By Murray Lewis
There are several types of prayer—the precise number depends upon the authority you consult—but in general, they fall into a few commonly recognized categories. And being who we humans tend to be, we employ some types much more often than others. Life and its surprises made me keenly aware of this recently.
There are prayers of petition, which usually begin, “Please…,” and at times, “Oh, please, please…,” and sometimes consist entirely of “Help!” (Some experts point to prayers requesting a blessing or forgiveness as distinct types, but to me, these logically begin with “please” and are therefore Please Prayers.) There are also prayers of intercession—which, really, are Please Prayers on behalf of someone else. More noble, certainly—unless we’re simply praying that something bad won’t happen to someone we care about, in which case it’s basically a Please Prayer in disguise. And then there are prayers of worship or adoration. Genuine prayers of this class are rare, because most of the time, what we really mean is, “Oh, Lord, you are wonderful (and so could you please…?).” Most of the time, then, our prayers are pleas on our own behalf.
But there’s one more type, the one that should perhaps be the most common—and for some reason isn’t. The prayer of gratitude.
I had the pleasure of helping my daughter-in-law buy her first car somewhere between the last issue and this one. It was brown—an unusual colour and a bit of a stumbling block at first, but we both grew rather fond of that car. We collected it from the dealer on a Tuesday evening, and the next weekend, she drove it several hundred kilometres to and from a wedding in the countryside. When she returned safely on Monday morning, I offered up a relieved “Thank you.”
A week later, I was at work when my phone rang and I heard a tearful, “Could you meet me at the hospital?” My blood froze.
When a truck attempts to drive through a sub-compact car, the car loses the contest. Had I seen the car before I saw Maya—shaken but miraculously unscathed—at the hospital, I would have been certain that my son had become a very young widower.
The car was a writeoff. When we went to collect Maya’s things from the wrecker’s yard, we met two very helpful men with a lot of experience of the sort of thing we were going through. Both said pretty much the same thing: Cars are expendable; people aren’t.
Very soon, we Canadians will celebrate Thanksgiving. Well, we call it that, but sometimes it seems that the Giving Thanks part gets paid scant attention. This year, I am more aware than ever of how much I have to be thankful for. I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.
Murray Lewis, Editor-in-Chief