Friday, September 9, 2016

Equilibrium in prayer

The Catechism of the Catholic Church categories prayer in six ways: blessing, adoration, petition, intercession, thanksgiving, and praise. It is worth reflecting on each category and asking ourselves do we give each its due. Sadly I suspect that we may find that a disproportionate part of our prayer is spent in either petition (asking for ourselves) or intercession (asking for others).  And our prayer of thanksgiving resembles the teenage boy who yells "Thanks" to his parents, over his shoulder as he runs out the door with his new iPhone. 

In the Catholic Church we know that Thanksgiving (Eucharist) should be the center; "we do well always and everywhere to give him thanks" say the prefaces at mass, and priests are strongly encouraged to celebrate mass every day. But what percentage of our personal prayer time is dedicated to thanksgiving and praise?

Over the last three years hardly a day has past that someone has not stopped me and said, "Please tell the governor I'm praying for him."  Now that the ordeal is over I would invite all those people to join in prayer of thanksgiving and praise. For myself, that thanksgiving is going to take the form of a novena, our tradition of praying for 9 days. For the next 9 days I will be praying the rosary in thanksgiving to God. 

Regardless of the form of prayer we choose, our prayers of thanksgiving and praise should at least equal in quantity and intensity our prayers of petition and intercession, and no small amount of prayer should be spent in blessing and adoration. It is good for us to keep in mind the six kinds of prayer and with some effort we can achieve the right balance.