Summary: Categories of prayers that God likes and dislikes

Prayer Types (10/17/2001)

Before we discuss prayer let’s actually pray.

God, bless these words and bless those that hear them. May the words fall on receptive hearts and be applied as truths from your word. Amen

The Bible says a lot about prayer. Did you know there are 667 prayers recorded in the Bible? Of those, there are 454 recorded answers. Prayer is powerful. So why do so many people have trouble praying? Perhaps the problem is in how we pray. As Francis Quarles said, "Heaven is never deaf but when man’s heart is dumb." So what makes our hearts dumb? Well there are some prayers God just doesn’t like. What? He doesn’t like prayers? That’s right. Jesus himself said so...

Matthew 6:5-13

5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

The prayers God dislikes most

There are lots of prayers that don’t make the cut. From looking at the inspired word I’ve discovered seven types of prayer that God doesn’t listen too.

1. Puffed up prayer - This could also be called the fluffy prayer because of all of its padding. This is like the prayer of the Pharisee. We pray for man to hear more than God. Someone said to a man who led in public prayer, "You should speak louder. I didn’t hear a word you said." His reply was, "I wasn’t talking to you." We need to be more like that guy. In school we often had to write 100 or 500 words essays. I often filled them with lots of redundant adjectives and fillers. "Thanks for the wonderful, awesome, incredible, magnificent gift that you gave to me as a gift for me." My teacher never fell for this and I don’t think God does either.

Two went to pray? Oh, rather say

One went to brag, the other to pray;

One stands up close and treats on high

Where the other dares not send his eye,

One nearer to God’s altar trod,

The other to the altar’s God

- Richard Crashaw

2. Memorized prayer - Talking to God isn’t a test of how much we can memorize. Praying means simply speaking to God. How many people memorize what they say to their friends each day and yet at night we start with "Now I lay me down to sleep…" This prayer may be good for kids because it encourages them to form a habit and sets an example for them to follow the rest of their lives. But it’s bad for Christians that want to mature. God reads the heart more than words. What’s our hearts saying if we’re just puking out what others tell us to say? There is no heart behind it. John Bunyan said, "When thou prayest, rather let thy heart be without words than thy words be without heart."

3. 911 Prayer - This is probably the most common. "God help me. Get me out of this jam." The only thing they got right is knowing where to turn for help. It’s often accompanied by the ...

4. Bargaining Prayer - This is the all too familiar prayer "I’ll do this, if you’ll do that." Who do we think we are? We rightly deserve to die in our sins. We are in no position to bargain. It’s only by his love and grace that we are even alive. Besides we know we’ll never keep our end. Do we really want God to pull the rug out from under us when we fail to keep it up?

5. Give me prayer - "God, you know I love you and that I do what you want but I need this that and the other." Again we speak with arrogance. How dare we think He owes us anything? He’s already paid all our debts 2000 years ago. He gave us life we owe him a lifetime of gratitude and servitude. There’s another form of this prayer that isn’t based on works. "God I need this. Give me that. Thanks, Amen." Often we claim the "ask and ye shall receive" verse here. And we tack on the magical phrase "In Jesus’ name". We are to pray in his name but this really means in his nature or character. We are to figure out how Jesus would pray and what he would ask for and then do the same.

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