Prayer is communicating or conversing with God. When you communicate with other people you make use of a variety of types of communication, sometimes asking questions, sometimes encouraging or challenging or even correcting others. So it is as we communicate with God.
There are 5 major types of communication or prayer we express:
Praise is honoring or celebrating God for WHO He is.
Thanksgiving is recognizing God for WHAT He does.
Confession is agreeing with God about what is right or wrong with your life.
Intercession is calling upon God to help in the need of someone else.
Petition is calling upon God to help with your personal needs.
Additionally and most importantly the remaining part of communication with God is LISTENING (more about that in a future post).
Many of us have familiarity with petition or even intercession, where we are asking God for things. There’s nothing wrong with that and in fact God invites us to ask Him for things (Mark11:24). Deepening our communication with God will require that we grow in our ability to pray in additional ways.
Today I’m encouraging you to focus on praying praise, that is, reflecting on the wonderful nature of God and telling Him what you think and believe about Him.
However, don’t mistakenly think that God needs us to praise Him as if He were someone trying to do His best and we’re tasked with lifting His esteem. God doesn’t need our praise or our worship or our honor (see Acts 17:24-25). We need to praise and worship God. It does something to us and for us to rightly recognize God or celebrate God.
I play basketball at a local YMCA. Recently a new guy showed up and wanted to play and it was obvious that he had seldom played the game. Within a short time I found myself irritated because I felt he was ruining the game. In my frustration I sensed God nudging me to encourage and affirm this guy when he did something right. When I began to praise him for doing something well my heart was becoming open to him; praising someone was undoing the hardening that a critical spirit was forming in me.
Rightly praising God softens my heart, redirects my focus from the irritating things to the Indescribable One and moves me from “huffing and puffing” an existence to freshly breathing in Life.
As we journey together today, with every few steps speak aloud or in your heart words of praise toward our great God.