Principles of Prayer
by Francis Foulkes ©


There are many aspects of prayer, often set down in some such way as

  1. Praise
  2. Thanksgiving
  3. Confession of sin
  4. Petition
  5. Intercession

Adoration might be given a place in addition to praise. There is also meditative or contemplative prayer, which may be without words. The five-fold scheme will be the basis of our consideration of the aspects of prayer (1), but it is important to recognise that, at least in the Bible, these aspects are not divided into tidy compartments. In the great prayers of the Bible they are often intertwined. A good example of this is the prayer at the dedication of Solomon's temple (1 Kgs.8:23-53 and the parallel in 2 Chron.6:14-42), where there is praise and thanksgiving, acknowledgment of sin and intercession for the people.

On the different aspects of prayer Vincent Brummer says,

'in petition the believer faces up to his own dependence on God; in intercession he faces up to his own concern ? for the needs of others before God; in penitence he faces up to his own faults as sins in which his fellowship with God is being marred; in dedication he faces up to his own commitment -- to doing God's will; in praise he faces up to looking on the world as an expression of God's goodness, holiness and glory; in thanksgiving the believer faces up to looking on his own capacities and opportunities and the fulfilment of his needs as gracious gifts from God. In this sense prayer is indeed a form of meditation in which the believer consciously faces up to the way in which he relates to God, to himself, to the world and to other people in his actions and attitudes. Thus in prayer the believer makes the dedication of his whole life to the fellowship of God ----' (3).