Health & Spirit

Famous examples of the four types of prayers

By Rabbi Marc Gellman, Tribune Content Agency on

Q: I read with much interest your recent column that includes the four kinds of prayers. I have never been a confident pray-er and enjoy some helpful prayers of others. May I ask if you could give me an example of each one of these types of prayer? Thank you very much. -- M, from Harrisburg, Pa.

A: Glad to oblige. Here are some famous examples of Thanks, Gimmie, Oops, and Wow! prayers.


-- A good Thanks prayer:

Every time I eat bread I say this Hebrew Thanks prayer:

"You are blessed O Lord our God, King of the universe who has brought forth bread from the earth."

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I like this prayer for bread because it is a simple Thanks prayer for simple food. It is not a prayer for donuts or pizza or cake or chicken fingers. This is a prayer for the oldest food in the West. In the East the prayer over the most basic food would be a prayer over rice. Gandhi taught, "To a poor man, God is bread." Thanks prayers take us back to the basics of life and to the life altering truth that everything in life is a gift.


-- A good Gimmie prayer:

There are so many bad Gimmie prayers where we ask God for things we can get for ourselves or for things we really do not need. The best Gimmie prayers are the ones where we ask God to give someone else something he or she really needs right now. The best Gimmie prayer is also the most famous prayer in the world, The Lord's Prayer. This prayer comes from the New Testament from the 6th chapter of the Book of Matthew verses 9-11. It is from the part where Jesus is teaching people how to pray:


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