Defining What It Means to Pray in a Manner

What It Means to Prayer in a Manner?

 

What Manner of Prayer is This? – Part 2

So Pamela and I held a round table discussion using the question, “what does it mean to you to pray in a manner?” We gave the participants no background detail or any additional information other than the question itself. As we often find, when asking questions of church-people, these individuals assume they know more about a subject than they actually know. By the way, this is common. It’s normal and expected. You see, it’s only when asked the question does one recognize that he or she doesn’t have a good response for the question asked. For this reason, next level prayer is important. We want to see to it that people who believe and depend on prayer know what they are doing. With that said, allow me to share the most common responses we received from the discussion.

1 – The KJV Method
I thought this response was interesting, but not surprising. It’s implied for some that praying in a manner means to follow a King James Version model for praying. What that means and sounds like is this. You have to insert your “thee’s” and “thou’s.” You might use words like hither and whither. Listen to this…

“Father, I stretch my hand to Thee,
No other help I know;
If Thou withdraw Thyself from me,
Ah! whither shall I go?” [1]

Let me come clean. I actually like this. I know that might surprise some. I’ve found this extreme love for prayer. I might never admit that in public because that sounds a little weird. At any rate, I never realized that this opening to many of my own dad’s prayers was actually a hymn. Now that angers me. I had to become older before I even knew from “whence” this came. If this is our model for prayer, then we either have to learn the language or translate it into a language we can understand. That’s if we plan on going to the next level in prayer. If you don’t understand what you’re saying, how then is it prayer? At any rate, this was just one of the responses to defining praying in a manner. Let’s move on to the next.

2 – Prayer Habits
For this one the actual participants made a great observation. Having a habit of prayer is praying what we believe is right and it doesn’t always mean that it is right. It’s just a habit we’ve picked up. As you know it’s easier to pick up bad habits than good. If this is the case, more times than not we pick up bad habits, even when it comes to prayer. We find that many of the practices we have in prayer are based on actions that aren’t necessarily found in the Bible, bad habits. In fact, the various prayer postures we have are off-base when it comes to what we find in scripture. Therefore, having a habit of prayer is a good place to start if you want to go to the next level, but we can not stop at simply having a habit.

3 – The Lord’s Prayer
This most popular prayer obviously had the greatest response. It’s often called the Lord’s Prayer or the Disciples’ Prayer. However, rarely does a person ask the question, why does this prayer exist in the first place? It came out of the desire that the disciples had to take their prayers, prayer exercise to the next level. They saw it done and saw the results that another group of disciples and even the results Jesus was having when He prayed. In fact, the prayer style had nothing to do with them experiencing miracles or even healings. It was more of seeing another person relating to God in a more personable way. It was from their desire to want MORE that Jesus sat down with them and taught them in what I call “next level prayer.”

While I’ve seen others recite this prayer word for word, I’m certain this is not what it was designed for. Considering the disciples and their culture have many prayers that get recited already, they saw something that contradicted their normal traditions of prayer and wanted a next level teaching on the subject. Going to the next level means you’re in contradiction to what is normal. As a result, The Lord gave them “The Lord’s Prayer” which I’m renaming as “The Next Level Prayer.” Now for the final answer we received.

4 – Types of Prayer
The last response, we will share the answer to the question that comes to mind when we think of the term “manner of prayer” is this. In other words, types of prayer. This phrase looks to be pretty straight forward until you ask what are types of prayer? I found seven so-called types of prayer: worship, thanksgiving, faith, intercession, corporate, consecration, and Holy Spirit. While I can certainly punch holes in each one of these, we don’t have the time for that. These are not prayers. Worship is worship and is not a substitute for prayer or speaking with God. The same is true for thanksgiving, faith, etc. All these actions which are often confused as prayer are good in their own rights, but they are not prayer. The only one of these that can be considered prayer is intercession, but why would we have to call it intercession if the term prayer means the same?

Not to go too far to the extreme in this thought. The idea is to identify what it means to pray in a manner. The list I’ve given above would be manners in which we pray even though those manners are misconstrued as prayer. If you do some research, what you will find is a mixture of concepts and varying numbers to what people call types of prayer. Some say there are 3 types of prayer, others, 4 types, and then 7, 9, 10, 12, and so on. Now which is it? It can not be this ambiguous. Or could it be an unknown concept because of the lack of knowledge found on the subject of this word, prayer? What that tells me is there is MORE to it? There’s some next level learning and discussion that must be had. We’re here to help you get to MORE.

Define Praying in a Manner.
The phrase “pray in this manner” means to pray like this. In Rocco A. Errico’s book, Setting a Trap for God, the phrase “pray in this manner” or “pray this way” is translated to mean “to pray something like this.” [2] It doesn’t mean to recite what’s written. It means, if you want to pray like Me, Jesus, then do it something like this. Do it this way.

With this in mind, praying in a manner means to pray something like the one who teaches how to pray. John’s disciples prayed in a way or manner that John taught. Jesus’ disciples prayed in the way that Jesus taught. What I’d like to offer is that you learn how to pray by the way God taught. See how it’s done in your Bible and take what manner of prayer you currently have to the next level. In other words, get better at prayer each time you get into the Bible, God’s words to us. This is how next level prayer works.

It’s imperative that we’re cautious and careful with the habits we form and the lack of understanding we might have. It’s up to us to ask our Savior to teach us how to pray. Ask Him to show us in the Bible how others prayed and let’s define and redefine all the manners of prayer we find in its pages. This is how we will take our manner of prayer to the next level.

Question: what are some of the ways you’ve found in your Bible that can be a prayer model for others?

[1] Charles Wes­ley. “FATHER, I STRETCH MY HANDS TO THEE.” HymmTime.com. Accessed August 22, 2022.  http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/f/a/t/i/fatistre.htm
[2] Errico, Rocco A. Setting a Trap For God: The Aramaic Prayer of Jesus. Missouri: Unity. 1997.‭‭
All Scripture references used by permission, see our Scripture copyrights

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