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Published / updated: 27 July 2009 | Author: Dele Oke

Bible study - Different types of prayer

Prayer is talking to God. The Christian who relies on the Bible as his or her source of revelation about God finds the purpose, practice and meaning of prayer in the teachings of Jesus.

The Bible introduces us to different types of prayer.

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.
Ephesians 6:18 (KJV)

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.
1 Timothy 2:1 (KJV)

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Philippians 4:6 (KJV)

Based on a brief review of the above scriptures we can identify four broad ways of talking to God, namely

  1. Supplications (sometimes translated petitions, entreaties or requests)
    Supplication means to petition or entreat someone for something. A passionate zeal and hunger fuels the prayer of supplication. Strictly speaking supplication is not another form of prayer but an attitude that accompanies prayer. Read more on supplication.
  2. Intercessions
    To intercede means to plead or mediate on behalf of another person. Intercession will involve various degrees of supplication. Intercession is not normally a one-off prayer. It requires persistence (Luke 11:5-8; Luke 18:1-5).Read more on intercesion.
  3. Prayers
    Prayer of faith, Prayer of agreement and Prayer of dedication or consecration. In practise there is much overlap in all of these prayers. Read more on prayer.
  4. Thanksgiving
    Thanksgiving should be a regular part of our talking to God. Thanksgiving is an all-inclusive act that involves praise, worship and honour of God. Read more on thanksgiving.


1 Timothy 2:1-4 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (NKJV)

In practise we all use different types of prayer during our prayer times. What may start out as a prayer of faith can soon develop into intercesssion with supplications. There is no reason why we cannot apply any of the above types of prayers to all the situations that face us.

If any of the above types of prayers are absent in your life then you should seek God's face about it. Ask Him to fill you with more of His love and make your prayer life richer.

Article modified from 7 September 2007 version

Dele Oke
Living Word library