The Four Stranded Rope of Prayer


Ecclesiastes 4:12 says that a "cord of three strands is not quickly broken." I would like to suggest to you that there are four basic "strands" of activity that should make up the "cord" of prayer in our lives: worshipping, cleansing, asking and listening.

Just as different strands interwoven in a rope appear and reappear throughout the length of the rope, these four areas of activity should be intertwined in our prayer time. They are not "steps" to do in a particular order. They are different types of activities that we should find ourselves doing throughout our time alone with God.

        Prayer is not meant to be a time of self-centered asking or begging. There are a variety of ways to pray and a variety of things that God wants to accomplish in us and through us as we pray. I challenge you to reach out with both hands and grasp this fourfold cord of prayer. Grasp it with the "hand" of your practical mind and with the "hand" of faith. As you make a practical effort to incorporate these things into your prayer time, the Holy Spirit will assist you and draw you closer to the Lord.



 The focus is on God, His greatness and goodness

               a) Praise- Giving God honor & recognition for WHO He is and WHAT He has done.

                                    (Matt 6:9, Ps 63:3, Hebrews 13:15)

               b) Thanksgiving- Showing appreciation for specific things He has done

                                 (I Thes 5:18, Philippians 4:6, Colossians 4:2)

               c) Singing – Sing along with a worship CD, live music or with no music. Sing in your native tongue or as the Spirit gives utterance. Music is powerful, it engages our emotions as well as our reason. Singing is a form of adoration that delights God.

                            (Eph 5:19, Ps 100:2, Ps 135:3, Ps 144:9)

Strand #2 - CLEANSING

 The focus is on our self and the rightness of our relation­ship with God and others.

               a) Confession- As the Lord makes us aware of our sin, we must admit to it. We should pray as David did,

                 "Search me,0, God". Jesus will forgive us and cleanse us! (Psalm 66:18,Ps 19:12 & 13,1 John 1:9)

               b) Forgiveness- Jesus said we should pray that God would forgive us as we forgive others. (Luke 11:4)

 Strand # 3 – ASKING

   It is God's plan that we ask Him to do things (Matt 7:11, Luke 11:9-11, John 16:24, James 4:2).

 We are told to ask with proper motives (James 4:3), according to God's will (I John 5:14 & 15), from a lifestyle

 of obedience (I John 3:21 & 22), in Jesus' name (John 14:13 & 14, 15:16, 16:23-27), and in faith (Matt 21: 21 & 22,

 James 1:6 & 7, I John 3:23).

 We should also be SPECIFIC and PERSISTENT in our asking (Matt 7:7-11, Luke 18:1-8, Matt 26:44)

 Two types of asking are:

a)    Petition - Asking for YOURSELF (Matt 6:11, James 4:2)

b)    Intercession - Asking on behalf of OTHERS (I Tim 2:l,2;Rom 15:30)

 Strand # 4 – LISTENING

 We not only spend time TALKING to God in the form of WORSHIP, CONFESSION, and ASKING, but it

is important that throughout our time of prayer, we are sensitive to HEAR His voice.

When He speaks to our hearts, we can receive direction, encouragement, insight, correction, etc. that will

help us pray more effectively or even provide the answer to the request we have been praying about!

(Exodus 33:11, I Kings 19:11 & 12)

Ways to listen:

a)   The Lord often speaks through the Scriptures, causing particular passages to stand out to us and take on specific application to our situation. So, be a student of God's Word and keep a Bible handy when you pray!

b)   The Lord also speaks through prophetic utterance. He may do this through you or someone you are praying with. Write down what is said for future evaluation and reference.

c)   The Lord often speaks in our minds through a spontaneous flow of thoughts. Keep a journal handy to write down the essence for future reference. Whenever God speaks, it changes things. Obeying God requires hearing God, and hearing God requires listening.

May our prayer always be, " Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening."

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