As part of equal privilege of election, the Church Age believer is a Royal Priest, and because this is true, there has never before in history been such an emphasis on every believer entering into prayer. It is the unique function of the Royal Priesthood and the equal privilege and opportunity for every believer to have an effective ministry. The most effective service is invisible service such as prayer.
- In past dispensations, there were specialized priesthoods in which certain people functioned as priests. A priest is a person representing the human race (believers) to God.
- Any system of specialized priesthood in the Church Age is a false system. All believers in the Church Age are the equal to what many think catholic priests represent.
- You have the right to represent yourself before God the Father in the name of the Son and through the power of the Spirit. You also have the right to spiritual privacy.
From the Royal Priesthood originates prayers to God the Father as the recipient of all prayers.
Prayer from the function of your Royal Priesthood gives you access and privilege to present two categories of requests to God the Father.
- Petitions; prayers for yourself.
- Intercessory prayers; prayers for others.
Therefore, prayer is communication with God for the expression of personal needs in petition and the function of intercession for others.
The approach to prayer is part of God’s protocol plan for His Royal Family and has a precisely correct procedure:
- All prayer is offered to God the Father, not to Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit.
- Any prayer offered to Christ is automatically cancelled, since it fails to follow God’s protocol for prayer. This is illustrated by the model prayer for the disciples, Mat 6:9; Eph 1:17; 3:14; 1 Peter 1:17.
- Prayer is addressed in the name of or through the channel of the Son, John 14:13‑14; Heb 7:25.
- All prayer is made through the enabling power (filling) of God the Holy Spirit, Eph 6:18.
Prayer is related to the omniscience of God, Isa 65:24.
Isa 65:24, “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear.”
God hears the prayer twice: in eternity past, and at the time of the prayer.
Prayers and their answers are part of the Divine decrees. Therefore, your needs, intercessions, desires and God’s answers to your prayers are all part of the decrees in the foreknowledge of God. God knew and answered all your prayers in eternity past.
All answered prayer is part of your Portfolio of Invisible Assets. There is a direct relationship between your prayer life and your Portfolio of Invisible Assets.
- As a primary asset, prayer is a part of your equal privilege of election, a part of your Royal Priesthood.
- As a secondary asset, prayer is a part of our Christian production. Prayer is a ministry designed for every believer. Each Church Age believer has the privilege and the right to enter into intercessory prayer for others, which is an actual ministry.
Therefore, prayer is one of the most powerful and effective functions in all of history.
Prayer is an invisible power directed toward invisible God (1 Tim 1:17) in relationship to our invisible assets. Prayer is most effective when used by invisible heroes, i.e., believers who have attained spiritual maturity. John 4:24, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
The more you grow in grace, the greater your spiritual growth, the greater your effectiveness in your prayer life. Effectiveness is not measured in terms of your eloquence when praying in public, but on the basis of your spiritual growth when praying in private.
- The power of prayer increases as the believer advances in the Plan of God for the Church Age.
- Accurate and effective prayer is associated with the three stages of spiritual adulthood: Spiritual Self‑Esteem, Spiritual Autonomy, and Spiritual Maturity.
Grace is a principle in prayer. Heb 4:16; 1 Peter 1:17.
- Prayer is the privilege of the Royal Priesthood, and since grace is the basis of prayer, no believer can come to God in prayer and expect to be heard on the basis of his human merit, ability, or any other human success story.
- In other words, every believer approaches God on the basis of the merits of Jesus Christ. The Father has already been propitiated with Christ, and since He is no respecter of persons, as far as we are concerned, He accepts and hears our prayer on the basis of the fact that we are in Christ. In other words, God doesn’t answer prayer because I’m good, because I’m benevolent, because I’m sincere, etc. God hears and answers prayer on the basis of who and what Christ is.
Christ’s prayer in the garden, Mat 26:39, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” was answered with a “no” response, because the very purpose for the Hypostatic Union was to bear our sins. This was the only prayer Christ ever offered that was not answered with a “yes.” Nevertheless, Christ’s prayer was answered according to the will of the Father which was to go to the Cross. Therefore, our prayers must too be offered in the “will” of the Father.
There are three sources of prayer received by God the Father:
- The prayers of the greatest prayer warrior of all, the Lord Jesus Christ our great High Priest, on our behalf, Heb 7:25.
Heb 7:25, “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
- The prayers of God the Holy Spirit as our “Helper” (PARAKLETOS) in prayer, Rom 8:26-27.
Rom 8:26-27, “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
- The prayer from the believer priest, Heb 4:16.
Heb 4:16 “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Principles of Prayer Related to our Priesthood:
The Church Age is the dispensation of the universal priesthood of the believer. Every believer is a priest, both male and female.
- 1 Peter 2:5, every believer is a Holy Priest.
- 1 Peter 2:9, every believer is a Royal Priest.
- Rev 1:6, 20:6, every believer is a part of a kingdom of priests.
One of our great priestly functions is prayer. When you pray for others, you enter into their ministry.
Two persons of the Trinity are involved in prayer for us: Jesus Christ in hypostatic union in His human nature as our High Priest remembers us in prayer, and God the Holy Spirit who prays for us with groanings too great for words.
As a Priest, the believer has the privilege of intercessory prayer.
- One of the greatest acts of intercession for an entire nation was made by Moses, Ex 32:9‑16 and Num 14:11‑20.
- Jesus Christ prayed, while on the Cross in Luke 23:34, the greatest intercessory prayers of all time, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
Prayer is a part of Christian service, and as such, prayer must comply with the doctrinal principles of Christian service. Since every believer is in full time Christian service, he should express in prayer the concepts related to that service; therefore, his intercession for others will be Divine good rather than human good or dead works. The principles of Christian service apply to every prayer just as much as they do to witnessing or to the fact that your job is a part of Christian service.
The principle of prayer is based on two doctrines of Scripture: the post-salvation spiritual life, defined as harmonious rapport with God, and the integrity of God as the source of all answers to prayer on the one hand, and the explanation why other prayers are not answered.
We fail in prayer, because in the malfunction of our spiritual life, we do not understand the Will and Plan of God for our lives; therefore, we understand the importance of prayer being compatible with the Plan of God for the Church.
We fail in prayer, because we fail to rebound when we sin. Therefore, when perpetual carnality sets in, it is inevitable that we get into serious discipline and so many problems that we start praying to God for help and our prayers do not get to the throne of grace.
Only the emergency procedure of Rebound as outlined in 1 John 1:9 can correct that situation. Without Rebound there is no spiritual life, Eph 5:18 ff.
Spiritual skills must precede production skills for an effective prayer life.
- Spiritual skills include: the filling of the Holy Spirit, cognition and inculcation of Bible doctrine, and the execution of the Plan of God.
- Spiritual growth increases the power of prayer in your life. Therefore, your spiritual advance through perception, metabolization, and application of doctrine is directly related to your prayer life as a part of your Christian service.
- The more you learn about the Will of God from Bible doctrine, the more effective your prayer life will be.
- The effectiveness of prayer is related to the function of spiritual skills preceding production skills in the performance of Christian service and Divine good.
- Production skills minus spiritual skills equal the performance of human good and dead works in prayer.
- The key to prayer is the attainment of the spiritual skills: The filling of the Spirit, cognition of Bible doctrine, and execution of the Plan of God.
How to Approach God in Prayer:
All prayer is offered to God the Father, not to Jesus Christ or to the Holy Spirit. Any prayer offered to Christ is automatically cancelled, since it fails to follow God’s protocol for prayer. This is illustrated by the model prayer for the disciples, Mat 6:9; Eph 1:17; 3:14; 1 Peter 1:17.
The channel of approach is through our high priest, Jesus Christ, John 14:13-14.
The power of approach of prayer is the filling of God the Holy Spirit, Eph 6:18.
We should understand that God has encouraged us to pray through promises. An extrapolation of prayer promises falls into three categories:
- Those related to the Faith-Rest Technique, Mat 18:19; 21:22; Mark 11:24; or the Old Testament promises of prayer which are somewhat different from the New, but just as valid, Psa 4:1; 116:1-2; Isa 65:24; Jer 33:3.
Psalm 4:1, “Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.”
- Every legitimate prayer that ever was uttered in history was heard in eternity past, and if it was a legitimate prayer, it was included in God’s Decree / Plan.
- The New Testament promises for example, Mat 7:7-8; John 14:13-14; 15:7; Eph 6:18; Phil 4:6; 1 Thes 5:17; Heb 4:16, etc.
From the standpoint of the believer, the effectiveness of the believer’s prayer is living the spiritual life.
From the standpoint of God, the effectiveness of the believer’s prayer is related to the integrity of God.
God is eternally blessed with the integrity and power to answer prayer. God is endued with the Divine ability to answer prayer from the essence of God with emphasis on Divine integrity and omnipotence.
As we have noted above, there are two categories of prayer requests: Intercessory and Petition. In this section, we will understand the principles of each.
The Doctrine of Intercession:
The dynamics of intercessory prayer are mentioned in Elijah’s prayer on Mount Carmel which demonstrates the power of intercessory prayer for the nation, 1 Kings 18:42‑46; James 5:16‑18.
James 5:16-18, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. 17Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.”
In this scenario, Elijah displayed five components for effective intercessory prayers:
- Pray in private. Elijah was alone, 1 Kings 18:42. It is important to be alone with God in order to hear His voice in response to your prayers. Compare Mat 6:6 and Mark 1:35 (our Lord’s example). This does not say that there is no place for public prayer, there is. But God desires intimacy with His children in prayer.
Mat 6:6, “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
- Humility of the soul. Elijah was humble in offering his prayer; demonstrated by crouching down, 1 Kings 14:42b. Where the body goes the mind leads. Humility in prayer is recognizing God’s all sufficiency and our insufficiency to meet a need or problem.
- Be specific and precise in your prayers, 1 King 18:43a. God wants to hear from you about all that you desire and need, so be specific and ask in detail what it is you want for others or need.
- Be persistent in your prayers. Elijah did not quit when his prayer was not answered, 1 Kings 14:43b. He was persistent and prayed again and again until he received God’s response. Keep praying until you receive an answer to what you asked for from God.
- Be ready to move into action when you receive God’s answer. This is called expectancy. Upon receiving an answer, Elijah acted quickly, 1 Kings 18:46. There is no reason to procrastinate when God makes His answer clear.
The power of prevailing prayer is demonstrated in Acts 12. The power of prevailing prayer was exercised in the early church on behalf of Peter, who was in prison and about to be executed.
Acts 12:5, “So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.”
The result of this prayer was Peter’s dramatic deliverance. He was chained between two Roman soldiers. But with every Roman guard asleep, Peter simply walked out of the prison. All the Roman soldiers were executed for this.
The prayer for the unbeliever is demonstrated in Rom 10:1.
Rom 10:1, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them (Jews) is for their salvation.”
The prayer for the unbeliever is in regard to their salvation. That the issue be made clear, that doctrine will be presented, and that the witnessing and the evangelism will be so lucid that they will understand the issue. Prayer for unbelievers is legitimate and a part of your dynamics in intercessory prayer. Do not let anyone tell you that you cannot pray for the unsaved. Also remember not to attempt to violate their volition by asking God to make them believe in Christ.
The prayer for the unknown believer, Col 1:3-13. This is a demonstration of the power of impersonal love in spiritual autonomy, because spiritual autonomy has the greatest motivation in praying for those who are enemies and for those who are unknown. This demonstrates the functional virtue of impersonal love, and therefore, the status of spiritual autonomy.
Prayer for the known believer. The dynamics of Paul’s intercessory prayers for believers are seen in Eph 1:15‑23 and 3:14‑21. This is also a demonstration of brotherly love (PHILADELPHIA).
The true Lord’s Prayer is found in John 17 and is a great example of intercessory prayer. This demonstrated the dynamics of the Lord’s Prayer. The true Lord’s Prayer is found in John 17 not in Mat 6:9 ff. It is the most phenomenal prayer ever made. The template prayer of Mat 6:9-13 is an outline of how to pray and what to include, but it should not be repeated verbatim or repetitively as noted in Matt 6:7.
Mat 6:7, “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.”
Four Categories of How God Answers your Petition Prayers:
Each petition prayer actually has two parts:
- The petition which is what you actually say, whether it is a petition for yourself or an intercessory prayer for others.
- The desire, which is what you really want.
The four categories that follow show that God views both parts of your prayer as separate, and answers each part either positively or negatively. Therefore, God’s answer to each petition and desire can be defined in four ways.
Positive-Negative: In which the petition is answered with a positive but the desire behind the petition is not answered.
- 1 Sam 8:5-9, 19-20. The Jews asked for a king so that they could be like other nations, and God gave them a king, Saul, but they were not like other nations, and as a result they had more trouble than all the others. Petition: We want a king. But they lost all their blessings under the reign of Saul.
- In Num 11:5-35; Psa 78:17-30; 106:13‑15, the Jews were tired of the great Divine provision of manna, the greatest health food ever. They longed for the Egyptian meat and food they used to eat. God answered their petition with a yes; He sent them quail. But the desire for satisfaction or “food happiness” was not answered; instead, they suffered terribly from it and thousands died.
Negative-Positive: Where the petition is not answered but the desire is. This is where God says no to the petition but He gives you the desire behind it, Gen 17:18; 18:23-33; 2 Cor 12:7-10.
- In Gen 17:18-21, Abraham prayed that Ishmael, the son of Hagar, might be his heir. God said no to Ishmael becoming his heir, but yes to the desire behind it, to have an heir, for he eventually had Isaac.
- In Gen 18:23‑33; 19:20-22, Abraham prayed that God would spare Sodom. After bargaining with God, Abraham settled with asking God to spare Sodom if there were ten believers; he was sure there were at least ten believers in that large city of perhaps 200,000 people. He was wrong; there were only three believers. The petition to spare Sodom was answered no; the desire that Lot and his two daughters be preserved was answered yes.
Positive-Positive: The ideal prayer where the petition is answered and the desire is also answered – Yes and yes, 1 Kings 18:36-37; Judges 16:28; Luke 23:42-43; John 11:41-45.
In 1 Kings 18, Elijah built an altar, dug a trench around it, and prepared a sacrifice for the Lord. Then he instructed that water be poured on the offering and on the wood three times. So much water was poured that it filled the trench. Elijah then prayed that God would light his offering on the altar with fire. God answered yes, 1 Kings 18:38. His desire was expressed in 1 Kings 18:36, “O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, today let it be known that You are the God of Israel and that I am your servant, and I have done all these things at Your Word.” This was answered yes.
In Judges 16:28, Samson was blinded and tied up in the temple of Dagon. “Then Samson called to the LORD and said, “O Lord GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me just this time, O God, that I may at once be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.” Both his petition to strike the Philistines, and his desire to avenge were answered yes. Why? Not because God approves of revenge, but because of the degeneracy of the Philistines. Samson was the instrument that God used. He got his strength back, wrapped his arms around two pillars of the temple, and pulled the whole thing down on all of them.
In Luke 23:42‑43 is the petition of the dying thief. “Then he kept saying, `Jesus, remember me when You come into your kingdom.'” This petition was answered yes. His desire was for salvation, and Jesus answered this affirmatively in verse 43: “Jesus replied to him, `I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise.'”
In John 11:41‑45, the petition was for the resuscitation of Lazarus. The desire was that the bystanders who witnessed this might be saved. Both petition and desire were answered yes. Verse 45, “Therefore, many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary saw what He had done, and they believed in Him.”
Negative-Negative, or no and no: The worst prayer of all where neither the petition nor the desire is answered.
Why Prayer is Not Answered:
The fundamental reason why prayer is not answered is because the believer is under the control of the sin nature. In a state of sin, your prayers cannot be heard or answered. General reasons for failure in prayer are always related to carnality, being out of fellowship, residence in the cosmic system or reversionism.
Psa 66:18, “If I regard wickedness (cherish iniquity) in my heart (stream of consciousness of the soul), the Lord will not listen to me.”
“Cherishing iniquity” means not rebounding. Rebound (1 John 1:9) is a non‑protocol prayer. Rebound is a recovery procedure. Rebound does not belong to the spiritual life. Rebound must precede all Divine mandates of prayer, whether the mandates are in the Old or New Testament. Rebound is a non‑protocol prayer as an emergency procedure to get you back into fellowship with God immediately, 1 John 1:5-9.
In carnality, the believer grieves (Eph 6:18) and quenches the Spirit (1 Thes 5:19), and your prayers cannot be heard. The only prayer which can be heard is rebound, which is the private confession of your sins to God; in that sense, it is a prayer.
What the righteousness of God approves (personal prayer on behalf of self and on behalf of others), the justice of God answers through the love of God expressed through the grace of God, when the believer has first confessed their sins.
What the righteousness of God disapproves (the believer praying in a state of sin or in perpetual carnality), the justice of God does not answer.
The love of God provides the means and the solution for effective prayer through the grace of God, Psa 66:19-20.
Psa 66:19‑20, “But certainly God has heard; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer. 20Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer nor His lovingkindness from me.” Between verse 18 and verse 19 is Rebound.
Another reason for malfunction of prayer is always related to the believer’s rejection of Bible doctrine. Whatever your reason for rejecting doctrine, it means you have no understanding of the mechanics of prayer. Only Bible doctrine teaches the mechanics of prayer; only Bible doctrine teaches the will of God. Your prayers must comply with the will of God 1 John 5;14-15, and must follow the precisely correct protocol procedure for prayer.
Indifference to or rejection of Bible doctrine produces three categories of ignorance which guarantee the malfunction of your prayer life.
- Ignorance because of indifference to doctrine.
- Ignorance because of wrong priorities. If wrong priorities persist in your spiritual life, you’ll become a loser with no prayer life.
- Ignorance because of the arrogance complex of sins: jealousy, bitterness, vindictiveness, implacability, hatred, self‑pity, inordinate ambition, inordinate competition, vilification, slander, maligning, judging, creating the public lie, revenge motivation and modus operandi. Arrogant believers never get through to the throne of grace.
Failure to execute God’s mandates is a reason why prayers are not answered, 1 John 3:22.
1 John 3:22, “Furthermore, whatever we have asked, we receive from Him, because we continue to execute His mandates, and we keep on doing what is pleasing in His sight.”
- Therefore, prayer is related to your fulfillment of the Plan of God and the execution of the Christian way of life. Prayer becomes more and more effective as we execute His mandates. You can have effective prayer right from the start of your spiritual life if you execute His mandates. But to become a great prayer warrior demands your daily intake of doctrine and the daily use of the Problem-Solving Devices you have learned. Then you do not depend on others to solve your problems, but you handle your own problems from the doctrinal techniques you’ve been taught.
- To do “what is pleasing in His sight” describes spiritual adulthood when the believer reaches the peak in his prayer life.
- Hence, failure to execute His mandates and to attain spiritual adulthood (“do what is pleasing in His sight”) impedes, obstructs, inhibits, and undermines all effective prayer.
One of the Greatest Problems Related to Prayer is Concentration:
All forms of worship are a concentration test. This test can be divided into three categories.
- Concentration on the teaching of Bible doctrine. This reflects your values, your motivation, your spiritual condition, and your spiritual status quo. Bible doctrine should have number one priority in your life.
- Concentration in the communion service. The communion service is a reflection of the person and work of Christ.
- Concentration in your personal and private prayers, during public prayers when others are praying, and in your petitions and intercessions. Prayer is a challenge to concentration.
The pattern of concentration in all forms of worship is established in the function of perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine. If you can concentrate on Bible doctrine in time of stress, adversity, or even in time of prosperity, then you can concentrate in prayer.
There is a direct relationship between concentration in Bible study under the ministry of the Holy Spirit and concentration in prayer under the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Psa 4:4, “Tremble, and do not sin; concentrate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.”
Psa 63:6, “When I remember You on my bed, I concentrate on You in the night watches.”
See also Isaac’s example of studying and praying in private for concentrations sake, Gen 24:63.
The Mechanics of Prayer:
Public prayer should be short and should avoid repetition.
Mat 6:7, “And when you are praying (publicly), do not use meaningless repetition, as Gentiles do, for they assume that they will be heard for their many words.”
God is not impressed with verbiage. Remember, “God does not look on the outward appearance, but on the heart (right lobe).” Gen 20:6; Psa 139:23; Acts 15:8; Heb 4:12; 1 Peter 3:4.
Mat 6:5, “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.”
You cannot impress people and God at the same time with your prayers.
In public prayer, you always add the principles of impersonal love, flexibility, and thoughtfulness of others. You must be thoughtful of others in prayer who are gathered with you.
Long prayers should be reserved for private intercession and petition.
Mat 6:6, “But when you pray, go into your private room, and when you have shut the door, pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father, who sees in secret, will provide for you.”
The majority of your prayers should be conducted in private. Mat 6:6
Mat 6:6, “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
Organization is absolutely necessary in an effective prayer life. Therefore, you need an agenda, and the Bible suggests a four-fold agenda for your private prayers:
- Confession of sin is the first function of private prayer, 1 John 1:9; 1 Cor 11:31.
- Thanksgiving, Eph 5:20; 1 Thes 5:18.
- Intercession (praying for others), Eph 6:18.
- Petition (praying for yourself).
Confession of sin (1 John 1:9), if necessary, to ensure the filling of the Spirit. Only prayer offered in the status quo of the filling of the Spirit will be heard.
Thanksgiving expresses the concept of worship in private prayer. Thanksgiving is grace orientation; it recognizes the source of all blessing.
Eph 5:20, “Always giving thanks to God the Father for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Thes 5:18, “In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Capacity for thanksgiving comes from your personal love for God and your impersonal love for others. Capacity for thanksgiving increases as you grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Your thanksgiving to God is a part of your personal love for God. The more you love God and the more you appreciate Him, the greater your thanksgiving and the greater your alertness in prayer.
It is hard to stay alert when you are in a routine situation, doing the same thing over and over again – repetition of prayer – is not a good way to express your appreciation for God.
Intercession is praying for others, Eph 6:18; 1 Kings 18; James 5:16‑18. This is a spiritual ministry. It requires that you have your own private prayer list.
Petition is praying for your own needs and situations and includes being confused about a situation where you have not yet learned how to apply one or more of the Problem-Solving Devices for that situation. Therefore, it is prayer offered on behalf of self.
Heb 4:16. “Approach boldly the throne of grace, that we might obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
To approach boldly also means you approach in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ by the filling of the Holy Spirit.
Part of the mechanics of prayer is concentration. Concentration is a function of the filling of the Spirit, positive volition, and motivation.
Thanksgiving is a function of prayer.
Eph 1:16, “I do not cease giving thanks for you, and I make mention of you in my prayers.”
Col 1:3, “We give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.”
Phil 4:6, “Stop worrying about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
1Thes 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
The Old Testament has no concept parallel to the English word “thanks,” that is, simply an expression of appreciation to other persons or to God. What do the words “thanks” and “thanksgiving” mean in the Old Testament? The Hebrew word is YADAH – יָדָה (yaw-daw’), which with its derivative TODAH – תּוֹדָה (to-daw’) is often translated “thanks” or “thanksgiving.” It means, “to declare publicly” or “to acknowledge.” It is used of the confession of human sin and also of public confession of God’s character and works.
The New Testament words translated “thank” [EUCHARISTEO – εὐχαριστέω (yoo-khar-is-teh’-o)]; “thankful” [EUCHARISTOS – εὐχάριστος (yoo-khar’-is-tos)]; and “thanksgiving” [EUCHARISTIA – εὐχαριστία (yoo-khar-is-tee’-ah)] signify a thankful attitude and a demonstration of gratitude.
We are Commanded to Give Thanks:
Psalm 50:14-15, “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and pay your vows to the Most High; 15Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.”
Col 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it (concentration) with thanksgiving.”
Thanks should be offered:
- To God, Psa 50:14.
- To Christ, 1 Tim 1:12.
- Through Christ, Rom 1:8; Col 3:17; Heb 13:15.
- In the name of Christ, Eph 5:20.
- In behalf of ministers, 2 Cor 1:11.
- For our fellow believers, Rom 1:8; 2 Tim 1:3.
- Be exhorted to give thanks, Psa 105:1; Col 3:15.
- Resolve to give thanks, Psa 18:49, 30:12.
- Habitually offer thanks, Dan 6:10.
- Offer sacrifices of thanks, Psa 116:17.
- Abound in the faith with thanks, Col 2:7.
- Magnify God by offering thanks, Psa 69:30.
- Come before God with thanks, Psa 95:2.
- Enter God’s gates (worship) with thanks, Psa 100:4.
- Be accompanied by intercession for others, 1 Tim 2:1; 2 Tim 1:3; Philemon 4.
- Always accompany prayer, Neh 11:17; Phil 4:6; Col 4:2.
- Always accompany praise, Psa 92:1; Heb 13:15.
- Be expressed in our songs / psalms, 1 Chron 16:7.
Thanks should be offered for:
- The remembrance of God’s holiness, Psa 30:4; 97:12.
- The goodness and mercy of God, Psa 106:1; 107:1; 136:1-3.
- The gift of Christ, 2 Cor 9:15.
- The reception and effectual working of the Word of God in others, 1 Thes 2:13.
- Deliverance through Christ, Rom 7:23-25.
- Victory over death and the grave, 1 Cor 15:57.
- Wisdom and power, Dan 2:23.
- The triumph of the gospel, 2 Cor 2:14.
- The conversion of others, Rom 6:17.
- Faith exhibited by others, Rom 1:8; 2 Thes 1:3.
- Love exhibited by others, 2 Thes 1:3.
2 Thes 1:3, “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater.”
- The grace bestowed on others, 1 Cor 1:4; Phil 1:3-5; Col 1:3-6.
- The zeal exhibited by others, 2 Cor 8:16.
- Nearness of God’s presence, Psa 75:1.
- Appointment to the ministry, 1 Tim 1:12.
- Willingness to offer our possessions to God, 1 Chron 29:6-13.
- The supply of our wants, Rom 14:6-7; 2 Cor 9:11; 1 Tim 4:3-4.
- All men, 1Tim 2:1.
- All things, 2 Cor 9:11; Eph 5:20.
Thanks should be offered:
- In private worship, Dan 6:10.
- In public worship, Psa 35:18.
- Upon completion of great undertakings, Neh 12:31, 46.
- Before taking food, John 6:11; Acts 27:35.
- Always, Eph 1:16; 5:20; 1Thes 1:2.
The wicked are averse to offering thanks:
Rom 1:21, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
Prayer of thanksgiving and sanctification for food or saying “grace” before meals is a special prayer. This is a mandate for all believers.
1 Tim 4:4‑5, “For everything created by God is good for food, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude. For it is sanctified by means of the Word of God and prayer.”
This applies to all food, anytime, anywhere. God has created food to be received with thanksgiving.
To sanctify your food all the time, everywhere, is a very good idea for you never know what is in that food. There may be ingredients in the food that are very harmful, but offering this special prayer will protect you. In this way, you can still receive all the benefits from the food without any side effects, simply because you have sanctified that food.
Grace Before Meals has a Two‑fold Purpose:
- The expression of gratitude to God for His logistical grace support, which includes food. Thanksgivings before meals is a part of grace orientation with special emphasis on the appreciation of God’s logistical grace provision.
- Sanctification of that food to eliminate any potential, harmful effects. Thanksgivings before meals sanctifies the food, protecting the believer’s health from any possible impurities in the food, and so that the food will fulfill any requirements of the body when metabolized.
1 Tim 4:3-4, “Men who forbid marriage, and advocate, abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is beneficial, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with thanksgiving.”
To sanctify food requires one believer in fellowship offering a very short prayer asking God the Father to set apart the food.
To ask God to “sanctify” or “set apart” your food, means to ask Him to overrule any impurities that may have infiltrated the food; i.e., impurities from storage, from exposure, (to elements or creatures), and from virus or bacteria.
First you have to be thankful for the food, and then you have to know enough doctrine to know what to say in prayer. So, you must be in fellowship for your prayer to be heard.
To sanctify food takes no longer then one sentence: “Father, sanctify this food; in Christ’s name, Amen.” God isn’t impressed with a lot of words, especially unnecessary ones.
Prayer for Those in Authority Over Us:
As citizens of a client nation to God, this is a very important function for believers.
1 Tim 2:1‑3, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.”
- Verse 1 points out that there are certain people for whom we should express our thanksgiving to God in prayer. In addition, there is intercession on behalf of all mankind and petition for ourselves.
- Verse 2 gets specific; we are commanded to pray for governmental authority and all other authority.
When you reach spiritual autonomy, this prayer really becomes effective. Having impersonal love gives you the ability to forget about the personality, the idiocy, the antagonism, and to actually pray for those people with whom you do not agree, who are leading our nation the wrong way, or who are damaging our client nation.
Impersonal love gives you phenomenal power for such a prayer. The confidence to offer such a prayer comes from personal love for God.
Prayer for the Sick, James 5:15.
James 5:15, “And the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.”
Prayer for the Unsaved, Rom 10:1.
Rom 10:1, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.”
Paul prayed for the salvation of unbelieving Jews. Although you cannot pray that their volition will be coerced, you can pray that they will be exposed to the Gospel and have the opportunity to believe in Jesus Christ.
Prayer for Your Enemies, Mat 5:44.
Mat 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies (impersonal love), and pray for those who persecute you.”
This prayer reflects the phenomenal dynamics in Spiritual Autonomy from the confidence of Spiritual Self‑Esteem and the impersonal love of Spiritual Autonomy.
Prayer for Spiritual Adulthood:
Phil 1:9, “And this I pray, that your virtue‑love may abound still more and more in metabolized doctrine and all discernment.”
- Paul is praying that virtue‑love may abound still more. He is not praying that someone reach spiritual adulthood. He is praying about someone who is already in spiritual adulthood. He is praying that their application of metabolized doctrine will have a wider scope, a more effective use of virtue‑love.
- Virtue‑love is confidence from personal love for God and impersonal love toward man from Spiritual Autonomy. Virtue‑love is not only a Problem-Solving Device used to pass momentum testing, but at the same time, it is maximum effectiveness in prayer. This is especially true for these categories of special prayers.
Col 1:9, “For this reason, we also (Timothy, Titus, Luke, and Paul), from the day we heard (the Epaphras report – Pastor at Colossae), we have not ceased to pray for you, and to ask that you might be filled with the knowledge (metabolized doctrine) of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.”
Wisdom and spiritual understanding are characteristics of Spiritual Self‑Esteem and Spiritual Autonomy.
Prayer for the Communication and Communicators of Bible Doctrine; for Pastor‑Teachers, missionaries, evangelists, etc., 2 Thes 3:1; Heb 13:18.
Col 4:2-3, “Devote yourselves to prayer; in it, keeping alert with an attitude of thanksgiving, praying at the same time for us (teachers of Bible doctrine) as well, that God may open up to us a door for the teaching of the Word, so that we may communicate (teach) the mystery doctrine from Christ.”
Prayer of Widows, that is, ladies who become single either by the death, divorce, or abandonment of their husbands.
1 Tim 5:5, “Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone, and has fixed her hope (confidence) on God, she also continues in petitions and prayers (intercession) night and day.”
This special category of widows in spiritual adulthood can pray both night and day (more often than once a day) for themselves and for others. As a result of their very tranquil and uncomplicated life, they are able to be effective in continuous prayer on behalf of others.