A Bible Study on Prayer
Just as is the case with most religions, prayer is one of the most important disciplines of Christianity. The Lord's Prayer is one of the most famous. It contains five different elements, and no Bible study on prayer would be complete without analyzing them. They need not be considered in any particular order.
To adore the Lord is simply to worship Him. That is why the Lord's prayer begins with, "Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name." What better way could there be to begin your prayer time? As you worship the Lord, you begin to sense His presence. That consciousness of His presence will enable you to present your requests to Him with greater confidence that He will hear and answer.
Of all the requests you could bring to the Lord, the request for the forgiveness of your sins is one of the most important. "Forgive us of our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." The implication exists here, and in other parts of the Bible, that if you would have your own sins forgiven, you need to be willing to forgive the sins of others. The good news is that all it takes to receive forgiveness from the Lord is to confess your sins to Him. You should seek to extend that same grace to others.
A lot of people spend most of their prayer time asking the Lord for things. There is nothing wrong with that, but you should thank Him for what He has already done first. This practice also reminds you that there is never any point in your life when you have nothing to be thankful for. You can always think of someone somewhere in a worse situation than you, even in the most difficult times in your life. As you begin to thank the Lord for everything He has done in your life, your perspective on your circumstances will begin to change for the better.
Supplication is a theological word that simply means presenting your requests to the Lord. This type of prayer is distinct from intercession, in which you present requests to the Lord on behalf of others. Any need you have in any area of life is fair game for supplication. Potential areas of life from which needs could arise include your physical health, your emotions, your finances, and more. When you find yourself anxious, it is better to pray than to worry.
As has already been mentioned, to intercede is to present requests to the Lord on behalf of others. Many people like to engage in this type of prayer prior to supplication. It certainly seems less selfish. The areas from which the needs of others can arise are the same areas they can arise from in your own life. You should always be on the lookout for opportunities to minister to the needs of others through prayer.
Just as these five elements need not be studied in any particular order, they need not be covered during any particular order during your prayer time. For example, you might want to confess your sins to the Lord before you begin worshiping Him. It may be that one of your own needs weigh so heavily on your own heart that you need to pray about that before you can pray about the needs of others. Just follow your heart.