Four Kinds of Prayer – I Timothy 2:1

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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A woman raised in a Christian home has maintained a rebellious and bitter spirit for decades. Her parents trusted in Christ when she was eleven. From that point on, the parents immersed themselves and their children in a Bible-teaching local church. Each of the children made professions of faith, but this woman was always the spiritually-rebellious one. She pushed the boundaries, made it clear she did not want to attend church, and resisted spiritual input. For decades after college, she seldom contacted her parents unless she wanted, or needed, something from them. Hers was not a loving relation or interaction, it was more a “what can you do for me now” attitude.

A believer does not need to have a rebellious or bitter spirit to interact with the Lord in prayer almost exclusively on the level of wanting things. We can drift into an imbalanced practice of prayer, only asking God to give us things or do things for us. But the Apostle Paul gives us a more mature picture of prayer when he writes: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men” (I Timothy 2:1). Notice there are four different kinds of prayer listed in this passage. “Supplications” literally means to petition, make a request, or beg. Paul’s instruction in verse two reveals he believed, and wanted Timothy to believe, God sometimes intervenes in our circumstances in response to our prayers. Verse three explains that bringing our needs to the Lord in prayer “is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.” But Paul teaches that our interaction with the Lord should also include “prayers.” Specifically, this is a communication of worship. Our prayers should contain a balanced amount of acknowledging the greatness of our Lord’s attributes, such as His mercy, longsuffering, power, love, wisdom, and more. “Intercessions” refer to making requests, not for ourself, but for others. Paul’s letters are full of examples of him praying for the spiritual growth and well being of other believers. Finally, prayer should include “giving of thanks.” We live in times when gratitude and giving thanks to humans, and to the Lord, is becoming more uncommon. But for the believer, large portions of prayer time should include giving God thanks for all He has done and will do on our behalf. It’s part of a grateful, mature, and appreciative heart.

When you pause to pray, include all four of these aspects of prayer.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."