The six spheres of prayer
“The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer.” — F. B. Meyer1
A friend of mine, Phil Miglioratti, was born in Chicago, but now lives in the Florida Keys. He is an avowed fan of the Beach Boys as well as director of the National Pastors Prayer Network and the Reimagine Network. I want to share his concept of the six spheres of prayer. I hope and pray that it will help us understand prayer better as it relates to all our relationships.
Phil uses a set of ratios to explain his concept. They indicate different levels of the connections or relationships Jesus had with the men and women he discipled. His relationship with John (“the one Jesus loved”) is 1:1. Jesus with Peter, James, and John is 1:3. Jesus with the twelve disciples is 1:12 (although the group he traveled with was larger and included women). At Pentecost it’s 1:120, when Jesus birthed the church by sending the Holy Spirit, and 1:5,000 is for when Jesus spoke to the 5,000 on the mount.
In your “closet”
This is one-on-one fellowship in prayer with Jesus [1:1]. Just as John was transformed from a “son of thunder” to the “apostle of love” through his relationship with Jesus, our daily relationship with Jesus, wherever and whenever, is important.
With your cohorts
There is accountability in a threesome. Jesus, in Gethsemane, called Peter, James, and John to come a little farther, into deeper prayer.
Jesus chose 12 disciples who were very different from one another. There can be diversity even in a small group. Sometimes we think that everyone in a group has to think the same, but Jesus did not have a problem with diversity.
Throughout your congregation
You can serve as the “prayer champion” in every context [1:120]. Think of how Jesus was building His church; this is prayer in many settings, from small groups to committees to teams to large gatherings.
Across your city
You can start citywide prayer groups and neighborhood prayer walks. You can lead citywide prayer gatherings and coordinate prayer guides for them. May corporate prayer to Jesus become something commonplace.
Pray for God’s kingdom to come (be revealed) and God’s will to be done (truth). Think about how this can affect our communities, nations, and people groups. It should affect us socially (issues and ideas) and politically (worldview). This can be done by praying in your “closet” or with others.
Praying for other countries
We should be praying for the global church—on every continent, in every nation, especially those experiencing hard times. We should be petitioning for the church to live out the gospel in obedience to the Great Commission. This, too, can be done by praying in your “closet” or with others.
Though the numbers might be different (especially here in Japan), I think it is helpful for us to see prayer as all-encompassing, from our personal time with the Lord to a much broader overall perspective. We need all of these perspectives as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission in the way He wants us to. May many more Japanese come to know Christ because of our obedience in prayer to Him.
For more information about six spheres of prayer, check out this article: The Reimagine.NETWORK, “A Template for Prayer: Personal or Corporate,” https://reimaginenetwork.ning.com/forum/topics1/the-6-spheres-of-prayer-a-template
1. Goodreads, https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/823762-the-greatest-tragedy-of-life-is-not-unanswered-prayer-but (accessed April 26, 2022). We were unable to verify the original quote source.