“Gimme! Thanks! Oops! And Wow!”

I always thought I had a simple explanation for the types of prayer. In innumerable sermons, children’s messages, confirmation classes, and adult education sessions I told people there are four kinds of prayer: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.

To quote from my own A Course in Basic Christianity: “Many prayers begin with Adoration, which is a prayer that asks for nothing but simply praises God and expresses our love for God.

Often such prayer brings us to a realization of God’s majesty and power and our humbleness in relationship to it and we are drawn to Confession, which is prayer that expresses to God the things for which we are sorry and need forgiveness.

Thanksgiving is prayer that expresses gratitude to God for all the blessings we have received at God’s hands

Supplication is prayer that asks God for something to be accomplished, whether for ourselves, which is called Petition, or for others, which is called Intercession. If you take the first letter of each type of prayer, Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication, you get the word ‘acts.’”

>Pretty neat and simple. But in Sunday’s NYT Magazine in an article by Zef Chafets asking “Is There a Right Way to Pray,” Rabbi Marc Gellman does it even better when he is quoted as saying, “But really, when it comes right down to it, there are only four basic prayers. Gimme! Thanks! Oops! And Wow!” Now that is simple.

Does it fit my template? Well. let’s see: Gimme is Supplication (Gimme for me is Petition, Gimme for them is Intercession); Thanks is Thanksgiving, obviously; Oops is Confession; and Wow is Adoration. There you have it. Wow!

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