The Things We Do At Prayer 099
Prayer 101 – Part 2.2
In our last installment we discussed the most common prayer styles and prayers we’ve come to learn. What if prayer is not something to be memorized? Have you considered that question? What if prayer is not just something you can memorize but much more? What if a memorized prayer was at the very bottom of the list of what prayer is and can be? That would mean, so might some of our other assumptions about prayer if we’ve never learned much about prayer in the first place. Today, I’d like to take you through a few popular assumptions or myths regarding prayer. Let’s call them Prayer 099 prayer assumptions.
Before I do that, please remember I started all this with a disclaimer. I am not trying to discredit what you call prayer or even what you know of prayer. This is next level prayer and it is our intention to help take prayer, even your prayer assumptions to the next level.
What We Know of Prayer is An Assumption
What if I were to tell you that what we commonly consider prayer to be is an assumption and has little support offered in scripture to back it up? Wouldn’t that be grounds to say I need to know more and need to learn more? If prayer is talking to God and prayer works, would you limit this conversation to these six approaches to prayer? Question: did Moses pray this way? How about Jonah? Paul? Jesus? Why then are we limiting ourselves in this way? Answer: we don’t know any better and that changes now!
- Prayer is a recited poem.
Prayer is a learned poem that I recite before bedtime or mealtime.
We call this a prayer that’s been memorized. How often are you reciting the same old prayer that you have for years? Maybe, it’s the same prayer your mother, father, grandmother or grandfather have prayed their whole life. Now you have your children reciting the same poems. I bet you’d even recite “The Lord’s Prayer” and call it prayer. If you think reciting lines you’ve memorized is prayer, then you have an 099 understanding of prayer and you have what you need to go to the next level.
“Our Father, which art in Heaven…”. I bet you want to continue. We’ve heard these words more often than most (51% or better) but have probably never given any thought to what they mean as it relates to them. Have you ever asked God what those words are saying to you? Next level. If you think reciting a prayer is prayer, I understand why prayer only produces little results for you. Why shouldn’t it? Little prayer, little results. Much prayer, much results. Will we stop at a memorized prayer when there is much more available? This is next level prayer!
- Prayer comes from a guidebook.
My prayer guide gives me a prayer that I read to God.
Many times denominations will provide guidelines for their church leaders (i.e. deacons, preachers, and pastors). These guidebooks often contain prayers they can pray for certain ceremonies, like funerals, weddings, and so forth. If this is what you think prayer is, then you too have a common (or worldly) definition of what it means to pray. This would qualify as a 099 level understanding of prayer.
I can’t recall ever reading where someone in scripture read their prayer. In fact, in a future lesson, I will reveal that the average person doesn’t even know the true meaning of the word. We’ll save that for later. At its basic definition that most understand, prayer is talking to God. If that’s the case, then why would we read a prayer to him. I’ve never been in a conversation with someone where I read to them what I wanted to talk about. Can you imagine calling your earthly dad up and simply reading to him a letter you’ve written and say you’ve had a conversation with him? Do you really think reading someone else’s words to God is prayer? How impersonal is that? Next level!
I can’t say this enough, you know what time it is. It’s time to take prayer to the next level. These assumptions are why people have very little interest in praying. There’s nothing fun about reading a prayer to yourself as if you’re talking to God. This is next level prayer!
- Prayer is what the elders do during devotion.
My theatrical prayers have caused others not to pray.
Although it’s been a while since I’ve been in a service that had a traditional devotion, the deacons, or church elders would lead the church in “prayer”. If you can call it that. Well, it sounds good and it’s practiced widely, however it doesn’t mean that it gets excluded from our list of common prayers or 099 level prayers.
The deacons would and still “pray” before the church. If you want the truth, they too just recite their own version of prayers with poetic verse. If this is what you think prayer is then you too have fallen prey to the “common” answer of what is prayer. The above statement may hurt a little, but it might be needed if you want prayers that bring results. Allow me to speak for me and maybe you might agree. For years I watched people go through the rituals and set these same examples for others and at the same time I watched as they received little to no results from it. There is one result I know occurs for sure, not very many people left there desiring to pray to God, who invites your conversation. Take a look at this.
I love the LORD because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! 
He bends down to listen to me. The God of the universe bends down to listen to me when I pray. When you pray. Next level!
099 assumptions of prayer have left us with a lack of desire to pray and I intend to change this. Prayer should be exciting. It should be uplifting. it should be life changing and while I’m here it should yield a response back from God. It should be your favorite activity of any given day.
- Prayer is the opening welcome during worship service or an event.
We call our invocations prayer.
While it’s tempting to let this one slide, I can’t. Just because someone recites a verse of scripture and mentions the Lord, or Jesus and welcomes you to a service, doesn’t mean you’ve prayed. Just because we bow our heads and someone acknowledges our Lord and Savior doesn’t mean we’ve prayed. If you’ve labeled this as prayer, it too is a “common” answer to the question of what is prayer; it’s an 099 level prayer. This is next level prayer. I can no longer sit on the sidelines as it relates to prayer. I know there’s more that the majority of people are missing. I know this because I experience next level results from prayer and I want you too as well.
What if your son or daughter came to the dinner table with a written invocation and gave it before you all ate dinner? Would you say he or she has prayed or would you find that to be strange and weird? Would you encourage them to do that before their friends? Or would you rather have them equipped to speak to God in a way that brought hope, peace, and excitement to those who heard how they addressed their Father who is in Heaven? Next level!
- Prayer is a service called “prayer service.”
We call it a prayer service yet very few people attend; why is that?
Prayer service is a gathering that’s held at a specified time that very few believers attend. Surprisingly I use this common term…I’m going to prayer, which means I’m going to attend a prayer service. You know what’s interesting is, if the folks at the prayer service received 90% answered prayer results, don’t you know these services would be the most popular church services we have? I offer this thinking if prayer is so successful then why wouldn’t our prayer services reflect the results we wish to see. Along with this thinking I offer this, maybe we are seeing the results we should be getting in our prayer services. If that’s the case, then if we take our prayer services to the next level, we should then see the results from our prayer services increase. This is…next level prayer.
- Prayer is the way in which we talk to God.
We wouldn’t dare say we went and spoke with God, instead we say we prayed.
You should be familiar with phrases like, “call Him up and tell Him what you want.” Here’s another, “send up some timber for me.” These phrases imply that one is going to pray. If prayer is talking to God, why then would a person shy away from saying they spoke with God? Well I’ll tell you. If someone told me they talked to God, I’d ask them what did He say when you were talking to Him? What did He say for you to do? When was the last time this person heard from God and what did He say since they’ve been talking to Him? The average person couldn’t answer this question for two reasons: a person who’s actually spoken with God can never again be average. Secondly, most (51% or more) never wait to hear His response and have no idea what it’s like to hear a response. Because the common person rarely reads their Bible, they have no idea of what it looks like or sounds like when God speaks. For example, did Adam speak with God? Did Adam pray? Did Joseph hear God speak to him? Did Joseph pray? If prayer is the way in which we talk to God, shouldn’t we use the Bible, the only book available, to show us how that’s done? This is next level prayer y’all!
I think this would be a good spot to take a break. Next week, we will continue with our message on “Prayer 099.” You, my friends, have begun the journey of taking your prayer to the next level. How far are you willing to go? I am willing to take this material as far as you can handle. This might be making you feel a little like Alice falling down the rabbit hole finding herself in a world unlike any she’d ever seen. That’s the experience we wish to bring you as you study with us on how to take your prayer to the next level.
Question: Which of these prayer assumptions are you most familiar with?
Reference #1: Psalms 116:1-2 NLT, Bible.com, accessed August 4, 2021, https://www.bible.com/bible/116/PSA.116.1-2.NLT
All Scripture references used by permission, see our Scripture copyrights.