world. Anywhere you look there is a crisis of leadership and good governance. This is why we need to pray the prayer of deliverance daily.

INTERCESSION
Intercessory prayer is the priestly ministry of all Believers. People today desperately need all the prayer help we can give them. Marriages are being shattered. Children are being destroyed. Individuals are living lives of desperation – without purpose or future. As priests appointed by God we have the honor of going before Him on behalf of others. It is both an obligation and privilege.

There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (I Timothy 2:5). He cleanses our feeble, misguided intercessions and makes them acceptable to a holy God. (Romans 8:34)

SUPPLICATION
This is a declaration that we are deadly serious about what we are praying for. We are going to keep at it and not give up. We live at a time where commitment is a problem. Where do we find this kind of staying power today? But without it there can be no real effectiveness in intercessory prayer. Do I show this patient determination in my prayers for other people?

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds.
Luke 11: 9-10

Simple Prayer

Come as you are!

C.S. Lewis – “lay before Him what is in us not what ought to be in us.”
David – restored
Peter – restored

Pray the ordinary things of life!

Madam Guyon – This way of prayer is suited for everyone; this prayer that begins so simply has as its end a totally abandoned love to the Lord.

Amen
2007-05-20

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