The Catholic Church teaches that there are many ways to pray. The basic forms of prayer include blessing, petition, intercession, thanksgiving, and praise. Prayer is often referred to as conversations with God because this is how we express our innermost feelings and thoughts to Him while acknowledging that He is all knowing even before we even utter any word.
We pray to ask God to bless our efforts, ourselves, and our loved ones. A good example of this is the morning prayer that is said at the beginning of the day before any work is done. A prayer asking for God’s blessing is said in the belief that everything that we offer to God will bear more fruits.
A prayer of petition is probably the most popular among the basic forms of prayer. It is a request for assistance from God when facing actual or anticipated obstacles. It is said in the belief that our prayer will be granted if it will be good for the soul of the petitioner. A prayer of petition is best said with complete surrender to the will of the Lord, trusting that He will provide the right answer.
We also pray for our needs and the needs of others through a prayer of intercession. We turn to God for things that may be too big for us to handle. It calls for persistence until the will of God comes to pass thus it is closely associated with prayers of petition.
One of the more commonly neglected forms of prayer is the prayer of thanksgiving because of man’s common tendency to pray only when in need. It has to be remembered that praying to give thanks to God shows appreciation for the things we get even without asking. We pray to God to thank Him for the gift of life and all the blessings received.
Prayer in praise of God is a prayer devoted only to Him. There is no intention to ask for anything but simply to acknowledge His greatness through praise. The God who loves us, love to hear about our love for Him.
We are free to offer our unique prayers to God beyond the basic forms of prayer. There are no exact words needed because God knows our heart’s desire. We simply need to raise our prayers to Him and he will show us the way.