When I discovered different ways to pray, I was really excited. Prayer had become stale and stagnant to me, an obligation not an inspiration.
This discovery opened up the heavens. I don’t know if I so much found them as they found me. They were in the Bible the entire time. I just needed eyes to see them.
What does this mean?
- There are lots of possibilities for prayer.
- We don’t have to pray like other people.
- We can find the prayer types that work best for us.
- We can pray our own prayers.
This is what I saw.
When you read the letters of the apostle Paul, you see that he’s exceedingly thankful. Time and again, Paul begins his letters with thanksgiving:
“I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you” (Romans 1:8).
“I always thank God for you” (1 Corinthians 1:4).
“I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers” (Ephesians 1:16).
Of the thirteen letters that are normally attributed to Paul, he’s thankful in ten of them. But if you read other biblical writers, they don’t sound the same.
Instead of thanks, David offers praise:
“O LORD, our LORD, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens” (Psalm 8:1).
“The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge” (Psalm 18:2).
“Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:1–2).
And instead of offering praise, Joshua prays God’s Word. His instructions for bringing the Israelites to the Promised Land were,
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you maybe be careful to do everything written in it.” (Joshua 1:8)
And with these new eyes, I saw 12 different types of prayer.
Here are 12 different types of prayer and a step to begin finding your best prayer types.
Definition: Multiple believers agreeing on earth with what heaven is saying
Bible character: Acts church
Verse: Matthew 18:19-20
Definition: Acknowledging your sin to God, and then celebrating the forgiveness you have received
Bible character: David
Verse: Psalm 51:2-3
Definition: Spending time with God in an activity that is not traditionally sacred or prayerful
Bible character: Adam and Eve
Verse: Genesis 3:8
Definition: God leading you to pray for the needs of a person, place, or cause
Bible character: Anna
Verse: Luke 2:37
Definition: Sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening for him
Bible character: Mary of Bethany
Verse: Psalm 46:10
Definition: Seeing a need and praying for it
Bible character: Leper and centurion
Verse: Luke 11:9
Definition: Declaring the truth about who God is, what he has done, or what he has promised to do
Bible character: Peter
Verse: Psalm 150:6
Praying the Bible
Definition: Praying the words of the Bible as your prayer
Bible character: Joshua
Verse: Joshua 1:8
Praying in Tongues
Definition: Praying in a personal spiritual language that edifies you and your relationship with God
Bible character: Paul
Verse: 1 Corinthians 14:14
Definition: Receiving a message from God for someone else
Bible character: Jeremiah
Verse: Jeremiah 1:7
Definition: Offering thanks to God
Bible character: Paul
Verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Definition: Confronting the kingdom of Satan with the weapons of God’s kingdom
Bible character: The seventy-two others
Verse: Ephesians 6:12