We will consider in a later session the dynamics of relational (fellowship) prayer through the exercise of prayer tracks like ‘Tabernacle Prayer’ and ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ in separate sessions. In this section we will look at:
- The prayer of confession and repentance
- The prayer of consecration
- The prayer of commitment (casting our cares upon the Lord)
These three kinds of prayer are all interested in sustaining an intimate and vital relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Their primary purpose is intimately bound, not with the granting of a request, but with obtaining the active involvement of God in our lives.
The prayer of confession and repentance
As we discovered in Module 2, repentance is a foundational doctrine upon which a proper understanding and lifestyle are built. The prayer of confession and repentance is the first true prayer than any Christian must pray. It is the form of prayer that delivers us from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God.
“So repent (change your mind and purpose); turn around and return [to God], that your sins may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean), that times of refreshing (of recovering from the effects of heat, of reviving with fresh air) may come from the presence of the Lord;” (Acts 3:19 AMP)
“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Rom 10:9-10 NKJV)
As the human heart hears and grasps the amazing implications of the gospel message, repentance is granted as a gift of God’s goodness. (John 6:44; Romans 2:4).
When a person responds to this drawing, confession is made unto salvation. That confession is a commitment to change our mind and purpose, and wholeheartedly forsake anything that prevents us from uncompromisingly following the will of God.
The prayer of confession is then used throughout the Christian’s life to maintain a soft, uncalloused heart and a clean conscience before God.
John speaks of this kind of prayer in 1 John 1:9:
“If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].” (1John 1:9 AMP)
Our own conscience and knowledge of the Word will lead us at times to feel ‘convicted’ by certain attitudes of heart, or actions we have undertaken. These can range from outright disobedience to the known will of God to subtle attitudes of heart which grieve the Holy Spirit:
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God’s own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin).” (Eph 4:30 AMP)
These things should be dealt with according to the principles of the prayer of confession. We are not here confessing that we are sinners, we are already born again and have a new nature. Rather we are confessing that we are saints, men and women of God’s nature, who have transgressed the law of our new heart and acted contrary to the One who now lives within us.
Sin always distances us from the presence of God:
“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2 KJV)
Through the prayer of confession these sins are removed and we are restored to right standing with the Father (Isaiah 1:18; Isaiah 43:25; Isaiah 44:22)
Jesus Himself encourages us to include this kind of prayer in our lifestyle of prayer, seeking God’s forgiveness and forgiving others. In fact He coupled our willingness live a life of forgiveness on every level with our ability to walk with God and see results from our prayers:
“and forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us. “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:12,14-15 NLT)
If we keep our hearts pure before God in this way, using the prayer of confession and repentance, the results and benefits for our lives are priceless:
“For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation…” (2 Corinthians 7:10)
“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11 NKJV)
Holiness through the blood of Christ is an essential pre-requisite for fellowship with God (Hebrews 12:14). As such this kind of prayer should be regularly exercised knowing that it keeps the spirit and soul undefiled and prepared for every good work.
NOTE: The prayer of confession’ differs from ‘confession of the Word’, which is another principle revealed in scripture and which is used on a daily basis, especially in relation to the prayer of faith and the lifestyle of faith. We have touched upon this vital area in session Module 4: Operating In The Spiritual Realm, and we will be considering it in greater detail in Module 7, “Principles For Walking With God’.
The prayer of consecration, dedication, and submission
“The prayer of Dedication, Consecration, and Submission is a strong prayer that deals with our willingness and obedience to fulfil God’s plan in our lives. It is not a prayer for others; it deals with our own personal dedication and submission to the will of God.” Mary Alice Isleib, Effective Fervent Prayer
The rules concerning this kind of prayer are important to understand, and should not be misapplied. This kind of prayer was used by our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane when He was facing the darkest hour of His life on earth. He was starkly aware that soon the relentless onslaught of the passion would be upon Him; He would be betrayed by His closet friends, forsaken and beaten, and all of hell’s forces would be unleashed upon Him; the sin He had so perfectly separated Himself from throughout His 33 years would now invade His entire being, as He bore the iniquities of mankind in His own body on the cross.
It was a terrifying moment and not one that Christ entered lightly. So awful were the implications for His soul that He prayed three times in succession for the forthcoming events to be removed from him, nevertheless, He committed Himself to the will of God using the prayer of consecration.
“And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”” (Mark 14:36 NKJV)
The event is recorded in Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22
If it be Thy will (Luke 22:42)
Jesus prayed, “If it is your will, then I submit to that will.” In His humanity He shrunk from the torture He was about to enter into. The problem is that many have taken the principle revealed in this kind of prayer and tried to apply it to other kinds of prayer, thereby undoing the effectiveness of their prayers.
We are never to pray ‘if it be thy will’ concerning those things we know are certainly God’s will as revealed in the Scriptures and in Christ. It is erroneous to pray ‘if it be your will’ concerning those things already provided in Christ’s redemptive work. For example, to pray, “Father, if it be your will to heal me, then heal me” would be inaccurate. We know that healing was provided in the redemption. The prayer to pray in this situation is not the ‘prayer of consecration’, but the ‘prayer of faith’, claiming what we already know to be His will.
The prayer of consecration is designed for the disciple to have an avenue whereby we can yield ourselves and commit ourselves to do God’s perfect will in our lives.
It can be used in situations where we are finding willingness or obedience difficult because our flesh or soul shrinks from the implications of obedience to the direction God is leading us in.
Philippians 2:12-13 (AMP) says:
“Therefore…work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ). [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.”
Through the prayer of consecration and dedication God can work in us the capacity for willingness and obedience to His perfect will.
The prayer of committal or commitment (casting our cares upon the Lord)
Of this kind of prayer Mary Alice Isleib says in ‘Effective Fervent Prayer’:
“God has made a way for us in the midst of problems, stress, pressure, and great intensity to live practically in the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit. That way is through the Prayer of Casting Our Cares on the Lord.”
God’s desire is that His children live a life of faith; a life of love, joy, peace and power in the Holy Ghost. (Romans 14:17).
Jesus warned that the cares of life can choke the effectiveness of the Word of God in our life:
“Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless.” (Mark 4:19 AMPLIFIED)
We live in an age where the mental pressures and cares of life can weigh upon our hearts and minds. This prayer allows us to come to God and commit our cares to Him. We can cast our cares upon the Lord:
“Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” (1 Pet 5:6-7 AMPLIFIED)
We are encouraged to bring all things to God in prayer:
“Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.” (Phil 4:6 AMPLIFIED)
Proverbs tells us:
“Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.” (Proverbs 16:3 AMP)
As our thoughts are established in God’s Word, and as our perspective is brought in line with His, the promise of scripture is clear:
“And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:7 AMPLIFIED)
“You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.” (Isaiah 26:3 AMPLIFIED)
The prayer of commitment makes this possible. Through it He lifts us from under our circumstances and places us ‘above only and not beneath’ (Deut 28:13). It also helps us to confirm and conform our thought life so it is lined up with the thoughts of God. One moment we can be terrified and under pressure, but after obedience to God’s direction to pray the prayer of commitment, our perspective can change so radically that the giant who stood before us now appears as a mere grasshopper, bread for our eating! (Numbers 14:9)