The Doctrine of Prayer: Part Two
During times of war, certain military terms are constantly used: logistical, tactical, and strategic initiatives. While these terms describe three levels of military operations, they also describe three levels of prayer: Personal Needs Prayer [Logistical], Kingdom Purpose Prayer [tactical], and eternal Purpose Prayer [Strategic].
Personal needs prayer is prayed from an earthly perspective and can become self-centered. The focus is on personal needs. Kingdom purpose prayer is also prayed from an earthly perspective; however, its focus is on helping others. Eternal purpose prayer is the focus of God’s ultimate objective for this world and is prayed from an eternal perspective. It captures the heart and purpose of God rather than mere human purpose.
In 2nd Kings chapter 3 the Bible tells the story of the army of Israel just before they faced the Moabites in battle, one more illustration of God’s people missing a pivotal moment because they were caught up in themselves. Ancient Israel and two allies took their armies through the wilderness to face the Moabite army. After a week, however, they faced a crisis: they ran out of water.
They decided to go to the prophet Elisha to seek God’s help. They begged for water. As the prophet sought the Lord, he responded through Elisha and said in essence, I will give you water, but this is a small thing for me. I will also give the Moabites into your hands.
At this crucial moment, Israel asked for the wrong thing. They saw only the small picture. They sought only the solution to their immediate needs. They prayed a personal needs prayer. They prayed for the water, not the war! Kingdom praying means we perceive crucial moments and how the future hangs on them.
Kingdom prayer has more to do with your heart when you pray than the words you choose. It is the expression of your heart aligned with God’s heart to fulfill his purpose in your circumstance.
Kingdom praying means staying focused on the mission, even in crisis; staying in relationship with God in our prayer time. Think about Jesus in Gethsemane. If there was ever a moment he was tempted to shift into idle and pray a “save me prayer,” it was in the garden. Hours away from torture and death, Jesus considers the temptation: “My Father, if it be possible, may this cup be taken from me.” This is a normal reaction to his situation. However, he then added a strategic phrase: “Yet, not as I will, but as you will.” It was a pivotal moment and Jesus stayed on mission in his prayer.
God yearns to accomplish so much more through our prayers, if only we can connect with him. We can accomplish this by praying , not only for our needs, and the needs of others, but by praying strategic, eternal purpose prayers, that say, “God, not my will but thine be done.”