Prayer is the verbal or mental communication with God. It sits centrally in the experience of most persons of faith. In Matthew 6:9-13 Jesus taught His disciples a model prayer:
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
This set of words has ever since had an important role in Christian life. For some it is a communal and liturgical expression; for others a focus of private devotion. For others still, it serves as a model, and its style, ideas, but not by rout recitation is used to frame communication with the divine.
Theologically prayer takes for main forms – Adoration (praise); Thanksgiving (expressions of gratitude); Confession (a time to apologise and admit wrongs); and supplication (asking for things). Supplication is further divided into Petition (asking on ones own behalf); and Intercession (praying on behalf of others).
I find it easy to identify all of these except Thanksgiving in the Lord’s model prayer. My first reaction is that the thanks is assumed in Jesus’ words, as the positive response from the “Father” is assumed by nature the parent -child relationship. In any case, as we talk to our “Daddy” today, let us not forget to add it.