PRAY BY THE RULES;
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
In the world of sports, there are all kinds of games but different rules apply to them. You cannot for instance play soccer with volleyball rules, neither can you play basketball as though you were playing handball. Although some ball games may have similarities in the way they are played, there’re certain rules peculiar to each ball game that distinguishes it from others. It’s the same way with prayers. There are different kinds of prayers that we ought to pray in different situations, and they all have different rules, laws or principles that must be applied for them to be effective.
The Amplified Bible translation of our opening scripture says, “Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of ] prayer and entreaty…”. In 1 Timothy 2:1 Paul instructs Timothy on the issue of prayer and gives him a list of different kinds of prayer: “I exhort therefore, that first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men” (1 Timothy 2:1). Notice that the prayers listed here are all in plural—“supplications,” “prayers,” “intercessions,” “giving of thanks.”
Apart from these, there’re also the prayer of agreement, the prayer of dedication or consecration and prophetic prayer. These different kinds of prayer require faith for them to be effective, but the Scriptures show us there’s also a definite prayer of faith with its own guiding principles.
In order to understand the subject of prayer and how to pray effectively, you must recognize that there are different circumstances and situations in life and the same prayer doesn’t apply to all of them. Sometimes, people apply the rules of one prayer to another or pray the wrong prayer in certain situations and wonder why they don’t have results. No, you can’t have results that way; you’ve got to pray by the rules to have results!
1 John 5:14-15