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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Types of prayer

Types of prayer

During prayer a Christian pours out his soul before God: the glorifies Him for His great perfection, thanks Him for His mercy and goodness, and makes requests for his needs. Hence there are three main forms of prayer: praise, thanksgiving, and petition.
        Praise (Doxology) — is the most perfect and selfless type of prayer. The more pure and blameless a person is, the more the perfection of God is reflected in him, and through this he involuntarily calls forth happy words of praise and glory. Thus the angels in the heavens unceasingly glorify God in hymns. “Praise,” says Bishop Theophan the Recluse, “is not an indifferent contemplation of God's attributes, but a living experience of them, full of joy and exaltation.”
        Thanksgiving is sent up to God for all the good things received from Him. It arises naturally in a grateful and sensitive soul. God is merciful to all of us, but not many of us remember to thank Him. Out of the ten lepers healed by our Savior, only one, a Samaritan, returned to thank Him (Luke 17:12-17).
        The most widespread form of prayer is petition, offered in acknowledgment of our weaknesses, infirmities, and lack of experience. Because of sins and passions, our souls become weak and sick. Therefore, it is essential in prayer to ask God to forgive us and help us to overcome our faults. Sometimes requests are made because of an impending danger hanging over us, a need, etc. Petition in prayer is inevitable in view of our weakness and is readily accepted by the all-merciful Lord (Matt. 7:7; John 16:23). But if our prayer has only a predominant character of request, if the voice of praise and thanksgiving is almost unheard, this indicates poor development of our spiritual life.

        Often these various forms of prayer become combined in one. A person begs the Lord about his needs and simultaneously praises Him for His greatness and goodness and thanks Him for being able to fearlessly address Him as to his merciful Father. The most festive hymns of praise in the Church frequently turn into compounded petitions (“Glory to God in the highest,” “We praise Thee, O God”), and sometimes the opposite: tearful prayers to God for help resolve into a sublime harmony of grateful thanks and praise. Many Psalms reflect this type, for example, Psalms 146, 148, and others.

Orthodox Church of Pakistan