The power and the privilege of prayer! When man studies the word of God, God is communicating to him through His inspired word; When man prayers to God, he is communicating to God praise, adoration, thanksgiving, and petition. This is possible through Jesus (Heb. 4:14-16; 1 Tim. 2:5; John 16:23). Prayer has power (James 4:2; 5:16; 5:17-18).
Types of Prayer
According to 1 Timothy 2:1, there are different types of prayer. There are: (1) prayers of supplications [(Acts 1:14; Eph. 6:18; Phil. 4:6; 1 Tim. 2:1; 5:5; Heb. 5:7) The NASB renders 1 Timothy 2:1 “entreaties”; The NIV “requests”]. The word means: “to ask” (Vine’s); “to ask i.e. request, entreat, beg… (Thayer). We’re told “let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6). We’re invited to cast our cares upon Him “for He careth” for us (1 Peter 5:7). We sing the song What a friend we have in Jesus; think on the words, “What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer. O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer”. Many times we have not because we ask not” (James 4:2). (2) Prayers (1 Tim. 2:1. etc.). This word refers to prayers in general. It is unrestricted in content (Thayer), or non specified in content. The word refers to “an address to God” (Vine’s) unlike the other words in the list (supplications, intercessions, giving of thanks), this word is always used of “an address to God” in the New Covenant scriptures. (3) Prayers of intercessions [(1 Tim. 2:1) The NASB renders this “petitions”]. This word means “to fall in with, meet in order to converse… to make petition… to make intercession” (Vine’s). The term was used of approaching a king to plead either for or against something or someone [(cf. Jer. 36:25) or against (Rom. 11:2)]. Homer Hailey indicated that it’s common use in connection with prayer, writing “to make petition, seek attention and presence of God on behalf of others” (Prayer and Providence, p. 7). “Intercession is prayer on behalf of another” (ISBE Vol. 3, p. 1484). We’re to be mindful of others in our prayers. (4) Prayers of thanksgiving (1 Tim. 2:1; 4:3b-5; Phil. 4:6; Eph. 5:20; 1 Thes. 5:18, etc.).
Numerous time Paul expressed his thanks to God for good brethren (2 Cor. 8:16; Eph. 1:16; Col. 1:3; 1 Thes. 1:2; 2:13; 3:9; 2 Thes. 1:3; 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:3; Phile. 4). Man should be thankful for his food (1 Tim. 4:3b-5). 1 Thessalonians 5:18 sums it up saying, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
Some prayers may contain a combination of these elements. Other prayers may concentrate upon one. However, these are the different varieties of prayers that are mentioned.
We should pray for: (1) all men [(1 Tim. 2:1) the term ‘men’ is generic. The NIV renders it ‘everyone’]. We should pray for all: men and women, rich and poor, black, white, yellow, and brown, friend and even foe. (2) government officials (1 Tim. 2:2). Don’t be partisan. Pray for those in authority regardless of political preference. (3) elders (Heb. 13:7 cf. 2 Tim. 1:3). These men should ever be in our prayers. They have an awesome responsibility. (4) all the saints (Eph. 6:18-20). Don’t forget your brethren in prayer. (5) Brethren who’ve sinned (James 5:16). How often we remember the physically sick but not the spiritually sick! This should not be. (6) The physically sick (James 5:14; 3 John 2). Even better than praying for them is praying with them. (7) Our enemies (Matt. 5:44-45; Luke 6:28). This one is hard. (8) Our selves (Matt. 6:11-13; John 17:1).
This is a helpful list of some to be prayer for according to the scriptures.
We should pray for: (1) a quiet and peaceful existence (1 Tim. 2:1-2 cf. Jer. 29:7). This includes praying for our country. (2) The necessities of life (Matt. 6:11; Luke 11:3; James 5:18). We need to be humble and remember how much we are dependent upon Him. (3) health (3 John 2; Isaiah 38:5). Remember spiritual health is even more important. (4) Forgiveness of sins when needed (Matt. 6:12; Luke 11:4; Acts 8:12; 1 John 1:9; Prov. 28:13; Psalm 32:3-5; 51:2-4, 16-17). Don’t let pride get to us. (5) Providential help with temptation (Matt. 6:13; Luke 11:4; Matt. 26:41; Mark 14:38; Luke 22:40, 46). Life is too tough to face alone. (6) Wisdom (James 1:5). Wisdom is the knowledge and ability to make proper, correct, and expedient chores. Webster says it is the “ability to judge soundly and deal sagaciously with facts. Guy Woods, “Knowledge is the possession of facts; Wisdom is the ability to judge soundly and correctly regarding them” (GA Commentary, p. 41). Don’t deal with life without God’s help. (7) The kingdom (Matt. 6:10). While it is true that the kingdom has come, we can still pray for its well-being and expansion upon earth. (8) Open doors (Col. 4:2-4). We should pray for opportunities to present the message. (8) Boldness (courage, openness) in speech (Acts 4:29). (9) God to use us to His glory (John 17:1). (10) The joy (John 17:13), purity (John 17:15), sanctification (John 17:17), and unity (John 17:21) of Jesus’ followers, and their eternal souls (John 17:24).
This is a helpful list. I make no claim that it is exhaustive.
Our prayers should be (1) With reverence and respect for God (Matt. 6:9). Review the following: 1 Chr. 29:10-13; Psalm 25:1-2; 104:1-5; Jer. 32:17; Acts 4:24. Hear the awe and the exaltation of God? (2) sincere, not with vain repetition (Matt. 6:7). Not just our tongue, but our mind and our emotions are to be engaged in this action. (3) in humility (Luke 18:9-14). (4) to God, not to impress men (Matt. 6:5; 23:5-7, 12). (5) offered up in faith (James 1:6-7; 5:15). (6) submissive, mindful of His will (Matt. 26:39, 42). We are not to demand, but humbly request. (7) according to His will (1 John 5:14; James 4:3). We should familiarize ourselves with the Scriptures. Doing this will help us determine what is and is not appropriate to pray. (8) clear and understandable to others when designed to be public (1 Cor. 14:14-19). Let us remember that when a public prayer is being said, it is not just the one who is saying the prayer that is to be participating in prayer (1 Chr. 16:34-37; Neh. 8:6; Psalm 106:47-48; Acts 1:13-14; 2:42; 4:23-30; 20:36; 21:5; 1 Cor. 14:14-17). Each one of us is to be mentally and emotionally engaged in worship. (9) in Jesus’ name (John 16:23; 15:16; 14:13; Acts 4:23-30; Eph. 5:20). The phrase is simply a recognition of authority (Col. 3:17; Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; 4:5-12; 10:48; 1 Cor. 5:4-5; James 5:14-15, etc.). Ed Wharton writes, “To ask in the name of Jesus is more than a mere talisman tacked back to the beginning or end of a prayer. It is praying ‘in Him’ with His endorsement, back by all that He is, and as the claimant of all the blessings He has procured” (The Church of Christ, p. 174). Homer Hailey, “We conclude… ‘in the name’ is not a magical formula attached to prayer or to some act of devotion; rather to act, speak or pray in the name of Jesus involves at least four basic elements. First, those are to be done according to, or out of, the relationship which we sustain to God through our redemption in Christ, it is acting in accord with His Messiahship and mission. Second, ‘in the name’ judges the prayer to be consistent with God’s will and word and has His glory as its ultimate end. Third, in using ‘in the name’ we recognize His authority and act and pray within the limits of which He has authorized; we stay within this limitation. Fourth, we pray within the scope and bounds of that which He would ask or do if He stood where we stand; it is in His stead. Whether we conclude a prayer with the phrase, ‘in the name of Jesus’ is immaterial. Such adds no merit or influence to the prayer. It is not what we say, but what we do… This is the essential and vital point to keep before us” (Prayer and Providence, p. 29-30).