Be honest with yourself. When do you actually pray?
When problems come? When things are going out of control? When there is no other way?
Yes, most of us are like that. We seek the help of God, when things are out of control. Better late than never! In this post, let’s discuss an higher level of prayer, which focuses on praying for the future needs and getting ready upfront. That’s the kind of prayer, which Jesus practiced and taught His disciples. I call it, Advanced Prayer or Future Tense Prayer.
- Don’t wait until the point of divorce, to start praying for the happiness in your family. Pray when everything is happy and smooth, so that your love will last for ever. A family that prays together stays together
- Don’t wait till you are fired from the job, in order to start praying for your job. Pray beforehand so that God will give enough strength, wisdom, intelligence and diligence to do your job well
- Don’t wait for the financial crisis, inorder to start praying for finances. Start praying when you have enough money in your hand, so you will have the wisdom to use it wisely.
- Don’t wait for that deadly sickness to attack you in order to start praying for your health. Instead start praying rightaway, by thanking God for the good health that He has given you.
In other words, seek God when everything looks God! This is essence of advance prayer, which Jesus taught us
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (Matt 6: 13)
Pray even before you fall into a trap, so that you will become spiritually armed to fight the battle. Don’t start searching for your weapon when the enemy is right infront of you. Get ready beforehand!
Jesus prayed upfront
Jesus practiced this principle of praying upfront. Before He was arrested and crucified, He spent time in prayer, at the garden of Gethsemane. Therefore, angels came and strengthened Him, and He could successfully endure the suffering till the last moment. That’s the power of Advanced Prayer.
Jesus taught the same to His disciples, as He was with them at Gethsamane,
Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation (Matt 26: 41)
Have you done this? Just try! Start by thanking God for all that you have- You food, clothing, air, water, health, parents, siblings, vehicle, job, salary, computer, mobile, eyesight, education, wealth, internet access, etc (Add everything you can imagine). Then start praying for your future needs, ask God for special grace to handle probable issues in future. That’s how you start praying and getting ready beforehand
5 kinds of people and 5 types of prayer
If you look around, you will find atleast 5 categories of people.
- Some don’t pray at all even if they know that they can’t do anything about it. They are too far from God and there is less hope for them.
- Some of them pray for the problem which has already happened and there is nothing else which can be done. They realized the need for God at a later point of time. The majority of people fall into this category. They cry and seek prayers when there is least help available. But don’t worry. Better late than never. God is still on the throne.
- Few others pray at that instant when they are actually in midst of problem. This is better than the previous one. They trust in God and instantly seek the help of God. Good! But this is a minority.
- But very few people pray when everything is alright. They pray that they will be able to handle future problems well. These are the real wise people. Therefore, if any problem occurs in future; instead of murmuring, complaining, crying or losing hope, they start thanking God, because they had already submitted the request, and they know very well that God is in perfect control and He would take care of the situation. Instead of becoming panic, they sit and relax in the safe hands of God, putting their trust and hope in God. Those people feel confident and unmoved because they know that their God is alive.
- And a very minority pray at all times, no matter what! Those are the people who have really understood the secret of prayer. They really do not need a reason for prayer. They talk with God, all the time, and they are always ready to face any type of challenge. Jesus was the best example. He used to pray early in the morning, sometimes whole night, sometimes goes to a mountain side alone and pray. Prayer was like breath for him.
Let’s give names to these prayers
- Absolutely no prayer (No faith in God) No Prayer (NP)
- Praying for the past problem Past Tense Prayer (PATP)
- Praying as we go through the crisis Present Tense Prayer (PRTP)
- Foreseeing a problem and praying upfront in order to get ready for facing future challenges Future Tense Prayer or Advanced Prayer (FTP)
- One last one – All-Time-Prayer (ATP)
The first one is definitely not our cup of tea. The last one is the more powerful one! That saves a lot of time, effort and energy.
Which category are you in?
If we fall in the first or second category, it’s not too late. Let’s move on to the third, then the fourth category and finally reach the fifth one. Let’s pray when everything looks good. Jesus taught the disciples to pray that they may not fall when temptation comes! That means pray when everything is alright.
Some realize the need of Advanced Prayer after they have fallen many times. Example: Peter. Even though Jesus warned about his three-times-denial, still he was not serious about praying. He slept when he was supposed to pray. (But later on, after many years, his attitude changed. He became a man of prayer. We read that even during his noon time, he used to pray. He was actually led by the Holy Spirit to pray often)
Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour (noon time) to pray Acts 10: 9
Peter moved from category 2 to category 3 and then to category 4. He was climbing the spiritual ladder.
Bible teaches: Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion (Eph 6: 18); Pray continually (I Thess 5: 17); always pray and never lose heart (Luke 18:1).
Father, please open our hearts to understand the secret of praying upfront. Help us to foresee future challenges and pray beforehand. Lord, please teach us to pray. Help us to pray at all times. Thank you Jesus. Amen.
Have you tried this kind of prayer? What’s your experience? Could you please share with other readers here?