In order to have a balanced prayer life we need to include a number of different types of things we say to God which make up the parts of prayer:  thanksgiving, praise, adoration, confession, requests for protection from evil, intercession and petition.

How to do this prayer practice:

1.  Become aware that there are different parts of prayer which each work together to make a balanced prayer life.

Often we become so wrapped up in telling God our needs that we fail to remember that God wants us to communicate other deep things to Him about what is in our hearts and souls, things that don’t have anything to do with our daily circumstances.   Besides petition, which is asking God for our own needs, and intercession which is asking God for things for others, there are many other things to express to God. 

2.  Consciously thank, praise and adore God.

When we become close to God, we naturally begin to understand how awesome, powerful and majestic He is.  It is easy to thank and praise God in moments of joy and wonder, but we also need to consciously practice thanksgiving and praise to empower our prayer lives even when things aren’t  going our way.  The Bible says that God inhabits our praise.  (Psalm 22:3)  When we begin to praise God, our hearts become closer to Him and we are better able to feel his presence even on the darkest day.

Thanksgiving helps us focus on  the many blessings we have and to acknowledge that they have been given to us by God.  Praise centers on who God is, His character, His attributes, His love, His majesty.  Adoration turns our eyes in love and joy toward the mystery and spiritual nature of God.

3.  Confess your sins and shortcomings.

Confession has always been a powerful part of prayer.  The Bible says that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God, but if we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will pardon our sins and cleanse us.  (See Romans 3:23; I John 1:9)  Confession brings us closer to God and helps us have his power to change our behavior in the future.  Because of Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins, God pardons us.  We can have a fresh start any time we tell God what we have done, that we are sorry for our sins, we ask God for his forgiveness and we try to go forward in living the right way.

4.  Ask God’s protection from evil.

We can’t fight evil with human power.  That’s why prayer is the only way to handle temptations that come from inside of us.  Prayer is also the only way to be protected from outside forces of evil that try to hurt us.   This part of prayer is often  called spiritual warfare.   In order to engage in spiritual warfare, we have to know what the Bible says about evil and Satan.  We also need to know how the writers of the Bible instruct us to pray against evil.  One of the most popular instructions on how to pray this way is in Ephesians 6:10-18.

5.  Pray for others.

Praying for others is often called intercession, which means that we are asking God for help on the behalf of someone else we know who is in need.

6. Pray for yourself.

This is called petition to distinguish it from our prayers for others.  In petition we ask God to help us with our needs, including our material needs as well as for our mental and spiritual needs for guidance, clarity, knowledge, wisdom and for the gifts of the spirit that will help us serve in God’s Kingdom.

My personal experiences and tips:

I have found that you can do many of these different parts of prayer while walking.  I have a morning routine where on a certain part of my walk I thank God for things, a place I cll confession curve where I talk to God about my sins and fears and several places where I pray for others by need, such as healing.  I use Ephesians 6:10-18 as a prayer against evil  every morning when I put on my makeup.

The Biblical origins and tradtional roots of this method of prayer.

These parts of prayer are all interwoven into the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus used as a model for the disciples when he asked them how to pray.  (See Matthew 6:9-13)

Copyright Karen Barber 2011