These transformative forms of communication with God are based on what is revealed in Scripture.
Prayer does not always come naturally and is a constant effort. Perhaps it is the case of many of us who learned little about praying beyond the Rosary and memorizing sentences in elementary school.
If you feel that your prayer life is not going anywhere, the best place to turn is the Bible .
The Psalms are one of the greatest treasures when we speak of personal prayer. Consider only that even Jesus used the Psalms to pray, as at the time of the cross.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explores this theme in more depth and highlights the different types of prayer found in Sacred Scripture. These forms of prayer are based on the divine revelation and the experience of those who inhabit the stories of the Bible.
1. Blessing and adoration
The Catechism describes the blessing as a prayer that “expresses the basic movement of Christian prayer: it is the encounter of God with man; in it, the gift of God and the welcome of man are summoned and united. The prayer of blessing is the response of man to the gifts of God : because God blesses, the heart of man can bless in turn the One who is the source of all blessings “(CCC 2627).
The Lord’s Prayer contains blessings of this kind when we say “hallowed be your name.” Another example of this prayer can be found in Daniel 3.
The adoration is closely linked to the blessing and the Catechismdescribes it as “the first attitude of the man who recognizes himself as a creature before his Creator. It exalts the greatness of the Lordthat has made us and the omnipotence of the Savior who frees us from evil “(2628).
2. Petition Prayer
The petition prayer is probably the best known type of prayer. It consists of a “pleading vocabulary” with which “to ask, to claim, to call with insistence, to invoke, to cry out, to shout, and even to ‘fight in prayer'” (2629). It is a prayer that recognizes the power and majesty of God and asks for his mercy for our lives.
This type of prayer should first include a prayer of forgiveness , such as the parable of the “publican: ‘Oh God have compassion on this sinner.’ It is the beginning of a just and pure prayer. The humility entrusted us back to the light of communion with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ and with one another, then ‘whatever we ask we receive from Him’. Both the celebration of the Eucharist and personal prayer begin with the request for forgiveness “(2631).
God always responds to our prayers of petition, although they may not be answered the way we expect.
3. Intercession Prayer
Another common type of prayer, that of intercession, “is a prayer of petition that shapes us very closely with the prayer of Jesus. He is the only intercessor before the Father in favor of all men, of sinners in particular “(2634).
It is an ancient type of prayer found in the Bible. The Catechism explains: “To intercede, to ask in favor of another, is, from Abraham, the very thing of a heart according to the mercy of God. In the time of the Church, Christian intercession participates in that of Christ: it is the expression of the communion of the saints. In intercession, he who prays seeks “not his own interest but […] that of others,” until he pleads for those who do him evil “(2635).
Intercessory prayer can be very powerful and God is especially attentive to those who pray for others who suffer. An example of this kind of intercession can be found in the Gospels, when Jesus healed a paralyzed man that they took to the house through the roof. Mark documents: “Seeing the faith of these men, Jesus said to the paralytic: ‘Son, your sins are forgiven you'” (Mark 2,5).
4. Thanksgiving prayer
The prayer of thanksgiving “characterizes the prayer of the Church that, in celebrating the Eucharist, manifests and becomes more and more what she is” (2637).
It is a common type of prayer, but it is not practiced often. We may pray for a specific request, but when God answers our prayers, we tend to forget to thank Him . Jesus pointed out this fault when he healed 10 lepers, but only one came back to give thanks: “How, were not all ten cleansed? The other nine, where are they? Did not anyone give thanks again to God, but this stranger? “(Luke 17: 17-18).
5. Praise Praise
Praise, although similar to blessing and thanksgiving, is a different prayer. It is a prayer “that recognizes in the most direct way that God is God. He sings for himself, gives glory not for what he does, but for what he is “(2639).
The Catechism explains: “Like the inspired authors of the New Testament, the first Christian communities reread the book of Psalms singing in it the Mystery of Christ. In the novelty of the Spirit, they also compose hymns and songs from the unprecedented event that God has realized in his Son “(2641).
This prayer is also found in the book of the Apocalypse, where “the prophets and the saints, all those who were slaughtered on earth to bear witness to Jesus, the immense crowd of those who, coming from the great tribulation, have preceded us in the Kingdom, they sing the praise of glory of Him who sits on the throne and of the Lamb “(2642).
It is a prayer that simply praises God for being God, not in reference to any specific benefit or favor received. The celebration of the Eucharist is often called “the sacrifice of praise.”