Blessing, Adoration and Petitions
September 22, 1996
Brother John Raymond
The Holy Spirit has been at work in the Church since the day of
Pentecost. From the very beginning believers dedicated themselves to
fellowship, the apostles' teaching and THE PRAYERS. (Cf.
Jn. 14,26) The Holy Spirit formed the Church in the life of prayer.
"The forms of prayer revealed in the apostolic and canonical
Scriptures remain normative for Christian prayer." (CCC #2625) What
are these forms of prayer? According to the Catechism of the
Catholic Church they are: Blessing and adoration, prayer of
petition, prayer of intercession, prayer of thanksgiving and prayer
of praise. Let's look at some of these in more detail.
God gifts are continually showered upon us. God blesses us. "The
prayer of blessing is man's response to God's gifts." (CCC #2626)
Although strictly speaking man does not bless God, God is blessed
frequently in Hebrew prayer. So what does it mean? "To bless God is
to thank Him and to acknowledge His power and glory...'Blessed be
Yahweh' is usually a recognition of some benefit conferred by God."
(Dictionary of the Bible, Macmillan Pub., 1965, p. 98) Blessing
unites man and God in dialogue. Our prayer goes up to God the Father
through Jesus in the Holy Spirit. "We bless Him for having blessed
us." (CCC; Cf. Eph 1:3-14; 2 Cor 1:3-7; 1 Pe 1:3-9) This ascending
blessing draws down the grace of the Holy Spirit through Jesus from
the Father. From our blessing of Him God blesses us. (Cf. 2 Cor
13,14; Rom 15:5-6,13; Eph 6:23-24) Blessing is an expression of the
basic movement of Chrisian prayer__an encounter between man and God.
Adoration is an attitude on our part that acknowledges we are
creatures before God our Creator. We exalt God's greatness because
He made us and sets us free from evil. With adoration we render
homage in the spirit to the "King of Glory." It is a respectful
silence in the presence of the awesome God. We adore the thrice-holy
and sovereign God of love. Some have had a glimpse into this
mystery. The children of Fatima, Portugal come to my mind. When an
angel appeared to them in 1916 he invited them to pray with him. The
angel knelt and bowed his forehead to the ground praying three
times, "My God, I believe, I ADORE, I hope and I love
You..." After the angel left these children felt so immersed in the
presence of God that they were unable to speak for the rest of the
day. The second time the angel came he again prostrate himself and
this time prayed three times, "Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and
Holy Spirit, I ADORE You profoundly..." The children
described their experience as one of feeling "lost in God." God's
love and His very Being are overwhelming to us His creatures. In the
Old Testament those who "saw" God were amazed that they were still
alive. But even we who have not seen God can be awestruck when we
think about all He has created. Just look at the stars some night.
Prayer of Petition finds its first stirrings in asking
forgiveness. "Asking forgiveness is the prerequisite for both the
Eucharistic liturgy and personal prayer." (CCC #2631) For our
petition to be Christian it should be centered on the desire and
search for the Kingdom to come, as Jesus revealed it. The petitions
are arranged in a hierarchy. "First we pray for the Kingdom, then
for what is necessary to welcome it and cooperate with its coming."
(CCC #2632) In our loving relationship with God we can petition our
Heavenly Father for every need in Jesus' Name. And Jesus, "Who
assumed all things in order to redeem all things, is glorified by
what we ask the Father in His Name." (CCC #2633)
Blessing, adoration and petition are some of the basic revealed
forms of prayer. It may be helpful to read the New Testament or the
Missal looking for these forms of prayer and then we can incorporate
what we learn into our own prayer life.