“… praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”
Paul tells us first to “pray at all times in the Spirit,” and then he tells us to pray with “all prayer and supplication.” That means we are to pray and make requests. Proseuche (prayer) refers to general petitions, while deesis (supplication) refers to more specific requests.
In both the OT and NT, the Lord invites us to pray and make requests.
“Thus says the Lord: Stop at the crossroads and look around you. Ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it. You will find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6.16)
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7.7)
Keep in mind there are conditions for asking and receiving. God is not a cosmic vending machine who dispenses whatever we want in response to whatever we ask. Motives matter. What are you seeking and why? What door are you knocking on and why? What are you asking for and why?
Simply wanting something is not a sufficient motive.
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” (James 4.3)
Note the order of the instructions in the Jeremiah passage: First it says “look carefully,” then it says “ask.” If you see with clarity and courage, if you have situational awareness and self-awareness, if you see through a Christ-centered lens, then your motive for “asking for the ancient paths” will be to solve problems, achieve goals, serve others, and please God.
On the other hand, if you look at a situation through a self-centered lens and then ask the Lord for wisdom and guidance, what you are really doing is seeking to please yourself, not God.
Be relentless in prayer, and make sure you “pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” The New Testament, like the Old, mentions many forms, circumstances, and postures for prayer but prescribes none.
We may pray publicly or privately; in loud cries, in soft whispers, or silently; deliberately and planned or spontaneously; while sitting, standing, kneeling, or even lying down; at home or in church; while working or while traveling; with hands folded or raised; with eyes open or closed; with head bowed or erect.
We can pray wherever we are and in whatever situation we are in. For the followers of Christ, every place becomes a place of prayer. The consistent message in scripture is that when we pray, motive is what matters, not method.