Four types of prayers, according to St. Paul.
St. Paul (1 Tim 2: 1) calculates four kinds of prayers: “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and Thanksgiving *. Greek words are not enough to determine what species of prayers, the apostle had exactly in mind. Christian authors (Origenes, St. Thomas Aquinas and others) give a definition a little artificial. For example. according to Origen, the first species means «Prayers that someone sends to achieve what he needs *. So, in short, it is a pleading prayer. In the second place is «prayer with the giving of praise for things above *. Then comes the prayer that means «A request to God, to which the one who has the greater dares trust in God *. The last kind, Thanksgiving, needs no explanation. However, if we read pretty simply, we can say that there are only two kinds of prayers: praying and giving thanks.
Prayer and thanksgiving prayer
The first prayer we know from life and the Scriptures in prayer. A person feels weak, exposed to danger, so he asks for help in a higher, more powerful being, God. According to St. Basil it is a prayer “a prayer by which pious people turn to God.” We read examples of such requests on almost everyone pages of the Old Testament. Literary criticism points to external similarities of Jewish prayers with Babylonian and Egyptian prayers. And yet, there are differences. There is something impersonal, official in the Egyptian cult. The people of Bologna praise the deity with many celebratory titles to incline him. Jews, however, are aware that their relationship with God is something special. And the LORD hath made a covenant with Abba and is willing to help him whenever the people turn to him. They often turn to God and individuals, even in the minor difficulties of daily life. However, in the Psalms, which are the official prayers of the Jewish cult, they usually ask for more fantastic gifts: wisdom, God’s fear, trust in danger, the forgiveness of game breeding, etc.
The Fathers of the Church like to show us how to pray for the feeling of scarcity, misery, weakness. To whoever would have him did not feel, answers St. Johannes Chrysostomus: «Are you saying that you don’t need to pray? That’s why you need to pray to you, it looks like you don’t need it. “Johannes Chrysostomus it seems, then, that natural disasters, such as floods, crop failures, hunger, are not such great evil. They awaken in man’s consciousness of need, they turn their minds to God, and therefore they are even by the gifts of God.
In a Christmas message from 1955, he shows Pius. XII., As, on the contrary, a deceptive feeling of certainty diverts from God: «The fact that people in the so-called industrial era are used to pray It is a sign of the supposed self-sufficiency that modern man boasts. Many do not pray today, feel confident, and think technology has already overcome the prayer the Lord has placed in people’s mouths: Give us our daily bread today! The prayer of gratitude is the opposite of praying. Who got, thanks. Interestingly, no word in Hebrew corresponds precisely to our “thank you.” Semite He expressed his gratitude by praising the donor, his mercy, goodness, love. Therefore, the so-called Prayers of praise, many in Scripture, actually belong to the group of thanksgiving prayers.
A. Fonck thinks that praise and thanks, are two different feelings. Thanks for something we got. Praise is more selfless. We praise God’s greatness in itself. Despite this, however, this can be said to be related. Everything that God reveals is a gift to people. It expresses it nicely in verse of the Mass, part of Gloria: «Thank you for your great glory. »
Therefore, Clement of Alexandria encourages Christians to thank God in the first place for the gift of knowledge so that they can understand the greatness of God. The more we know it, the more we thank it. On the contrary, the more immense ours gratitude, the more God reveals His glory to us. In the spiritual language of today, we would say that we should thank God above all for the gifts of grace: for that, we know the Christian truth, for baptism and sanctification grace and for the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and for all that helps us in the growth of life in Christ.
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