What are the different types of prayer? What should you pray about?
In Seeking Wisdom, Julia Wisdom explains that there are two main types of prayers you should recite regularly to most effectively harness God’s creative power. These two prayers are prayers of request and prayers of appreciation.
Below we’ll explain what these prayers are and how to practice them successfully.
1. Prayers of Request
There are two types of prayers: request prayers and appreciation prayers. A request prayer is when you ask God for something: for example, inspiration or a new friend. Cameron explains that request prayers are crucial because they’re how we receive God’s guidance—we ask and listen for the response. But Cameron warns that you must accept God’s response without resistance to increase your creativity and spiritual connection.
Cameron says that you must keep God’s goodwill in mind when you pray—ask God to work with you and through you, rather than for you. For example, you can pray, “please send me a new friend when it’s the right time,” or “please guide me to the career that’s right for me.”
Cameron says that God’s responses can come in many ways, such as a gut feeling, a new opportunity, or an abrupt change—you must listen to the signs and trust your intuition. Sometimes, God’s response won’t be what you wanted or expected, but above all, you must trust God. Cameron stresses that God is benevolent and will guide you in the right direction at the right time.
While making personal requests to God is most common, Cameron explains that asking God for humility and help with bad moods will also strengthen your spirituality and creativity.
Cameron adds that when you’re denied what you ask for in prayer or don’t receive the answer you want, you must resist the urge to become resentful, disappointed, or frustrated. These negative feelings can weaken your connection with God and your creative energy because you’re resisting the path that’s meant for you. If you find yourself resisting God’s will, you can use another type of request prayer: a prayer of humility.
Cameron explains that there are many different formal prayers and informal prayers you can use to ask for humility. For her, the formal Serenity Prayer often helps—“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
(Shortform note: The serenity prayer is an extremely common prayer of humility used in Alcoholics Anonymous. Experts explain that many alcoholics have an extreme need for control that prevents them from achieving peace and sobriety—the serenity prayer is a way of remembering acceptance on a minute-by-minute basis.)
But there are many informal ways of praying for humility. Cameron notes that going into nature is a great way to remind yourself of God’s goodwill and orderly direction. You can observe how the sun and rain feed flowers so they fulfill their purpose of blooming and remind yourself that just like the flowers, God will give you what you need to fulfill your purpose as well.
Requesting Help With a Bad Mood
Cameron cautions that it can also be hard to accept God’s guidance when you’re dealing with a bad mood. Bad moods happen to everyone sometimes—if you find yourself in a bad mood, you can use a different type of request prayer to ask for God’s help. Cameron reminds us that God is a friend that’s always listening and supportive.
There are a few ways you can pray for your mood. You can simply check in with God and say, “God, I’m feeling grumpy”—God’s always watchful, helpful, and accepting of your emotions. Or, you can ask for God’s help, saying “God, please help with my mood.” Cameron says that whenever she asks for help with her mood, she always receives a small pick-me-up that she knows is from God. She says to look out for God’s help; it can come in many different ways.
2. Prayers of Appreciation
Another different type of prayer is a prayer of appreciation. These are when we express gratitude for the things we have, the guidance we’ve been given, and God’s gifts. Cameron explains that these prayers are important because they bring us feelings of prosperity and abundance that will attract even more positivity and abundance back to us. She elaborates that praying about the things you appreciate helps you believe in the innate goodness of the universe, and the more positive your image of God and the world is, the more positivity and goodwill you’ll receive.
To begin expressing your appreciation through prayer, Cameron suggests observing the beauty of nature. When you observe nature—green grass, vicious snow storms, rumbling rivers—you often enter a state of awe. Cameron says that awe is a great starting point for prayer. Use the energy of awe to express your gratitude for God’s beautiful gift of nature.
Once you’re in the practice of expressing your appreciation, Cameron recommends tying a few specific topics into your regular prayers of appreciation: other people, miraculous events, and experiences of serendipity.
Appreciating the People in Your Life
Cameron recommends regularly expressing gratitude for the people in your life. These people can be casual acquaintances or your intimate support system. Ultimately, she says that God sends people into your life for a reason. For example, maybe the cashier at the grocery store this morning complimented your eyes and changed your mood from bad to excellent. You can thank God for that person.
Cameron adds that it’s especially important to express your appreciation for the intimate support system of people in your life—the group of people that you’ve chosen as your family. Some may be from your biological family, and some may be people you’ve met in different stages of your life. These people all have unique gifts that have helped you grow as a person, and they’re people that you can always turn to for support or advice.
Appreciating Miraculous Events
Further, Cameron says that another type of prayer thanks God for miraculous events—experiences that teach you an invaluable lesson or change how you see the world. While it might be easier to identify positive events that have helped you grow, Cameron notes that miraculous events can be tragedies sometimes as well.
She elaborates that tragic events often represent significant milestones in our lives. For example, many people have had life-changing epiphanies after traumatic events like losing a loved one, going through a breakup, or becoming seriously ill. Cameron explains that even when we struggle, God provides guidance to help us in the right direction. Cameron recommends writing about an experience that hurt you—what happened, how did you feel, what did you learn from this experience, how did God help or support you, and what can you be grateful for?
Appreciating Experiences of Serendipity
Finally, Cameron recommends thanking God for experiences of serendipity—when things in your life seem to randomly fall perfectly into place. For example, imagine you decide that you want to learn to sing but can’t find an available teacher in town. The next day at the grocery store, you reach for the same carton of milk as a stranger who you learn is a singing instructor, and she invites you to her last open lesson. Cameron says that these events are acts of God—God’s always listening and will send you exactly what you need at the right time.
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- How to channel your spirituality into your creative endeavors
- How to begin communicating with the divine
- The types of prayers you should practice