Monday, January 26, 2009

Different Kinds of Prayer

Q: How am I supposed to pray? It doesn’t seem like enough to just ask for stuff.

A: According to St. Therese of Lisieux, “For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.” (CCC, 2558)

St. John Damascene says: “Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.” (CCC, 2559)

There are different kinds of prayer, these are:

Adoration is where we worship God as our creator.

Prayer of Petition is where we “ask for stuff,” and, “by prayer of petition we express awareness of our relationship with God. We are creatures who are not our own beginning, not the masters of adversity, not our own last end. We are sinners who as Christians know that we have turned away from our Father. Our petition is already a turning back to him.” (CCC, 2629) Of course we have to remember that prayer is not like a vending machine, we don’t pray so as to get stuff. Prayer is a relationship with God, and we should be motivated to pray out of love, not out of material need.

Prayer of Intercession is where you pray to a Saint, or the Blessed Mother, and ask them to pray on your behalf. The second half of the Hail Mary when we say “Holy Mary Mother of God pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death” is a prayer of intercession.

Prayer of Thanksgiving is simply thanking God for all that He has given us. Just like we like to be thanked when we do something nice for others, so does God.

Prayer of Praise is exactly what it says it is, praising God. “Praise embraces the other forms of prayer and carries them toward him who is its source and goal: the ‘one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist.” (CCC, 2639) The Psalms are songs (prayers) of praise.