The Full Armor of God
The Lance of Prayer and Supplication
Six kinds of Prayer
Paul says, “Praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”
The New Testament uses six different Greek words to describe prayer that is available to us. There are other words that some may list that have to do more with worship, or prayer words used that were only used by Jesus. God has given us six types of prayer that pertain to us.
Each of the six types of Prayer is different from the others, each is just as varied and different as the lances of the Roman soldier, and each is available to us in our fight of faith.
The six types of prayer mentioned in the New Testament can be categorized as: 1.) The prayer of Consecration, 2.) The prayer of Petition, 3.) The prayer of Urgent need, 4.) Prayer of Thanksgiving, 5.) Prayer of supplication, and 6.) Prayer of Intercession
Prayer of Consecration
The most common word for “prayer” found in the New Testament is taken from the Greek word proseuche (pros-eu-che). This particular word, and it various forms, is used 127 times in the New Testament. This is the word Paul uses in Ephesians 6:18, when he says, “ Praying always, with all prayer...” in both these instances the word prayer is taken from the word proseuche.
The word proseuche is the compound of the words pros and euche. The word pros is a preposition which means “ face to face.” It is the same word used to describe the relationship that exists between the Godhead.
John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God...” The word “with” is taken from the word pros. By using this word to describe the relationship between the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit is telling us that theirs is an intimate relationship. One translator has translated this to be “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was face to face with God...”
The word pros is also used in Ephesians 6:12 to describe our “close contact” with unseen, demonic forces that have been marshaled. Nearly, everywhere that the word pros is used in the New testament it is used to describe a close, upfront, intimate contact with someone else.
The second part of the word proseuche is taken from the word euche (eu-che). The word euche is an old Greek word, which describes “a wish, desire, prayer, vow.”
The word euche was originally used to describe a person who made some kind of vow to God because of a need or desire he or she may have had in their life. This individual would vow to give something of great value to God in exchange for a favorable answer to their prayer.
We can see an example of this by looking a Hanna, the mother of Samuel. Hanna out of her desire to have a child, made a solemn vow to the Lord.
The verse says, “And she vowed a vow, and said, O lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look upon the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life....” (First Samuel 1:11) The story goes on to tell us, “ And they [Hannah and her Husband, Elkanah] rose up in the morning, and worshiped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house in Ramah: and Elkanah knew his wife; and the Lord remembered her. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time 3was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bore a son...” (First Samuel 1:19,20).
In exchange for Samuel, Hannah vowed that her son would be devoted to the work of the ministry. By making this commitment, she gave her most prized possession in exchange for answered prayer. Technically, this was a euche, she made a vow to give something to God in exchange for answered prayer.
Often people seeking an answer to prayer would offer God a gift of thanks giving in advance, this was their way of releasing their faith in the goodness of God. This was their way of thanking God for his favorable response to their prayers.
Before the person would pray they would set up a commemorative alter, and thanksgiving was offered on it. Such offerings of thanksgiving are called “votive offerings” (from the word “vow”). These votive offerings were similar to a pledge that once his prayer was answered, the person would return to give additional thanksgiving to God.
All of this was in the background to the word proseuche, used more than any other word for “prayer” in the New testament. Keep in mind that most of Paul's readers were Greek in origin, and understood the full meaning and ramifications of this word. What a picture this is of prayer!
This tells us several important things about prayer. First, the word proseuche tells us that prayer should bring us “ face to face” “eyeball to eyeball” with God in an intimate relationship. Prayer is more than some mechanical formula or process to follow. Prayer is a vehicle to bring us into such a place that we can enjoy a close, intimate, relationship with God!
The idea of sacrifice is also associated with this “prayer” word. This word portrayed an individual who so desperately wanted an answer to his prayer that he was willing to give up everything in exchange for answered prayer. Clearly this demonstrates an alter of sacrifice and consecration in prayer, yielding our entire self to God.
The Holy Spirit may convict our hearts of these areas that need to be surrendered to His sanctifying power, He will never forcefully take these things from us, thus this word tells us of a place of decision; a place of consecration; an altar where we freely give our lives to God in exchange for his Life.
The word proseuche has to do with this type of surrender and sacrifice, this tells us that God obviously desires to do more then just bless us, he desires to change us!
Thus, this type of prayer primarily has to do with the concepts of surrender and consecration.
Due to the fact that thanksgiving was also a vital part of this common word for “prayer,” it tells us that a genuine prayer, offered in faith, will thank God in advance for hearing and answering. Thus when we come before the Lord in Prayer it is imperative we do not stop short of giving him the thanksgiving in advance for answering our prayers.
The word “prayer” used most often in the New Testament demands surrender, consecration, and thanksgiving from our lives.
This is the first “lance of supplication and prayer” that God placed into our hands. By learning to use this powerful prayer tool, we place our lives into the hands of God in a very consecrated fashion.
The Idea of proseuche is, “Coming face to face with God and surrendering your life in exchange for his, making consecration an ongoing part of your life and be sure to give him thanks in advance for moving in your life…”
Prayer of Petition
The second most often used word for “prayer” in the New Testament is taken from the word deesis. The word deesis and its various forms are translated “prayer and petition” more than forty times in the New Testament.
Paul uses this word in Ephesians 6:18 when he says, “Praying always, with all prayer and supplication…” In this verse, the word deesis is translated as the word supplication.”
Deesis is taken for the verb deomai, which most literally describes a “need or want.” This is the picture of a person with a kind of “need or want” in his or her personnel life.
As time passed, the word “need” began to take on the meaning of prayer, the kind of prayer that expresses ones very basic needs, not wants, such as better computers, better cars, etc. Rather, the word deesis has to do with the basic needs, which must be met in order for a person to continue in his or her existence. It is a cry to God for help that exposes your own insufficiency to meet your own needs.
We find that Jesus prayed this way in Hebrews 5:7, “ Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.”
The word “prayers” is taken from the word deesis. This tells us that the Lord was very aware of the weakness of His humanity. He recognized his need, and the Father’s ability to provide strength for Him, He prayed deeply from His heart and soul, asking the Father to provide divine assistance to help him in his humanity.
The Lord was so aware of His own need, that he “prayed” (deesis) with strong crying and tears. Some would attempt to make this new method of prayer and then try to teach it as doctrine to others. However this is not some new formula or new method of prayer. This was Jesus’ heart crying out to the Father, crying out for God to empower and strengthen Him and to meet His most basic needs of strength and power.
The word deesis can be found again in James 5:17, where the Word says, “Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly….” The phrase “prayed earnestly is also taken from the word deesis. Thus even though Elijah was a great man, he realized his inability to do anything significant for God. Out of a deep sense of need he prayed earnestly asking God to intervene on his behalf.
This type of prayer always stems from a person who is very aware of his or her own great need in life. The word deesis almost always protrays a cry for help. A person praying this kind of prayer (deesis) applies to God from his or her humility, requesting God to grant some kind of special petition – to provide such things as power to minister, or power to resist temptation, and so on.
Where proseuche had to do with surrender and consecration, the word deesis has to do with humility. This is the picture of a believer who recognizes their utter dependence on God. Therefore, knowing of their inability to meet their own needs – and knowing of God’s ability to meet them. They pray earnestly – sincerely-beseeching God from the deepest part of their spirit and soul to graciously provide on their behalf, to meet some type of want or need in their lives – whether it be mental, emotional or spiritual.
This intense prayer stems from our awareness of our own human frailty. This is prayer that exposes our own insufficiency and continual need for God.
The word deesis is used in Ephesians 6:18. In this verse, the word deesis is translated as the word “supplication.” The King James Version says, “ Praying always, with all prayer and supplications [deesis]…” A better rendering would be, “ Praying always, with all prayer and earnest, sincere, heart-felt petition…”
You may find other examples of dessis in 2Corinthians 8:4, and 1Thessalonians 3:10.
Next week we will look at the Prayer of Authority, The Prayer of Thanksgiving, and The Prayer of Intercession.