Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.
Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.
And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live?
But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.
- II Samuel 12:15b-23
Scripture also testifies of matters for which the Lord has forbidden further prayer. Examples would include God's forbidding Moses to pray for personal entrance into Canaan (Deuteronomy 3:25-26), Samuel to pray for Saul (I Samuel 16:1), Paul to pray for the removal of his "thorn in the flesh" (II Corinthians 12:8-9), and believers to pray for those who have committed the unpardonable
sin (I John 5:16).
Each of these cases pertain to particular and exceptional circumstances. Once a matter is specially forbidden by God to one of His children, it would be wrong for that person to pray for it, for prayer must always be according to God's revealed will. Even these exceptional particular revelations must be according to, and not in conflict with, God's revealed will - His Word. We must strive to pray according to the Bible - the infallible, unchanging revelation of God's revealed will.
Scripture testifies of four types of prayer:
1. Public prayer
2. Family prayer
3. Private prayer
4. Sudden prayer
A biblical example of each of these types is included in the chart on the following page.
I pray thee, let me go over, I and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon.
But the LORD was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the LORD said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto Me of this matter.
- Deuteronomy 3:25-26
And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.
- I Samuel 16:1
For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
- II Corinthians 12:8-9
If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and He shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.