Health & Spirit

The four kinds of prayers we say to God

By Rabbi Marc Gellman, Tribune Content Agency on

Q: I remember reading an article of yours that said there are four things we say to God. I sort of remember one of them was "oops," but I don't recall the others. Appreciate any clarification you can provide. Thanks! -- From J

A: So you only remember a quarter of what I write? That is often a quarter more than I remember, and I write it. You are referring to the way I teach about praying to children. I explain to kids that even though there are millions and millions of prayers that go to God every day, there are only four kinds of prayers. Every prayer that has ever been prayed is one of four types: thanks, gimmie, oops and wow!

This is how I explain them to kids ...



Thanks Prayers are the prayers in which you thank God for some good thing you already have in your life.

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We pray Thanks Prayers to help us remember that everything we get in our life is really a gift from God. We have a mind to study and we did not give ourselves our mind. We live in a place where we are free to do what we want with our life and we did not give ourselves that place. We are alive and we did not make ourselves alive. We are loved and we did not make people love us. When you really think about it, everything in our lives is a gift, which means we got it with help from somebody else. Just because we did something or earned something does not mean we did it alone. We get things from helpers but God is the one who helped our helpers, and that is why we say Thanks prayers to God.

If the only kind of prayer you ever say are Thanks Prayers, it will be enough for God.




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