John Cassian: Four kinds of prayer

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First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people. 1 Timothy 2:1

“And we cannot possibly doubt that this division was not idly made by the Apostle. And to begin with we must investigate what is meant by supplication, by prayer, by intercession, and by thanksgiving…

Of Supplications.
“I exhort therefore first of all that supplications be made.” Supplication is an imploring or petition concerning sins, in which one who is sorry for his present or past deeds asks for pardon.

Of Prayer.
Prayers are those by which we offer or vow something to God… We pray, when we renounce this world and promise that being dead to all worldly actions and the life of this world we will serve the Lord with full purpose of heart…

Of Intercession.
In the third place stand intercessions, which we are wont to offer up for others also, while we are filled with fervour of spirit, making request either for those dear to us or for the peace of the whole world…

Of Thanksgiving.
Then in the fourth place there stand thanksgivings which the mind in ineffable transports offers up to God, either when it recalls God’s past benefits or when it contemplates His present ones, or when it looks forward to those great ones in the future which God has prepared for them that love Him.

And with this purpose too sometimes we are wont to pour forth richer prayers, while, as we gaze with pure eyes on those rewards of the saints which are laid up in store hereafter, our spirit is stimulated to offer up unspeakable thanks to God with boundless joy.”

John Cassian (c. 360-435) monk and theologian in The Conferences of John Cassian.

Consider with Cassian four kinds of prayer on this day of Thanksgiving in USA. If you read this elsewhere in the world, join in giving thanks today with intentionality.

Father in heaven, forgive us our sins, both the things we have done wrong and the good that we have left undone. Guide us in the way of righteousness. Hear our supplication in your mercy.

Regardless of what others around us do, help us live, give, serve, and love generously. Make it so by the power of your Spirit at work in us. Hear our prayer in your grace.

Heal the sick. Bind up the brokenhearted. Give hope to the war-torn. Comfort the sad. Strengthen those who minister. Bring peace to the whole earth. Hear our intercession in your love.

Remind us of your benefits in days past and of the benefits that await us in eternal glory. Help us persevere with gratitude in our hearts. Hear our thanksgiving in your goodness.

Happy Thanksgiving!