Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Psalm 100:4
There are many types of prayer and we will cover some of them in this lesson. This will be an overview and not an indepth study.
In Genesis 18, Abraham talked (prayed) to God. He interceded and asked God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if he could find a certain number of righteous people. This was intercession, which is going to God on behalf of another person or situation. Intercessory prayer has a number of methods, all of which are the Holy Spirit working through the intercessor.
- First, it is the simple form mentioned above.
- Second, the intercessor will pray for a person or situation until the intercessor knows he or she is done.
- Third, it is a “work of prayer” that may take a long time, where the intercessor will be called upon to pray for the same person or situation whenever led by the Holy Spirit until the intercessor knows he or she is finished with the task.
We may not know exactly how to pray, but the Holy Spirit knows. We can rely on the Holy Spirit to lead us in prayer.
Seeking the Face of God
In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God tells His people what to do to be spared from judgment: “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Here are other examples of seeking God:
You will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29
Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face evermore! 1 Chronicles 16:11
In the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the LORD, and in the hearing of our God, be careful to seek out all the commandments of the LORD your God, that you may possess this good land, and leave it as an inheritance for your children after you forever.
1 Chronicles 28:8
[Azariah] went out to meet Asa, and said to him: “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.” 2 Chronicles 15:2
Seeking God should be a regular part of our Christian lives. We need to remain close to Him. He is our life and the strength of our lives (Psalm 27).
Here is an example of not seeking God: “[Rehoboam] did evil, because he did not prepare his heart to seek the LORD” (2 Chronicles 12:14).
Worship and Praise
2 Chronicles 20:12–22 tells the story of the prophet Jahaziel. The Spirit of the Lord told him to tell the people not to be afraid of the great multitude that was coming against them. It was the Lord’s battle and not theirs. When they began to sing and to praise, the Lord caused an ambush against their enemies. This is an exciting example of what God can do when we look to Him, worship Him, and praise Him!
[King Jehoshaphat said:] “O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” Now all Judah, with their little ones, their wives, and their children, stood before the LORD. Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you.” And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the LORD, worshiping the LORD. Then the Levites of the children of the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with voices loud and high. So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: “Praise the LORD, for His mercy endures forever.” Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.
Prayer of the Spirit
When we pray in the Spirit, the Holy Spirit takes over, praying through us according to God’s will. The following Scriptures mention this kind of prayer:
The Spirit … 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. Romans 8:26
You, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit
… Jude 20
Waiting in the Presence of God
I have found waiting in the presence of God to be a type of prayer that always brings
results. While I was attending Bible college, one of my teachers was an intercessor. During
one of his classes, he told us that the most powerful and greatest kind of prayer was
waiting in the presence of God on behalf of someone or some situation. He said he
didn’t know why it was so powerful, but his experience had proven it to be so. I listened and wondered.
I left class that day to drive to Mom Goodwin’s house. “Mama,” as I called her, was my spiritual mother. She was living in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, at the time. She had moved there after her husband went home to be with the Lord. She and her husband, Rev. J. R. Goodwin, were pastors for forty-eight years in the Assemblies of God church, were written about in many books. and ministers met with them for prayer and solid counsel. They knew about the moving of the Holy Spirit.
Mom had a ministry of intercession. She would have an experience, dream, or word of knowledge, then pray about it. In the next few days she would see what she prayed about on the news or in the lives of those they ministered to. She and J. R. were known for their counseling ministry to ministers.
Frequently, I went to her house to fix her hair, clean her house, cook a meal, or enjoy fellowship and prayer. We spent many hours together. My association with Mom Goodwin was a special blessing to my life. (I will use fictional names for my other friends in the story.)
I continued driving to Mom Goodwin’s house, and twice these thoughts came to mind: “Jennie and John can’t get out of the Middle East. If someone would wait in God’s presence on their behalf, God could get them out of the country.” Mind you, I didn’t know they couldn’t get out of Jordan. John was from Jordan. He and Jennie had married and gone to visit his family.
I pulled into the driveway, got out of the car, and walked up to the door where Mom Goodwin met me. Before I even stepped inside, she said these words: “Susan, I just got a call from Voralee [Jennie and I used to rent from her while in Bible school], and she got a letter from Jennie and they say they can’t get out of the Middle East.”
I said, “Mom, you won’t believe what just happened while driving over here.” I told her about the Bible teaching on prayer and about the thoughts that came to me on my way to her house.
“Honey, that sounds like God to me. You better do it.”
I was excited. That night I sat in the presence of God on their behalf. I had sought the Lord many times, but this time I just sat there feeling foolish and wondering, Should I read a Scripture? Do I do anything? I pretty much just sat there in the presence of God, remembering part of Brother Lawrence’s book The Practice of the Presence of God. But I didn’t feel anything.
In two days I got word that my friends had gained legal permission to leave the Middle East. While I know that others were praying too, I also know that God had moved when I waited in His presence. The proof that my impression from God while driving was true came in the result. This was really God’s Spirit speaking to me. Everything that God said would happen came to pass when I prayed as He directed me to pray.
The Next Year
Almost a year to the date, Jennie and John told me that John’s brother couldn’t get out of the Middle East. He wanted to come to the United States to go to school but had been turned down eleven times by Europe and the U.S.
The next morning I had a dream before waking: I felt an intense love in my heart. Then I heard myself speaking to John. “John, I will pray. God can get your brother out of the country.” I awoke with that. What will John think if I tell him that? What if that wasn’t the Lord? I thought about it for quite a while with mixed feelings of excitement, wonder, and concern. I knew that God could do this. The experience was mixed with a tremendous amount of love and the knowledge that God had done it for my friends a year earlier. I decided that I would be careful how I said it, but that I would go and tell them that night.
“John,” I began, “I’ll pray. God can get your brother out of the country.”
“Oh, thank you, Susie,” he said.
That was it! I went home and did it. I spent about an hour waiting in God’s presence. I also spent some time the next day, hoping to feel like I was done waiting in His presence for James’s need. In two days, permission was granted for my friend’s brother to come to the U.S.
Through this kind of prayer, God moves mountains, binds devils, overthrows the powers of darkness, sends His mighty heavenly armies, and subdues the enemy in the situation. I don’t know why it is so powerful. Maybe part of it is just spending time with Him. He is high and lifted up; I am a helpless one coming to Him.
When all hope seems gone and you don’t know what to do, wait in God’s presence on behalf of the situation.
Miracle in Spain
My son decided to take a trip to Spain with just his backpack to “live off the land.” I prayed all the way through his absence, and there were countless little miracles. Just before he came back to this country, some interesting things happened. Here is the condensed version.
Two mornings in a row I was awakened and felt led by the Holy Spirit to wait in God’s presence on my son’s behalf. Each of those days, I felt I should share specific things with my son. For instance, my son wanted God to show him that Jesus was God. He didn’t want to believe in Jesus just because he was raised in a Christian church; he wanted to know for himself that Jesus Christ is God.
I felt led to tell my son about an experience I had at about his age. It was a time when God caused deep feelings that clearly made me feel a certain direction was wrong. I had those intense feelings for almost a month. I couldn’t figure it out because I had never had anything like that happen before. I didn’t listen to the “don’t do it” feelings, and I ended up in a bad situation. I told my son that this was the first time
God had spoken to me that way and that I wished I had known it was God. I then told my son that I would trust his wisdom and asked him to be sensitive to his gut feelings.
The next morning I woke with the knowledge that I was to pray again. I felt like I should call my son. If I hadn’t called him at that moment, I wouldn’t have reached him. He was on a train headed toward France. He said, “Mom, I just wanted to tell you: It happened to me. I felt inside of me that I should come home. But I want to test it. Nothing like this has ever happened to me.”
I thought, Oh no. If God wants him home and he’s headed toward France, now what? I knew that he could be headed for trouble. Soon he was out of cell phone reach. I called a few of my prayer partners and asked them to pray, and then I went on to work.
The next morning I felt that I should try and call him one more time and that perhaps he was now in an area when he could be reached by cell phone.
God Speaks to My Son
Here is what had happened after my son had last talked to me.
He got off the train in France and found somewhere to sleep for the night. Waking, he had a feeling come over him that he couldn’t do this anymore, that he was drained, and that this was the end of his trying to live off the land in Europe. That was it! God spoke to my son even though he wasn’t sure it was God. He got on a flight that stopped in Madrid on its way to New York. When I called him, he was indeed in calling range (his cell phone was only for Spain).
“Mom, I’m so glad you called me. I was hoping you would. I’m getting on a plane for the United States right now. In fact, if you had waited a minute, we would be taking off and you couldn’t have gotten through to me.” My son got on the plane and was soon back at work in the States.
God’s Power Manifested in Loss
Another beautiful example of waiting in God’s presence took place in 2004.
It was four in the morning and my husband couldn’t sleep. I was also stirring. I am an early morning person anyway. This is when I usually spend time with the Lord. I went downstairs and was ready to start my devotions when the phone rang.
It was a friend of mine calling from Michigan. “Jimmy is on life support. He’s brain-dead and on a respirator. They’re going stop using the respirator at 11:00 this morning.”
I couldn’t believe it! This is a young man our prayer group had been praying for. His father said that he had been experiencing sleep apnea and that he just stopped breathing.
I told him that I had gotten up to pray and would pray for Jimmy. I made a couple of calls to prayer partners and began to wait in God’s presence.
Around six, I felt something in my heart that I couldn’t explain. I didn’t know what it meant, so I just remained before the Lord. I prayed a few different things as I waited, such as that God would send His angels to the hospital in Michigan, that He would pour out His Spirit, and that, if He could speak to Jimmy even in a coma, He would.
“Have mercy on him, Lord. Remember him as a child. I ask for Your kindness toward him. You are the only One who can help him. Please don’t let him die without being ready.”
Those are basically all the prayers I could think of.
At 8:10 AM, John 11:25–26 came to my mind. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” I didn’t know what God was saying to me. I thought I’d start some housework, but then I felt strongly that God wanted me to stay before Him for Jimmy.
Next, from 8:15 to 8:30 AM, the most wonderful thing I’ve ever experienced happened to me. God poured out His powerful, supernatural presence upon me. I was filled with gratitude and worship. I was praising Him with a supernatural awareness of His goodness, kindness, and compassion. How wonderful God was to Jimmy! God was almighty—He was great! Jesus had filled my being. I wept with joy in the Spirit. It was a greater experience than I have ever yet enjoyed.
I knew Jimmy was okay. It was only thirty minutes till they were going to remove the respirator. I decided I should stay before the Lord until that time. At 11:00 Michigan time, a tremendous, silent presence of God came over me. I felt like a child. I thought Jesus and His angels must be ready to take Jimmy.
He was. As the respirator was removed from Jimmy, his dad holding his hand, Jimmy left this life… and stepped into glory with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Spiritual warfare is something you will become more aware of as you dig deeper into the things of God. Until that happens to you, life’s obvious battles are what you will think require spiritual warfare. Let me tell you, it goes deeper than that.
I begin this section by making it clear that where spiritual warfare is concerned, there is no question in whom the victory lies. It lies in Jesus Christ, in His power, and in the power of God’s Word.
Unless God specifically leads you to address the devil, don’t. Keep your focus on God and on what He has called you to do.
Ask God to fight your spiritual battles in Jesus’s name and trust in His power.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers,
against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the
heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
In this life we aren’t playing games. There is a real battle going on. And God’s Word is a spiritual weapon. In the book of Ephesians, when Paul is teaching the Body of Christ about their armor, he says,
Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. Ephesians 6:17–18
Another biblical writer echoed Paul’s sentiments about the power of God’s Word as a weapon. “The Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Learn to Use the Sword
Learn to use the Word of God properly. The difference between improper application of the Word and its proper application is like the difference between children who play at sword fighting and a swordsman who, after much training, has developed his skill. The swordsman is a master at what he does. The muscles he uses have become developed and strong. He has become quick, and when he strikes with the sword, he hits his target forcefully.
It doesn’t come overnight, but after much training, we become master swordsmen with the Word of God! Jesus stood on Scripture when He faced temptation (Matthew 4). The very Word of God proceeded from His mouth.
The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. Remember this vital part of Scripture: “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18). Praying in the Spirit is a spiritual weapon.
There is power in the Word of God. It is spiritual food, and it is the sword of the Spirit. The enemy must flee in the name of Jesus, and God’s Word is a weapon. “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15).
One example of prayer using the Sword of the Spirit follows:
Father, Your Word says in Psalm 27 that You are the strength of my life. I thank You for it! You are no respecter of persons. Your Word says that You are able to do more than I can ask or even think. There is nothing too hard for You. You are the mighty God, limitless in power. Your Word will not return void! I praise You for what you are doing in my life.
Can you find the Scripture within the above prayer? There are seven mentioned in this prayer.
Jesus has already defeated Satan for you through His redemptive work of the cross. We make this a living reality through prayer and by the appropriation of God’s promises for our own lives (2 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Peter 5:9).
In the Workshop
What Is MY Part?
- Confess sin. Confess and receive forgiveness for sin.
- Give thanks and praise. Come into His presence with thanksgiving and enter His gates with praise.
- Take spiritual authority. Pray that the Father will bind, overthrow, and overturn the works of darkness that are moving in your life and in the lives of those you are praying for. Do this in Jesus’ name. Follow David’s example: Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonor who seek after my life; let those be turned back and brought to confusion who plot my hurt. Ps. 35:4. Be strong in battle! Even so, God shall make you fall before the enemy; for God has power to help and to overthrow. 2 Chron. 25:8. Ask God to send His armies to fight on the behalf of the person or situation you are praying for. Will this work? Yes, indeed!
- Petition and pray with supplication. Let your scriptural requests be made known to the Father in Jesus’ name.
- Rest upon specific promises. Find promises upon which you can rest your confidence.
- Thank Him, in faith. Thank God and praise Him for what He is doing according to His will. Stand and see the salvation of the Lord with you. What Is GOD’S Part?
He will hear you and answer your prayers.
IT’S ABOUT RELATIONSHIP
- He truly does inhabit the praises of His people.
- God is no respecter of persons. He loves you like anyone else. You can draw near to God. He will indeed draw near to you.
What’s the Point?
- Some people say you can have a conversation with God. Can I?
- What should I say to God?
- What kinds of prayers are there?
- Is one kind of prayer better than another?
- If God already knows everything, why should I tell Him anything?
- What do I do when I don’t know what to do?