Feast and Faith: Different Ways To Pray (May 22, 2017)
For this week's dinner discussion we are exploring some different ways to pray. Below is a prayer with which to start your meal and then four discussion questions to explore this topic with your family while you eat.
A Prayer For the Answering of Prayer, BCP. pg. 834
Almighty God, who has promised to hear the petitions of those who ask in your Son's Name: We ask you mercifully to incline your ear to us who have now made our prayers and supplications to you; and grant that those things which we have faithfully asked according to your will, may effectually be obtained, to the relief of our necessity, and to the setting forth of your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
There are many types of prayer, some of which you might not even recognize right away. When we think of prayer, we often ask ourselves if there is a “right way” to pray. Some might say that is bowing the head and closing the eyes, some might say kneeling is better. However, there is no one or “right” way to pray to God. You may use a lot of words, very little, or none. It all depends on preference and how close we feel to God. Martin Luther, the German protestant reformer, said “The fewer the words, the better the prayer.” and Teresa of Avila said: “prayer, in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us.”
Not only does the method of prayer vary from person to person, but also the content of our prayers. We are all different, but most of our prayers can be summed up by the acronym A.C.T.S or
Adoration, “Wow” : A prayer of adoration is a prayer that praises God’s goodness and majesty.
Confession, “Sorry” : A prayer of confession is a searching prayer of the heart. When we confess, we bare our souls before God about our sins and shortcomings. A key part of the good news of Jesus is that repentance can bring forgiveness and new life, which is why we confess.
Thanksgivings, “Thanks”: A prayer of thanksgiving is a prayer that recognizes the good things God gives us and offers thanks for them: our lives, our health, our families, and our faith. The apostle Paul told us, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:16–18 NRSV). A part of what it means to live faithfully is to live out of a deep sense of gratitude for all that God has done for us. Prayers of thanksgiving help us to do that. They give proper thanks to God and also shape us into thankful people at our core.
Supplications, “Please”: A prayer of supplication is a prayer that lifts up requests before God. Supplications are often divided between those requests we make for ourselves (petitions) and those requests we make on behalf of other people (intercessions).
1. Do you think someone can pray with no words? How?
2. Do you believe prayer is like meditation? How are they similar or different?
3. How do prayers benefit the person praying?
4. Can someone pray while doing something else like drawing or playing soccer or doing math? Why or why not? Does it depend on the activity?