Three Versions of Prayer
by Steve Bacon
Consider with me these three versions of prayer: the seeker’s prayer, the soldier’s prayer and the sufferer’s prayer.
The Seeker’s Prayers
The seeker’s most critical prayer is the sinner’s prayer. It is the prayer that establishes the new birth and fellowship with God. The new believer embarks on the life-long process of seeking transformation through discipleship. “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, (Jeremiah 29:13-14a). Over time, the seeker’s prayers become focused and intentional inevitably leading to a deeper understanding and intimate fellowship with Christ.
The Soldier’s Prayers
Soldier’s prayers arise from the trenches and battlefields of warfare. They are cries for courage and strength. They are burden-laced words spoken in intercession for unsaved loved ones often asking for wisdom and creative ways to reach them. They are prayers beseeching the Lord to send workers into His harvest and prayers to keep ones’ eyes fixed on Jesus while standing on storm driven waves. At times, the soldier is compelled to pray through the night as the Lord did the evening prior to calling His disciples (Luke 6:12-16).
In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus personally used the soldier’s prayer to strengthen and prepare Himself to endure the cross. While at the same occasion, He warned His disciples to also pray the soldier’s prayer so they might escape the temptation that would soon overcome them (Luke 22:39-46).
The Sufferer’s Prayers
Offered for strength and bravery in times of trials, the prayers of one suffering for Christ are spoken when there is no evidence that deliverance will soon be realized. They are prayed when it appears there is nothing standing in between themselves and utter devastation. These are the prayers of the widows and orphans in lands where persecution of Christians is permitted and even encouraged. They are the prayers of the victim seeking justice, but finds none.
Obedience to Christ often involves seasons of suffering when one can feel alone and abandoned as Elijah once did as he fled from Jezebel. Suffering can cast a thick cloud that seems to hide the promises of God. Fear will propose another bid to rule the soul and rob the peace that belongs to a child of the King. But in every instance, the prayers of the suffering saint, regardless if they are reduced to groaning’s uttered when words are lost in the depth of sorrow, will always prevail.
The enemy sends his envoys against every version of prayer a disciple will use knowing he has no real defense except to discourage the one offering up their prayer. All the enemy can do is release distraction and doubt into the atmosphere while the praying disciple awaits heavens’ response. The devil can only win if the disciple gives up or gives in.
A Laotian proverb is posted on the wall in my office that reads, “Distance proves the horse.” It means that genuine tenacity is discovered over time. A disciple may not know how, when or what to pray at every turn. What matters is that they determine, with all their heart, to learn about prayer and make the practice of it a priority.
- Of these three versions of prayer: seeker, soldier or sufferer, which do you find yourself using at this point in time?
- Take a moment and write a prayer that reflects what you need to communicate to the Lord.
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Distance proves the horse. How true that is for us believers. The Christian life is not a race it’s a marathon. We look back in the last couple of months as we morned the death of two great marathoners, R.C. Sprout and Billy Graham. Men, who over their many years, taught that prayer is at the very core of every believers life. We will face many trials, battles and victories. We will have our times of doubt, confusion and loneliness. But as we learned, it is prayer that keeps us focused, strong, hopeful and wise. It keeps us from being DOUBLE minded in through these things. And only through continued obedience will we experience all the Lord’s promises and provisions and the abundant life. Have a great day church.
I pray for more discipline, less distraction; more time with my Lord, less wasteful minutes that turn to double digits; more mindful and heart-filled prayer, less selfishness.
I’m a seeker and soldier by God’s grace, and my suffering has been very minimal. To think of our brothers and sisters in other countries who suffer horribly for their belief in God is something that is foreign to us as Americans, but let us pray for those sufferers even more fervently.
I really enjoyed these 3 versions of prayer which all believers have experienced at some point in time. That was and is my experience. As an unbeliever, I had to pray the sinner’s prayer which happened 42 years ago this March 18th. Going back even further in time, I made a few battle field promises that I did not keep of course and realizing now, had no intention of doing so. But as we know, the Lord’s sovereign plan was implemented. Which I say a hearty AMEN and alleluia. As Peggy wrote, our suffering here cannot be compared to what believers are experienced in other parts of the world. It is amazing how those believers say we have it worse than they do because of the affluence we have here.
We are all soldiers, whether we are willing to engage the enemy is the choice the Lord allows us to make, not without its consequences if we go awol. Here is the apostle Paul’s version of a soldier, ” Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus”. ( 2 Timothy 2:3)