As Jesus prayed for 40 days in the desert, Lent calls us to imitate Him.
Jesus teaches us during Lent to master the art of praying as a spiritual tool to fight against the temptations of the evil one and to build a loving relationship with our "ABBA" – our Heavenly Father.
What are types of prayer in the tradition of the Church?
Prayer, St. John Damascene wrote, "is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God." At an even more basic level, a prayer is a form of communication, a way of talking to God or to the saints, just as we talk to family or friends.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church notes, however, not all prayers are the same. In Paragraphs 2626-2643, the Catechism describes five basic types of prayer. Here are brief descriptions of each type of prayer, with examples of each.
1. Adoration and Worship
In prayers of adoration or worship, we exalt the greatness of God, and we acknowledge our dependence on Him in all things. The Mass and the other liturgies of the Church are full of prayers of adoration or worship, such as the Gloria (the Glory to God).
Outside of the Mass, prayers of petition are the type of prayer with which we are most familiar. In them, we ask God for things we need—primarily spiritual needs, but physical ones as well. Our prayers of petition should always include a statement of our willingness to accept God's Will, whether He directly answers our prayer or not.
Prayers of intercession – praying for others – is another form of petition, but they are important enough to be considered their own type of prayer. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church notes (# 2634), "Intercession is a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did." In a prayer of intercession, we're not concerned with our needs but with the needs of others.
Perhaps the most neglected type of prayer is a prayer of thanksgiving. While praying “Grace” before meals is a good example of a prayer of thanksgiving, we should get into the habit of thanking God throughout the day for all the good things that happen to us and others. Consider including the Grace After Meals prayer as an excellent practice.
Prayers of praise acknowledge God for what He is. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church (# 2639) notes, praise "lauds God for his own sake and gives him glory, quite beyond what he does, but simply because HE IS. It shares in the blessed happiness of the pure of heart who love God in faith before seeing him in glory." The Psalms are perhaps the best-known example of prayers of praise.
Priest, Prophet King Lesson 4 -The Word Made Flesh
With the Incarnation, the actual Word of God became man and lived among us. Far exceeding the messages from the prophets, Jesus Christ is the Word or logos (mind) of God in the flesh. He is the full revelation of God and so his every word and action transmits the thoughts and desires of the one, true God. He orders all to himself and is the “way and the truth and the life” because of his divine nature.
If you registered for this Lent Study, please watch the Lesson four video that you received via email or text. With a friend or within a group, discuss these questions:
Why is Moses considered the greatest prophet of the Old Testament?
What are some examples from the Gospels of people proclaiming Jesus as a prophet?
How does the laity participate in the prophetic office of Christ?
I hope that you are enriched by this week’s lesson. Next week, we will look at ordering the kingdom.
God bless you and your families.