“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints….”Eph 6:18 (KJV)
Notice this verse says, “Praying always with all prayer….” One translation says, “Praying with all manners, or all kinds of prayer.” (NIV) There are different kinds of prayer for different situations. One reason some are discouraged in their prayer life is because they have not been receiving answers when they pray. This is probably because they have not understood the various rules that govern the world of prayer.
You cannot pray any way you want and expect to receive an answer from God. You have to learn what type of prayer works in each situation that you face. There are certain laws that govern certain kinds of prayer and you have to understand what they are or your lack of understanding will undermine what you’ve been believing for.
Different Types of Prayer
Kenneth E. Hagin once made a statement that accurately illustrates the point I’m trying to make here. He said, “The world of prayer is like the world of sports. There are different types of sports such as golf, hockey, football and basketball and they all play by different rules. The same is true for the world of prayer.”
Praying the wrong kind of prayer in a situation is like trying to play football with basketball rules or golf with tennis rules. It just doesen’t work. Many times we make the mistake of mixing the different types of prayer together and as the result, we don’t receive answers.
In this article, I want to touch on one of the many types of prayer that should be a part of every Christian’s personal ministry. I call this type of prayer: ministering unto the Lord.
The Holy Spirit Said…
In the thirteenth chapter of Book of Acts, we find an example of what happens when we minister to the Lord.
Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, having fasted and prayed and laid hands on them, they sent them away. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. Acts 13:1-4 (NKJ)
Notice what it says here. “As they ministered to the Lord…the Holy Spirit said….” (Verse 2)
Many are missing what God is trying to say to them because they don’t spend time ministering to the Lord in their private life. When you’re in a church service, it’s easy to ride everybody else’s faith. You can ride the praise of the choir and feel great, but when you go back home to be with your spouse and the family dog, all you’re going to do is be grouchy and fight with one another. That’s what happens when you ride a church’s corporate flow or other people’s spiritual development: you become a spiritual parasite.
Refusing To Grow
I know people who are sixteen-years-old in the faith, but cannot carry their own weight spiritually and they think they’re fine. Remaining a baby is not fine, my brother and sister! If you met a sixteen-year-old who acted like a five-year-old, you’d say, “What’s wrong with this person? Is this person mentally ill? Is there a problem here physically?”
I often run into ten-year-old Christians who refuse to develop themselves in God. When I begin to put a demand on them to grow up, they have a frantic little baby tantrum!
“I don’t want to grow up,” they say through their actions and attitudes, “I want to stay the way that I am: nice and ignorant! Let me ride your faith and let me depend upon your prayers!”
Christians who refuse to grow beyond baby stage dwarf their pastor’s ability to preach the depths of God’s Spirit to them. That’s why some pastors have no desire to go deeper in their preaching, because their congregations never want to mature beyond babyhood and dependency. God wants people that are strong and self-governing so they can carry spiritual and natural responsibilities and help the church progress. There are revelations that God wants to give to churches and ministries but He can’t because the people refuse to go down the road of growth and maturity. One of the ways for Christians to grow spiritually is by ministering to the Lord.
Ministering To The Lord In Private
Ministering to the Lord is supposed to be done in your private devotional life more than in the public arena. If the people would learn to minister unto the Lord privately, they would hear God’s voice more often.
If you don’t know the will of God for your life, or if you don’t ever hear the voice of God, it’s probably because you have not been ministering unto the Lord in your private devotions.
This is sometimes called the prayer of fellowship, but I like to use the term that’s in the Bible, ministering unto the Lord. This is not the “give me” prayer. This is not the, “Oh God, help me” prayer. This is a ministry that all born again individuals have the privilege of doing.
Notice in this particular verse that after they ministered to the Lord and fasted, “the Holy Ghost said.” (Acts 13:2) When you need advice, the greatest place to get godly counsel is from God. Many Christians run to their family and friends for advice when they get into a mess. If they would spend time ministering to the Lord they would hear from God and never have to worry about getting the wrong counsel.
Spiritual Warfare Vs. Ministering To The Lord
Many times, the lack of hearing God’s voice, the lack of God’s guidance and the lack of God’s manifested presence is not because the devil is resisting you, it is because you have not spent time ministering unto the Lord.
If there’s a dormancy of divine communication in your life, it may not be an anointing you need to receive. It may not be a prayer line you need to go through. It may not be a deliverance that you need. It may mean you need to get down on your knees, by yourself, and worship God out of the depths of your heart.
I believe in fighting devils and knocking them out — I like doing that — but there have been times in my life when the heavens seemed quiet and binding and loosing didn’t work. This may happen to you. You may run into situations where you confess, pray, intercede, get anointed, go through prayer lines, go to a special seminar, but nothing will bring what you need. All these things may help you to some degree, but there are times when ministering to the Lord is the only thing that will bring your breakthrough.