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The Nature of Prayer:

Worship and Service to God


The Types and Role of Prayer as Worship

(1) Confession of sin.

We can immediately see how confession is a form of worship or reverential fear in that it is a response to the holiness of God.

  • It acknowledges not only that God is holy, but that unconfessed sin forms a barrier to fellowship and hinders God's answer to prayer.
  • Obviously, if our prayer is to be effective, sin must be dealt with. Prayer, to be effective, needs to begin with confession where we acknowledge sin to the Lord (cf. Isa. 59:1-3; Psa. 66:18).
Isaiah 59:1-2

Behold, the Lord's hand is not so short That it cannot save; Neither is His ear so dull That it cannot hear. 2 But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear.

Psalm 32:5

I acknowledged my sin to Thee, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"; And Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin. Selah.

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

(2) Praise.

Hebrews 13:15

Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.

(3) Thanksgiving.

Ephesians 5:20

always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;

(4) Intercession.

Praying for others in specific requests in service to God as a ministry of the priesthood He has given us.

Hebrews 13:18

Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things.

1 Peter 2:5,9

you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. ... 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

Romans 10:1

Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.

(5) Petition.

Prayer for our own needs in acknowledgment of our inadequacy and His sufficiency.

Philippians 4:6

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

The Divine Order of Prayer

(1) We pray to the Father-our PROVIDER.

John 16:23-26

And in that day you will ask Me no question. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you shall ask the Father for anything, He will give it to you in My name. 24 Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full. 25 These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will speak no more to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request the Father on your behalf;

James 1:17

Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.

Ephesians 1:17

that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.

(2) We pray in the name of the Son-our ACCESS.

(Cf. also John 16:23-26 above.)

Ephesians 2:18

for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.

(3) We pray in the power of the Holy Spirit-our MEANS.

Jude 20

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith; praying in the Holy Spirit;

Categories of Prayer

Understanding that the Christian life is a spiritual warfare, the following, based upon praying according to military objectives, is suggested.

(1) Strategic-long-range goals.

Colossians 1:9-12

For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

Matthew 9:37

Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few."

(2) Tactical-immediate goals and needs.

Colossians 4:2-4

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; 3 praying at the same time for us as well, that God may open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; 4 in order that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.

Ephesians 6:19

and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,

(3) Logistic-physical and support needs

(cf. also Jam. 5:13-20).

Acts 12:5

So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.

Acts 13:3

Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

Philippians 1:19

For I know that this shall turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

  • It has been my observation that most people and most prayer meetings focus primarily on logistical needs, particularly as they relate to illnesses.
  • Our prayers often lack in vision for the great strategic and tactical objectives for which the Lord has left us here on earth.
  • In fact, when we pray for the logistical needs of food, clothing, jobs, health, etc., what is our motivation?
  • Is it primarily our comfort and pleasure?
  • Or is it for the provision of God so we can fulfill His purposes for the body of Christ in the Great Commission-evangelism and building people in Christ for ministry?
  • The prayer life of the believer ought to revolve around:

    1. who we are-ambassadors of Christ,
    2. where we are-on temporary assignment in the world, and
    3. why we are here-to represent the Lord Jesus to a dying world.

Times of Prayer

(1) Private


Psalm 5:3

In the morning, O LORD, Thou wilt hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch.

Psalm 88:13

But I, O LORD, have cried out to Thee for help, And in the morning my prayer comes before Thee.

Psalm 119:147

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Thy words.

Matthew 6:6

But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.


Nehemiah 2:1-4

And it came about in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, that wine was before him, and I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. 2 So the king said to me, "Why is your face sad though you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of heart." Then I was very much afraid. 3 And I said to the king, "Let the king live forever. Why should my face not be sad when the city, the place of my fathers' tombs, lies desolate and its gates have been consumed by fire?" 4 Then the king said to me, "What would you request?" So I prayed to the God of heaven.

Psalm 56:3

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee.

1 Thessalonians 5:17

pray without ceasing;

(2) Family

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Ephesians 6:4

And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

(3) Team

Acts 12:5

So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.

Acts 16:25

But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them;

(4) Public

1 Timothy 2:8

Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.

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