St. Paul Urged Us to Pray
When St. Paul sent instructions about the Church’s work to Timothy, his young co-worker, he underlined that prayer is the most important thing of all. “First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, requests and thanksgivings be offered to God for all people.” [1 Timothy 2:1, TEV].
Petitions - implies that, when we pray for others, we ought to pray for ourselves. The RSV uses the older term supplications, reflecting perhaps the Church fathers understanding that these are prayers of pardon.
Prayers - is a general term by which the early Church conveyed the need to vow to put to death every sinful desire and serve God with the whole heart.
Requests is often interpreted to mean prayers in which we ask God to bless others whom we name before him.
Thanksgiving refers to prayers in which we ask God for all his blessings, including answers to our prayers.
Jesus Teaches Us How to Pray
“When you pray, do not use a lot of meaningless words, as the pagans do, who think that their gods will hear them because their prayers are long. Do not be like them. Your Father already knows what you need before you ask him. This, then, is how you should pray:”
[Matthew 6:7-9, TEV]
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven:
May your holy name be honored;
may your Kingdom come;
may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need.
Forgive us the wrongs we have done,
as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us.
Do not bring us to hard testing,
but keep us safe from the Evil One.
For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever.
||[Matthew 6:9-13, TEV]