THREE LEVELS OF PRAYER
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus
I have observed three approaches to prayer which progress from level to level. The first level is petition. We are encouraged to let our requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6). If it helps us to keep a list of daily prayer reminders, we should do so. However, most people weary of this, and their devotional life disappears over time. Often they don't see immediate results from their prayers, so they conclude that more can be accomplished if they just get busy for the Lord.
We've progressed to the second level when prayer becomes personal. We have discovered a new dimension when we are comfortable in His presence and don't feel obligated to talk. It's much like a marriage relationship. A mature couple can ride together in the car for hours, enjoying each other's company, without having to say a word. I can just be with God and I'm learning to listen.
Realizing that I need not feel obligated to keep the conversation going when I'm with God has changed my prayer life dramatically. This kind of prayer makes my relationship with God a 24-hour-a-day experience. Setting aside special times for prayer is still important. But when we leave our quiet time, the sense of God's presence should remain with us throughout the day.
I call the third dimension of prayer true intercession. True intercessors hear from God. They know how to pray and what to pray for. In my observation, there are very few true intercessory prayer warriors. The ones I know of are usually older than 50 and most are women. They pray privately in their homes and often at night. Every church has at least one or two of them. Share your family needs with them. When these people pray, things happen because they don't just talk to God, they listen to Him.
Prayer: Father, I want to grow in all dimensions of prayer to the point that I sense Your presence and hear Your voice.
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