- Petition, i.e. asking for things
- Asking forgiveness
- Giving thanks
As modern Americans we turn up our noses at praise. At one time my perspective of praise was that it was an attempt to brown-nose God. Surely He could see through that.
My current perspective is that praising God serves to ensure we are in our proper place. The pitcher is on the mound. The catcher is behind the plate. The shortstop is between second-and-third. Everything runs better when the players are in their proper place on the field.
Consider the Our Father:
Our Father, who art in heavenAll praise. No sucking up. No brown-nosing. Just identifying God's proper place.
Hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come, they will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily breadBread can be metaphorical as in any recurring need. It can be generic for food. It can be asking for "Jesus, I am the bread of (eternal) life."
Our needs change from person-to-person and over time.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Suffer us not to be tempted and lead us from all that is evil.As a Roman Catholic, forgiveness is more formalized for most other Christians. One advantage of that formality is that our faith gives us a blueprint of what God is looking for. It also provides the person asking forgiveness the sense of relief that comes from being forgiven.
He is looking for sorrow for having sinned, not so much sorrow over the possibly going to Hell but sorrow that we offended Him.
He is looking for ownership, that we accept responsibility and not shirk or minimize what we have done.
He asks us to concretely CHANGE what we are doing to avoid sin. If you do what you have always done, you will get what you always got.
One quirk of Catholics is we believe that we must verbally "confess" to be forgiven. The priest serves as a proxy for those people we have injured by our sin. IMHO, as humans we cannot feel forgiven when we fail to ask the victims for forgiveness. The problem is that sometimes it is not safe to tell the victim "Yeah, Don Corleone, about that Cadillac that got vandalized..." Other times it is not possible to identify all the victims of our sins. Hence the need for a proxy.
Giving thanks gives us serenity. It is very individual and will change from minute-to-minute.
I am thankful that I am inside tonight.
I am thankful that Mom and Dad are still with us.
I am thankful for family.
I am thankful for the dogs, even the little one who snores.
I am thankful that my guts don't hurt.
I am thankful the truck started the last time I turned the key.
I am thankful for the internet and the ability to reach out to folks like you and to have access to writers who would have been invisible to me fifteen years ago.
BTW: Nice post over at HOTR on thankfulness.