The forms of prayer are simply the various expressions of our personal life toward God that agree with the various moods or attitudes we have or choose to have. Thus the many forms of prayer are quite endless, for there are as many forms of prayer as man has characteristics of personal life—as he has moods or attitudes. Here are ten forms of prayer, which I will describe briefly:
1. The prayer of adoration. We should adore God in all our praying, but generally, this is the way we should begin our prayers (and our day)—saying, “Hallowed be Thy name.”
2. The prayer of confession. This is the only form of prayer that should come out of our lips when we have sinned. For, it is the only form (or expression) that would be true and honest. Moreover, without confession fellowship with God would be impossible.
3. The prayer of thanksgiving. We ought to give God thanks continually for all things. For it is God’s will for us (1 Thess. 5:18), it is the way to keep ourselves in the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19), and it is the way we glorify Him (Rom. 1:21). Thus all of our prayers of petition should be with the attitude of thanksgiving (Phil. 4:6). Sometimes I just like to sit and make a list to Him of all the things I am thankful for.
4. Supplication. This is a special kind of petitionary prayer, marked by a sense of urgency for a desperate need, requiring an earnest humility. Thus to make supplication means to ask for humbly or earnestly. The Latin words supplicans and supplicant mean to kneel down. We would use this form of prayer only when the proper mood strikes us, that is, only when the Spirit of God moves upon us with desire and a sense of need. Normally we use the word supplication to describe prayer for personal needs, but it is also used to describe our petition as we beg and plead on behalf of another. Such was the case with Esther as she made supplication unto the king for her people (Esther 4:8).
5. Simple and short prayers. These are the meal time prayers when we thank God for our food, and the prayers of benediction at the end of a church service. These are the prayers offered throughout the day while working, when we can’t take time to pray long.
6. Long and conversational prayers. These are the prayers that we offer during the night when we can’t sleep. They are the prayers offered on a Sunday afternoon when we have set aside a whole hour to pray. These also are the prayers offered when we take a long walk—when we commune with God about every little thing. They are also the prayers of tragedy and suffering when we pray hard and long, when we pray our hearts out waiting for God to come down and touch us.
7. Meditative prayers. These are the prayers offered when we study the Word and muse on deep meanings. They are the prayers offered when we are lying down and are gazing into the sky contemplating the wonder and glory of God.
8. The prayer of relinquishment. This form of prayer often comes after the prayer of confession. It is the prayer of dedication. It is the kind of prayer offered when we see how good and great God is—when we are moved to give Him everything.
9. The prayer of sorrow, suffering and tears. This is the type of prayer we pray for the sick, the elderly, the lonely and the depressed. It is prayer from the heart. This kind of prayer is often termed as a crying out of the soul for God.
10. The prayer of authority. We pray this kind of prayer against the forces of evil when the Holy Spirit assures us that He is with and will help us. By the prayer of authority we command in Jesus Name for Satan to be gone, and we summon the angels of heaven to come to our aid. Likewise, with the promises of God’s Word and with the agreement of the saints, we take great confidence in offering this form of prayer.