This study examines prayer as practiced by Pentecostal churches in Ghana and the fact that new Ghanaian prayer practices are developing as variations of Classical Pentecostal Spirituality.
The study focuses on Pentecostal Spirituality and theology of prayer while considering these new developments and situating them within an African Traditional spiritual context. It was established that primal, dualistic and causal ATR worldviews also confront many Africans with ideas of a cosmic struggle.
Facing the latter challenge has led to adopting practices similar to, or at least influenced by, ATR practices, especially in neo-prophetic churches. Although admittedly, some Ghanaian Pentecostal spiritualities and practices are discontinuous to or broke with ATR worldviews and practices, it is postulated that some also are not or have not done so, particularly regarding prayer.
Defining Pentecostal Spirituality as a praxis of integrated beliefs, practices, sensibilities and values, it was argued that Pentecostal Spirituality, with the Holy Spirit as its fulcrum, is particularly clear in its praxis and experiences of prayer. It was, furthermore, held that Pentecostal Spirituality can never be understood without reference to Pentecostal theology and vice versa, as ‘two sides of the same coin’. As such, both Pentecostal Spirituality and theology are discussed in detail. In evaluating Pentecostal theology of prayer, it is also shown that there may be many possible motives behind (Ghanaian)
Pentecostal prayer, including fear, threat, uncertainty, joy, need and spiritual desire. Some of these drivers, however, have resulted in a shift from the more experiential Classical Pentecostal model of prayer to one of demand-driven causality – one that includes an increasing element of ‘glossolalic abuse’ that also needs careful theological attention. The Ghanaian Pentecostal theology of prayer is therefore conceptualised as transactionally Christological, spontaneously ‘glossolalic’, lyrically doxological, and ontologically authoritative.
An investigation into the emerging neo-prophetic prayer practices revealed that the African worldview of evil and the proponent’s quest for the ‘magicalisation’ of instant results have led to the assimilated neo-prophetic sacramental and transactional ritual prayer evident at the prayer markets via prayer giants who monetise prayer. Refocusing on a theological examination of Pentecostal prayer practices, it was revealed that although the Pentecostal Spirituality of prayer is intended to attract people to and strengthen believers’ relationship with God, emerging prayer practices are mostly driven by fear and uncertainty, resulting in the pursuit of hierarchical, consequential, solution-centred prayers.
In light of the findings, the study proposes a four-fold integrated prayer model (a modification of Horton-Clowney’s model) with the introduction of an African worldview as the fourth motive for prayer, whilst upholding that African Pentecostals do not pray driven by one motive but a combination of motives. Therefore, a contextual Pentecostal practice of prayer is proposed based on an ‘ACTS Model’, that takes into account African traditional praxis, the Christocentric Full Gospel, Transactional Nomenclature, and Spirit-centrality.