The Specific Elements of Prayer

I Thessalonians 5:17--"Pray without ceasing."

You can approach the Father's throne. You can participate in life-changing acts of mercy and healing. You can change your own life with prayer. You can influence your own family and associates by praying. You can participate in the healing of your land by consistent, persistent prayer. 2 Chronicles 7:14--"If my people will humble themselves and pray, I will heal their land."

In this lesson we are going to talk about some of the specific elements of prayer:

The First Element Is Confession

John 1:9---"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins."

James 5:16--"Confess your sins one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteou man availeth much."

There is power in confession. Confession initiates a relationship with our Lord. Continual confession leads to growing intimacy with the Most High God. It is through confession that we cleanse our temples, our beings, our minds, our souls, and our spirits of sin and uncleanness.

The power of this first element of prayer is the honest speaking out to God in the first person; the admitting to God of who you are; the admission of your personal need for Him, your need of His love, your need of His cleansing and forgiveness. It's important to be open and transparent with God, to hold nothing back from Him, to be totally sincere.

The Second Element Is Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving reveals a deep appreciation of God.

Psalm 107:1--"O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever."

Give thanks not only for what He has done, but thank Him for what He is doing in your life, even if you don't see it. The Bible says that we are not to go by what we see, hear, or feel, but we are to go by the Word of God. We are to thank Him in advance for what He will do in the future.

In today's America most people live better than kings lived two thousand years ago. The majority of Americans drive a car of some kind. None of these advantages was available to even the richest of men during Jesus' day. Yet many Americans are afflicted with the sin of ingratitude. Today's people often have more and appreciate it less than any other generation in the history of mankind. As a general rule they are a thankless, grumbling lot.

Smith Wigglesworth, an evangelist in the early 1900s, told of an incident that occurred while he was in Sydney, Australia. One Sunday afternoon as he was eating dinner by himself in a very large restaurant, he noticed that nobody was praying over his food. So when Mr. Wigglesworth's food was delivered, he tapped his knife on his glass. When he got the people's attention, and everyone stopped eating, he stood up and spoke--"Pardon me, ladies and gentlemen", he began, "but I noticed that none of you as far as I could see have prayed and thanked God for your food. So if you don't mind, please bow your heads, and I will pray over our food for all of us." Then he prayed. When he finished and sat down, the restaurant patrons gave him a resounding hand of applause. In addition to being thankful for their food that day, a number of people remained behind to pray and find Jesus as their Savior--all because one man was thankful for God's work in his own life.

Be thankful to God whether at home or in a public place, don't begin without pausing to thank God. Thank Him even if all you have to eat is a slice of bread and water to drink. There are some that don't even have that. And don't just thank God for the food, thank Him for the clothing and shelter He provides. Even if you have a car that is ten years older or older, thank Him that you have transportation and don't have to walk. Or, if you just have a bike to get you to the place you are going, thank Him for that. If you have to walk, then thank Him that you have feet and are able to walk. We have to thank Him for what we have. We need to thank Him whether we have a little or a lot. Thank Him for your life, for the air you breathe, for health and strength. Thank Him for every good and perfect gift He provides.

Thank Him, also, for vast possibilities of a life lived in the Spirit, for a life of prayer. Also, give thanks not only for what He has done, but thank Him for what He is doing in your life even if you don't see it. Also, thank Him for what He will do in the future.

The Third Element Is Worship

There is an area of courtship with God: outward reverence, praise, and adoration.

II Chronicles 5:13-14--"It came to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth forever; and then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; v.14--So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God."

Many seldom think or speak to God unless they are in trouble. Others come to Him only when they need something. It is as though they consider God as an eternal Santa Claus. God can not be approached casually. He is the Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth. He must be approached with deep respect, with reverence, adoration, praise, and with worship. The above II Chronicles scripture is an example of the people worshipping.

Praise is the prayer of thanksgiving--the instrument that will court and nurture an ongoing growth and deep relationship with the Father. Praise is NOT an option. It is mandatory if one is to maintain a loving, courting talk with God.

When you start worshipping, God starts to work in your life. (I will be doing a more indepth study of worship later.) Worship is the highest level of spiritual warfare.

The Differences between Praise and Worship is:

1- All praise leads to worship.     

2- In praise, you praise because of God's acts. In worship, you are worshipping God Himself.

3- Praise is soul born. Worship is Spirit born.

4- When you praise, you are involved in an act of praise. In worship, you are a worshiper.

5- In praise, you remain in the outer courts. In worship, you go into the Holy of Holies.

The Fourth Element Is Meditation

In contemplation of God, we enjoy God by thinking of Him.

Psalm 62:5--6----"My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. v.6--He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense, I shall not be moved."

What exactly is meditation? Webster terms meditation as "deep continued thought, deep reflection on sacred matters." In simple terms, meditation in its best sense is the contemplation of God. It is thinking about God, about His word, about the depth and and extent of His goodness. It is waiting on God.

"Wait--------------for God." A waitress in a restaurant "waits" upon customers by attending to their needs. We wait upon God by attending to His needs. What needs, you ask, does God have? He needs for us to think about Him, to glory in His presence, to bask in His Word, to talk to Him, to be with Him for such extended times that we begin to think like Him, and even to reflect the image of His son, Jesus. What a glorious thought!

The Fifth Element Is Petition

Through petition, we draw from the storehouse of God and ask God for assistance.

James 5:17-18---"Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. v.18--And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit."

Through prayer, we draw from the storehouse of God and ask God for assistance. Jesus told us in Matthew 7:7--"Ask, and it will be given to you." We receive from God because we make our needs known to Him. We have been talking about the elements of prayer, which include the ways and means of praying. God is looking to us right now, eagerly awaiting the calls, the petitions, the prayers of His children. And when those petitions come to Him according to the formula laid down in God's Word, then He answers them and supplies our need from the bounty of His storehouse.

If you are a clean vessel, a committed child of God, living and growing in His Word and will, and if the need is great enough, and you petition God with unyielding faith, you can expect God to answer your prayers as He did those of Elijah.

Just don't give up. NEVER GIVE UP. Read again the scripture above- James 5:17-18.

When you pray with the understanding that prayer is the crying out to God with your entire being. That it is the supplication of your innermost person, and that these strong, sincere cryings and petitions are offered to the One whom your life is totally given, then the Master of the universe will respond and answer your cry.

Prayer is a petition for deep needs, supplication in the inner man crying out for God to solve his problem. Even our Lord Jesus understood and prayed accordingly to this principle. Hebrews 5:7--"Who in the days of His flesh, when supplication with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that he feared."

We must be specific when we pray to the Father. Come to Him boldly. Hebrews 4:16---"Let us therefore come boldly into the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need".Come to Him unashamedly. Tell Him what you need. Talk to Him about needs. Be consistent in your praying. Write those needs down and present them to Him the next day, and the next, and the next, if necessary. God loves and responds to persistence and consistency. IF you are sincere with God and go after what you need in the proper manner, I can assure you that you will receive it.

The Sixth Element Is Intercession

The prayer of intercession reaches God for others.

Genesis 18:23-32--"And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked. v. 24- Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? v. 25- That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? v. 26- And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. v. 27- And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: v. 28- Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. v. 29- And he spoke unto Him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake. v. 30- And he said unto Him, Oh let not the Lord be angry and I will speak: Peradventure there shall be thirty found there. And he said, I will not do it if I find thirty there. v. 31- And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake. v. 32- And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And He said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake."

Intercession is beseeching God on behalf of others. Intercession is putting yourself in place of the person or persons for whom you are called to pray. The above scripture is an example of this.

Jesus told His disciples to bear fruit (see John 15:1-9)--not just a little fruit but much fruit. The fruit that Jesus expects can come only by abiding in Him. Without Him we can do nothing of value in the Kingdom.

Fruit bearing comes by intercession. Intercession opens the door of God's abundant storehouse. Intercessory prayer is the praying that won't give up. When there is a need in your life, in your family, in your church, or in your community, you bear fruit--meet or supply the need in any or all of those areas--by interceeding with the Father.

The prayer of intercession is one of the greatest needs of the church today. The prayer of intercession will move communities and governments.

There are glorious bonuses for prayer intercessors. As you experience the unleashing of God's unlimited power through intercession, you will also experience His unspeakable joy. Because you will have learned how to literally open heavens doors, you will see your own needs met. You will also see the needs of those around you met as you intercede for them.

Interceeding is bearing the fruit. And abiding in Jesus enpowers one to intercede in such a way as to bear the fruit.

The Seventh Element Is Travail

Travail is the depth of desire in Prayer.

The Master of all prayer taught in Mark 11:24--"What things soever ye desire when you pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."

Travailing is like prevailing. Travail, according to Webster, is "very hard work, toil, labor pains, pain of childbirth, intense pain, agony". Travailing is giving birth. A mother travails in labor and brings forth a new child unto the world.

For the Christian, travailing is wrestling with God for victory. It is believing in something with such passion that no exertion, however difficult or painful, is too great to bring the vision, the goal, the dream, into fruition, or to see bondage removed or a burden lifted.

Travail may result in weeping before the Lord. It may result in the compassionate agonizing for the release and birthing of souls into the Kingdom.

Travail in Prayer Brings Divine Energy

When one travails in prayer to the point of reaching his own outer limits of strength, one experiences a sort of divine energy that enables him to hold on. Spurgeon said, "God does not hear us because of the length of our prayers, but because of the sincerity of them. Prayer is not to be measured by the yard, nor weighed by the pound. It is the might and force of it---the truth and reality of it--the energy and the intensity of it."

Travail Is the Depth of Desire in Prayer

The word desire can be relative. I may desire to see my family saved and do nothing about it. On the other hand, I may so deeply desire to see my family saved that I will travail for hours and days in prayer for them.

Jesus was speaking of the travailing kind of prayer. One can be assured, on the foundation of God's Word, that those prayers that are meant with one's whole heart, and soul, and are prayed with believing intensity, will be heard and answered. And it is such prayers that will change the world.

Are you ready to become an intercessor? To pray for your nation, your church, your family, and your friends, or just anyone the Lord puts in your mind? I pray that this lesson has helped you.

Do you know Jesus as your Savior? If not and you want to, pray this prayer:Dear Heavenly Father: I am a sinner. I believe that Jesus Christ is your son. I believe that He died on the cross for my sins. Please forgive me of my sins. I ask Jesus into my heart today. In Jesus' name. Amen.

If you prayed this prayer, please email me and let me know. God Bless you.


Prayer, Lester Sumrall, LeSea Publishing Co., 1997

Secrets of Answered Prayer, Lester Sumrall, LeSea Publishing Co., 1099.



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