Jesus talked about the hypocrites who love to pray loud and long with many empty words (Matthew 6:5-7). There is nothing wrong with praying out loud or having extended quality time of prayer. Jesus prayed out aloud and prayed all night on many occasions. The early church prayed so earnestly and that where they were shook to its foundation. So if the occasion requires it and if your environment permits it, feel free to flow in the spirit of prayer.
However, effective prayer is not necessarily found in the volume of voice, intensity of bodily vibration, religiosity of words, or eloquence of speech. Effective prayer is more in the content of our prayers. For example, in the New Testament, we do not need to ask God to rend the heavens and come down for us to receive answers to our prayers. That was an Old Testament prayer, and the context and content of the prayer in Isaiah 64 do not apply to us in the New Testament. In fact, God already tore up heaven by sending Jesus into the world. Now we are seated with Him in heavenly places. He is in us and we are in Him and all the promises of God are answered in Him, yes and amen (2 Corinthians 1:20). The Old Testament had promises of the coming Messiah, His redemptive work, and the consequent blessings. We do not need any windows of heaven to be opened or for heaven to be torn down. When we pray, we are not hoping that our prayers will pass through the roof or to rend the heavens. We pray from inside heaven because that is where we live. We do not pray from outside, looking up for hand-outs.
Again in the new covenant, we do not pray for God’s visitation. This is an Old Testament mentality. In the New Testament, He lives in us. He does not come and go. We are habitation-conscious and not visitation-conscious. Visitation is not the New Testament relationship that we enjoy. When you know that He lives in you (habitation-conscious), you are full of Him.
Another thing you hear when some pray which does not make spiritual or even logical sense is for demons to fall down and die. No matter how long or how much energy we exert praying this way, it does not work. Demons are spirits that cannot fall and die. Their time of destruction has not yet come. Think about it: if that prayer worked, why are you repeating the same prayer against the same demons every day? Did the demons resurrect themselves after the last time your prayer killed them?
Similarly, there are Christians who find themselves praying for harm against a perceived enemy, or even for their death. Praying for someone to die is not in conformity with the disposition of Jesus. It is not walking in grace and it is not doing the work of God. It is not the Spirit of God that is being expressed. It is rather a manifestation of the flesh and ignorance. Jesus rebuked His disciples when they asked to pray in this manner (Luke 9:51-56). Come to think of it, if that prayer is answered, whose interest is served? Whose kingdom is populated? God’s or the devil’s? If the perceived enemies actually died in response to such prayers, where would they go? If people prayed such a prayer against you, and the prayer was answered while you were an unbeliever, where would you be today?
Some may argue that their prayers are not offensive or aggressive, but instead, intercessory. Yet they take their model of intercession from Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Ezekiel, Daniel, or Zechariah. The finished work of Christ is the main divider. Therefore even when we pray, we should have it at the back of our minds that the Cross worked!.
When we pray in grace, we pray differently. To pray under grace is to pray New Testament prayers. We will examine this in more details in part two of this article.