Places Designated for Prayer – Part 2
The Environment for Prayer – Part 2
How could it be that one believes prayer works and at the same time have results that say it doesn’t? When we realized that people had conflicting results when it comes to prayer, Pamela and I began writing and teaching on the subject of “next level prayer.” The conflict that we found time and time again was this. Everyone we’d asked this question, does prayer work, would respond yes. At the same time, the same people would find that their results in prayer often fell short of their expectations. That’s saying it nicely. The truth is, they felt like their prayers weren’t being answered. We call that a conflict. Out of this, we realized that most people, the majority both in and out of church, have very little knowledge of how prayer works. In this particular message we will hone in on the places designated for prayer away from home. The goal is not to discredit any of the preset ideas, but rather help you go beyond these to your next level when it comes to prayer.
When we posed the question of where do people pray when outside of the home we got several common answers that I’m sure you might be familiar with. Let’s discuss them.
The Temple or The Church
Jesus tells a story about two individuals who offered a prayer while in the temple. He says that one was a Pharisee, the regular church goer, and the other was a “despised” tax collector. The Pharisee prayed a religious prayer, a prayer that was common to Pharisees, which painted himself in a prideful light. While the tax collector prayed from a place of humility. Jesus goes on to say that the tax collector was the one who was left justified, heard, by God.  How’s that? Are we simply doing what’s religious, heads bowed and eyes closed? Have we done what the Pharisee would do? Are we limited not only how we pray, but where?
Praying in the temple or at church is what I call the religious places for prayers. These are the places where we expect to find prayer, either at the location or within a service at the location. We often hear a prayer given in church, but the problem is we usually don’t participate in that prayer. Thinking of it this way, leads me to this question. If we’re not participating in the activity, then can we truly call it prayer? Are we totally convinced that we’ve spoken to God when we’re at church? Do we leave church feeling as if God has spoken to me or has given an answer to something we’ve prayed? If this is the case and oftentimes it is, we need a place to pray on our own. Maybe this is one reason a person finds little excitement and motivation to pray, they think this is the only place for me. Could that be? Sure it could, but we’re introducing you to prayer at the next level.
Pulpit Prayer, Prayers from a Stage or Platform, and Devotional Prayer
Let’s talk about what we call and designate as pulpit prayer, prayers from a stage or platform, or devotional prayers. These prayers are given in front of people in a collective group. With this type of prayer we must be very careful for a couple of reasons.
- It’s easy to think that we should follow the example of those from the stage when it comes to prayer.
We can easily be mistaken that we must have eloquent prayers and use educated words as we often hear from the pulpit or church platform. Then there are those who speak in the King James language of the Bible. We many times think that if we can’t pray like that we’ve not prayed or sadly can’t pray.
We can easily be mistaken by the prayers of those leading devotions at our church. It seems as if they were gifted with a solemn, dignified, and devout voice for prayer and devotion.
While the platform and devotional prayers in front of a church congregation are necessary, we can’t allow this to define what prayer is and define what prayer looks like for you. It’s not often we will use these styles of prayer at home.
Keep in mind that most people, even those on stage or even out front could benefit from taking prayer to the next level. Don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m not saying these places for prayer aren’t good or beneficial. Allow me to remind you that a little prayer goes a long way in the same way a little faith can move mountains.
- Don’t be mistaken that the prayers we hear or see are effective. Jesus goes on to warn us concerning prayer. He says “when you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get.”  You see, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you desire answered prayers and not a prayer performance with no results. [To the left] Therefore, we must learn how to take prayer to the next level because the average prayers are nothing more than a rehearsed performance.
To be totally transparent, I can only recall one place in scripture where a genuine public prayer was rendered. It was given by King Solomon. Regardless, my question in mentioning that is this? Do our public prayers model what we find in the only guidebook we have for prayer? Because we rarely see prayer modeled using Biblical examples, we’ve concluded it’s time to take this to the next level.
Then there’s the “prayer room,” the place where people “called” to pray meet to pray specifically for their local church. More on that later in this series. But for this message, this message is not for a traditional prayer-warrior, because that term, that thought, gets a bad name. I don’t like to call the people on our prayer team “prayer-warriors” because that gives them a bad connotation. That makes them seem like they’re just like every other ordinary person who prays. Therefore I call them pray-ers. They’re people who pray. They are people who enjoy having a conversation with God.
In fact, in our prayer room, in our prayer times, we call it the training ground for prayer. We come together not only to pray but to learn how to improve in prayer. That’s our gift. What is it to be gifted in prayer and you have nothing to improve upon? How in the world can you be a next level person, a growing believer, and your prayer not improve? You mean to tell me that year after year the way you pray remains the same? There is no one who can be connected to God and remain the same in anything that she or he does. Where is the improvement? The Bible says that we’re like a tree planted by the waters, the rivers, where the water is our leaves remain green, healthy, and growing. What I mean is, we should flourish, we should blossom, we should get better. The Scripture also says that when we’re connected to the true vine, the only result is we become successful. When we’re not connected to Him, we wither away and lack success. The same happens in your time of prayer. Prayer, connecting with God produces good results; it produces success. This is a next-level prayer. Don’t get it twisted, this is the next level of prayer.
I heard someone say that they pray at work. I think this is awesome. If there is ever a place we find that we need prayer, work would be high on the list. So I asked this follow-up question. What does that look like? If we’re going to transform the world in the area of prayer, we need to be able to help others with ideas on how to get this done.
Not to go into too much detail I have a couple of beneficial practices that I’ve put in place.
- As I enter the parking lot and certainly before I enter the building for the first time that day, I offer a prayer for the success of the company that I work for as well as for favor in the work that lies ahead of me for the day.
- I’ve incorporated a habit of walking around the building each time I take a restroom break. On those walks, I have an opportunity to pray over whatever comes up in my world between my last interval of prayer. If you’re serious about praying then you’ll do something serious to make sure you pray. What can you do while you’re at work to boost your prayer? How can you transform this into a place of prayer? This is next level prayer.
In the Car
Another person mentioned how they pray in the car. This brings back great memories for me as one of my early places to pray was in my car. Many have heard my story about how next level prayer was born. I had this little white Ford Escort GT with no radio and I used my office commute in the car as my prayer time. This time in my car speaking with God changed my life and you spending time talking to God will do the same. Why not make your car a sanctuary for prayer? This is next level prayer!
At the Gym
Another voice said they pray at the gym. In other words, their favorite time for prayer is while working out. What better place to put your thoughts on Jesus than when you’re exercising? When I take my mile run in the morning, I pray. In fact, it’s one of the most enjoyable times for me. I try my best to honor God in prayer with every step I make. I use my running to remind me of how good God has been, giving me the strength & ability to simply run, sweat, breathe heavily, and tire. When you involve God in every part of your life you can be sure to have a life that exceeds normal. This is next level prayer.
The mountain or the Housetop
Pamela and I threw this one in there. I call it serious prayer. It’s the type of prayer time that requires a lot of you physically to get there. You’ll hear some of the giants in faith speak of how they might climb a hill or get up extremely early or stay up very late to pray or even go on an extreme fast. Some might even have more extreme rituals or measures that he or she takes. The point is they do something extreme to get to a place of prayer. There are two examples I’d like to use to illustrate this point:
- Jesus went up on the mountain to pray.
When we hear or understand it was Jesus, we take the extremity away from it. But the truth is, Jesus left home and went up on the mountain. He left the comforts of home to pray. He traveled some distance and exerted energy to get to His place for prayer. It’s written that Jesus went up on the mountain to pray and He prayed all night so that at daybreak He was ready to choose men from his disciples to become the twelve apostles. If Jesus had a place He chose to pray to make the important decisions, where’s yours? This is next level prayer!
- Peter went up on the flat roof to pray.
It’s written that Peter went up onto a flat roof to pray. From this prayer a few things happened: one of which was that Peter had a vision and secondly, his time of prayer prepared him for something that had never happened. The gift of God’s spirit was poured out on the Gentiles. When was the last time you went to your special place of prayer, not your normal, ordinary place of prayer? When I say special, I mean the place where you heard God in a way unlike the normal times? Your time with God can be amazing. That’s what Peter experienced and so can you. This is next level prayer.
As we consider the places away from home designated for prayer, think of that special place you like to pray. Each year after our annual time of fasting and prayer, Pamela and I end our exercise of prayer by visiting a very special place. It’s the place where I heard God clearly. It’s a place that reminds me of the covenant (a pact) that He made with me and I with Him. This place is special. You see, when you encounter God, the place becomes special. Just ask Moses what happened to him at the burning bush. Where’s your burning bush? Don’t just limit your place of prayer to just a singular place. Share and experience time with God at as many places as you possibly can. This is next level prayer!
Question: what’s your place(s) of prayer you’ve designated away from home?
 Luke 18:9-14 NLT, Bible.com, accessed July 26, 2022, https://www.bible.com/116/luk.18.9-14.nlt
 Matthew 6:5 NLT, Bible.com, accessed July 26, 2022, https://www.bible.com/116/mat.6.5.nlt
 Jeremiah 17:8 NLT, Bible.com, accessed July 26, 2022, https://www.bible.com/bible/116/JER.17.8.NLT
 John 15:5-8 NLT, Bible.com, accessed July 26, 2022, https://www.bible.com/bible/116/JHN.15.5-8.NLT
 Luke 6:12-13 NLT, Bible.com, accessed July 26, 2022, https://www.bible.com/116/luk.6.12-13.nlt
 Acts of the Apostles 10:9 NLT, Bible.com, accessed July 26, 2022, https://www.bible.com/116/act.10.9.nlt
All Scripture references used by permission, see our Scripture copyrights.