It's good for us to step back every once in a while and ask the Holy Spirit to help us balance the way we pray. If we were to take a gallup poll of our prayer life, we often discover that we have a high percentage of petition and intercession prayers but perhaps a low percentage of Blessing and Adoration, Thanksgiving and Praise prayers.
So let's take a moment to review the basic forms of prayer with the goal of deepening and expanding our Blessing, Adoration, Thanksgiving and Praise prayers.
It can be so helpful for us to memorize and to pray that beautiful section of the Gloria that we pray on Sundays: "We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory."
The prayer of blessing is the human person's response to God's gifts. Because God blesses, the human heart can in return bless the One who is the source of every blessing. Our prayer ascends in the Holy Spirit through Christ to the Father -- we bless him for having blessed us. It implores the grace of the Holy Spirit that descends through Christ from the Father -- he blesses us.
Adoration acknowledges that we are creatures before the Creator. It exalts the greatness of the Lord who made us and the almighty power of the Savior who sets us free from evil. Adoration is homage of the spirit to the "King of Glory," respectful silence in the presence of the "ever greater" God.
By the prayer of petition we express our awareness of our relationship with God. The first movement of the prayer of petition is asking forgiveness, like the tax collector in the parable: "God be merciful to me a sinner!" A trusting humility brings us back in the light of communion between the Father and his Son Jesus Christ and with one another. Christian petition is centered on the desire and search for the Kingdom to come. We pray first for the Kingdom, then for what is necessary to welcome it and cooperate with its coming. By prayer every baptized person works for the coming of the Kingdom.
Intercession is a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did. He is the one intercessor with the Father on behalf of all people, especially sinners. A sincere prayer of intercession reveals a heart attuned to God's Divine Mercy.
Thanksgiving characterizes the prayer of the Church which, in celebrating the Eucharist, reveals and becomes more fully what she is. As in the prayer of petition, every event and need can become an offering of thanksgiving. The letters of St. Paul often begin and end with thanksgiving: "Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving."
Praise is the form of prayer which recognizes most immediately that God is God. It lauds God for his own sake and gives him glory, quite beyond what God does, but simply because He is. By praise, the Spirit is joined to our spirits to bear witness that we are children of God. Praise extends the depth and breadth of our souls.