For the next two days we will be taking a look at the different types of prayer talked about in the Bible.
Act 12:12 And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.
Act 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
We must be careful when talking about public prayer. There is a difference between the public prayer that the Pharisee demonstrated in Luke 18 and the public prayer that the Bible encourages in Acts and other places. The public prayer of the Pharisee was a prayer of arrogance. He was standing out in the street for the sole purpose of being seen by others and to be praised for being so spiritual. The public prayer that the Bible encourages is corporate prayer for the church body or other gatherings of believers. Public prayer is as essential to the health of the church body as private prayer is to an individual’s spiritual health. If our churches are to grow we must spend time together in prayer, praying for one another and for the church as a whole. It is essential that every church member gathers together as frequently as possible to engage in this uplifting corporate prayer.
Mat 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Private prayer is the life of a Christian’s spirit. It is in this private prayer that a person fellowships and talks with God. Just as a husband and wife must have time that they spend alone in order to get close to each other, stay close to each other and keep from drifting apart, a Christian must have that personal time with God where he can get to know God and keep from drifting away from Him. I will guarantee that if you ask any backslidden Christian, if they are being honest, they will tell you that they have not had a real prayer life in quite some time. When we fail to pray we start to stray. Just as when a husband and wife stop communicating their relationship starts to suffer, a prayerless Christian’s relationship with God will most certainly begin to die.
Luk 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Penitence in prayer is definitely lacking in our day. We read Hebrews 4:16, that we can come “Boldly before the throne of grace…”, and we use that as justification to come before God arrogantly demanding that our needs be met. We treat God like a genie in a bottle and we demand that he grants our every wish any time we call on him. We must come to God realizing that we are worthy of nothing short of an eternity in Hell, but God in his mercy and grace has given us, not only His son Jesus, but also “freely give(n) us all good things”. James 4:6 tells us that God resists the proud person. If you want God to hear and answer your prayer come to Him with a humble heart.
Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
Jam 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
In the Old Testament the priest came to God representing a person that had sinned and asking God to forgive that person from his sins. Priestly prayer is the idea of coming to God on behalf of someone else. In Galatians and James we see that we are to pray for each other for the good of the Christian body. When a person falls into deep sin James tells us that we should come before the Lord on His behalf asking the Lord to bring him to repentance.