Kinds of Prayer

"In this manner...."

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There are many kinds of prayers. Some are short prayers like Peter's when he cried out for Jesus to save him as he was sinking under the waves (Matt. 14:30). Some are long prayers such as we find when Solomon dedicated his temple (2 Chron. 6:13-42). Some prayers were unspoken, for Jesus seemed to respond to the unspoken requests of people who seemed to be overcome by a evil great power ruling in their lives (Matt. 9:20, Mark 5:1-5).

In all cases, individuals were reaching out to God. Sometimes they were reveling in His presence—praising and remembering all the good things God does on behalf of His children (Ps. 34). In other cases they were reaching out to God on behalf of another person—interceding for them (Heb. 5:7). Sometimes the prayers were the outgrowth of spiritual burdens which God placed on people, and for which they fervently prayed—reviving prayers (such as Paul offered for the church in Ephesians 3 14-21). In some cases these prayers were about specific requests (Judges 18:5).

God has an easier time answering some prayers more than others, for some are dependent on conditions over which the person praying has complete personal control and can therefore pray in such a way to obtain answers, while other prayers involve third parties over whom there is no control and little influence. God wants to answer all these prayers, but some will require more persistence than others. But we must not be dissuaded for even great Christians like George Müller felt it necessary to pray for more than 52 years for some of the people on his prayer list.

In learning about prayer, it is helpful to evaluate the outcomes of our prayers to determine to what degree God is able to respond. Because prayers having to do with third parties can take so much time, it is easiest to evaluate how things are going based on prayers about specific requests. If these requests are not being answered, and we have complete control over them, then we need to be asking God why they are not being answered.

And remember, answers can be "yes," "no," or "wait." Any parent will agree that a "no" answer" is as much an answer as a "yes" answer. Sadly, when it comes to God, we often refuse the "no" answer when we would gladly have our children accept a "no" answer as a complete answer, and when it is vitally important that they accept the "no" answer for their own good. Someone stated that some day in heaven we will find that the "no" answers were often our greatest blessings.

You will learn more about the various kinds of prayer in the links that follow. Then study further to learn how to obtain answers to your prayers!

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