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.