1 Timothy 2:1 – I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone. (NIV)
Some time ago, I took to heart Paul's exhortation to make prayer my first priority. I used my Bible dictionary of Greek words and learned meanings for requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving.
Requests are statements of urgent need. God waits for us to ask; He supplies after we ask.
Prayers are worship. The words "praise" and "pray" look alike. The more I learn about God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — the more worshipping I do in my quiet times. When I praise God, I remember who He is, what He does, and what my covenant relationship is with Him, mediated by Christ Jesus.
Intercessions are mediations. We may mediate or make a request on behalf of other persons at the throne of grace when they do not understand their own need. We may also speak intercession on behalf of God. We may say into the air what God would say. Sometimes after I make a request in intercession, a Bible passage will come to mind. I sense that the promise is for the person in need. I delight to speak God's Word for that need.
Thanksgivings are thankful language directed to God. When I begin to thank God, after requests and worship, trust and peace form and rest in my soul. I know that the Almighty is moving in His creation to redeem. I have found the joy of the Lord!
After covering Paul's four steps, any time the thought of the concern returns, I praise God and thank Him in the name of Christ. Assurance comes. I have given the care to Him. He can handle it.
Prayer: Father, thank You that You are in love with all of us. Help us to request, pray, intercede, and thank in the name of Christ Jesus. Help us to take the first step and figure out the need, so that we trust and ask You. Amen.