I have been reading Charles Krafts excellent book, I Give You Authority. In chapter two he describes six types of prayer. Most Christians will be familiar with, and probably exercise, the first four which are described below.
When we are speaking to God, we usually call what we are doing prayer. Jesus believed in prayer and practiced it frequently. But prayer, at least in the usual sense of the word, was not His central activity when He washealing people or delivering them from demons.
There are at least six kinds of activity we may call prayer. The mostcommon of these, the one we usually think of first, is what I will call asking prayer. In this kind of prayer, we ask for what we would like or need, as Jesus has invited us to do. As He said in John 16:24: “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your happiness may be complete.”
Another familiar kind of praying is confession praying. We are told that “if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will for- give us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing” (1John 1:9). So we pray to confess and receive forgiveness.
A third kind of prayer that may be performed as either prayer or worship is thanksgiving prayer, in which we express our gratitude to God without requesting any- thing from Him.
Then there is intercession, an intense kind of praying in which we lay hold of God concerning something we feel especially troubled about. Some with the gift of intercession agonize over a given situation, much like a woman going through labor to bring a child into the world.
For years I have taught students to pray along these lines using the ACTS acrostic:
A – adoration
C – confession
T – thanksgiving
S – supplication (intercession)
I think these are fundamental to any disciples life, love of God, and worship in prayer. If you don’t already try to discipline your prayer life so that it includes some time spent in each activity. Using a journal of some kind can help in this discipline as it keeps track of who you pray for, what you ask, your own prayers of adoration and confession of sin and failings.
Tomorrow I shall post more from Krafts book looking at two further areas of prayer.