Knowing how to pray doesn’t always come naturally. Jesus taught us how to pray then said not to pray in repetition. Here are 7 elements of balanced prayer to use as a guide. Every prayer doesn’t need all seven, but all seven elements should be used in balance.
Thanksgiving is the first element because it’s the Key to the Kingdom.
- Thanksgiving: Psalm 100:3-4 … we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him and bless His name.(KJV)
If we desire to be in the courts, then the throne room, we must first go through the gate.
The next 6 elements of balanced prayer can be derived from the Lord’s Payer
The disciples were so intrigued by Jesus prayer life that they asked Him to teach them to pray, from that we have been given the Lord ’s Prayer. (Matt 6:9-13, not an exact quote based on KJV modified by me) This is an example Christ gave to His disciples, His inner circle, who would instruct others and establish the church.
- Praise: Our Father who is in Heaven, Hallowed be Your name
Praise is an adoration of God for His attributes, the characteristics of His name, and facets of His character. The One True God, Our Redeemer, The One who Provides, Righteousness and more.
- Supplication: Your Kingdom come Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven
Supplication claims what He has already willed. When God speaks He creates, He decrees, He establishes. Supplication is about aligning our will with His and working with Him to bring it to reality. We ask, “God let me help You bring Your plan to my family, my community, my church.”
- Petition: Give us this day our daily bread
Petition is asking God for our personal needs. By doing this we recognize our total dependence on God and fully trust that He will supply.
- Confession: Forgive us our sins
Confession clears the way for our prayers to be heard. The life we live is a slow transformation to be like Christ – we are not there yet. It is not necessary to repeatedly confess old sins, once confessed they are forgiven. If we continually sin in a similar fashion we can pray for help and strength to stop. The Holy Spirit convicts us individually so what I am feeling convicted of is not the same for you. This is not about comparing to others or judging with respect to another, it’s you and God – no one else.
- Intercession: As we forgive those who sinned against us
Intercession is pleading the cause of others; Jesus on the cross and Stephen as he was being stoned. When you can praying for those who hurt you with the full desire for their good and blessing, then you have fully forgiven. It is surrendering; For-I-Give them to God for His discretion, which is always to be saved and transformed. This is primarily for you not the person you are praying for, although God doesn’t ignore them either. Interceding is a powerful tool in your toolbox.
- Protection: And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever. Amen
Protection is a request for help. It reminds us of two things, we don’t war against people but the evil one, and that our heart is willing but the flesh is weak. Lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life are all very strong pulls but far inferior to God’s Kingdom and God’s will. One way I seek protection is asking God to close the doors that I think look good as a solution or option but may not be His best for me. I want His best. God is most passionate about free will, so we must be mindful to seek His will if we want His best.
Pray with me;
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank for listening to me! You are so good to me. I hear people pray and I think, I not good at this. Send the Holy Spirit to encourage me and nudge me to practice. Forgive me for not praying more and for being envious of others. Bless the people who have prayed for me and in my hearing that I was envious of, listen and answer their prayers. We all want to have our prayers heard and answered. Thank you for reminding me that I am Your child and You want to hear my voice. I may ask for things that are not good for me, give me wisdom and faith to accept Your no. The Bible says You have plans for me, I want those plans to happen. Keep me from temptation to derail Your perfect plan for me. I love You and want to know You more.
In the name of Jesus, Amen
(Based in part on Balanced Prayer from Discipleship 1 by Nicholas and Leona Venditti, an INSTE Bible College Certificate Program)
©2015, Elayne Cross
It’s Your Turn:
When is your favorite time to pray? Do you notice these elements in your prayer time? Will this help you feel more confident about your prayers?