Read Matthew 6:9-13
Have you ever felt intimidated about prayer…especially in public? You may have caught yourself comparing yourself to your Sunday School teacher or some other spiritual leader. “I’ll never pray like that!” you tell yourself.
Maybe so, but you probably forgot to consider the level of maturity that believer may have reached. After all, we mature spiritually just like we mature physically…over a period of time. In many ways it would be like a five-year-old child comparing himself to his dad, and wondering why he can’t do the things dad can do.
There is no difference when it comes to prayer. Many levels, in fact, exist between “now I lay me down to sleep” and the most intense level of spiritual warfare. Consider the following:
Level 1: Beginner. This level is where a believer first starts to realize that it is possible to personally talk to God about those things of concern. Most of the focus is on one’s own immediate needs.
Level 2: Growing. As you develop in prayer, you will start to see growth. This will come as you start to reach out beyond yourself and your family and broaden your self-centered praying to include a wider scope of requests (e.g. missionaries, crime, the nation, etc.).
Level 3: Imitation. As you move on to the third level, you will become more aware of how others are praying. You may not feel comfortable praying out loud, but you should be sensing a greater desire to learn about prayer. This level is caught more than taught. As a result, you will want to start learning more about prayer by listening to sermons or reading books.
Level 4: Intercession. At this point, you should begin to find yourself with more of a burden to intercede (prayer on behalf of others). This burden causes you to want to spend more time in the Father’s presence and bring the needs of others to Him. Your prayers focus on His will and His perspective on the things for which you are praying. Another thing you will probably notice at this level is that prayer no longer seems like an obligation. In fact, you may be looking for more time to set aside to pray.
Level 5: Investigation. You will find your faith increasing to believe God can and will do what is asked for in prayer. There is a reaching out to believe for bigger and greater things. Added to the foundation already laid is the need to learn more from others about different aspects of prayer. People at this level often seek out prayer partners. As in previous levels, imitation seems to be the key to unlocking this level.
Level 6: Prayer Warrior. Here the term “spiritual warfare” is often heard. When you operate at this level, your faith and vision will really be at work. Not only are you willing to defend yourself and your loved ones against the attacks of the enemy, but now you “go against the gates of hell.”
Review the six levels of prayer described above. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you where you are at, then pray for a burden to reach the next higher level. To build a “house of prayer” at Grace Church, prayer must begin in your home. How can you improve your prayer life?