Prayers of Petition
One of the time-honored kinds of prayer is that of petition or asking God for what we and others need. Prayers of petition challenge us to recall our dependence on God. We cannot get along without God. We believe that God knows our needs even before we ask. Yet, we offer prayers of petition because it helps us remember that we need God above all. When we offer prayers of petition we do so with a spirit of openness, trusting that God will hear and answer our prayers in the way that is best. Sometimes it seems like the answer never comes or in ways that we do not anticipate. However, we trust in the promise of Jesus, "ask and it will be done for you."
When you are gathered for a meal or in the car, talk about the times when you pray prayers of petition. What are some of the needs and concerns you have brought to God's attention? Have your prayers been answered? Were they answered in the way you expected them to be? If they were not answered, did you give up asking? How has your faith been challenged or strengthened by this kind of prayer?
On a large sheet of paper draw four concentric circles. In the innermost circle write some of the needs and concerns of the family/household members that you want to remember in prayer. In the next circle write some of the needs and concerns of your local parish, neighborhood or community that you want to remember in prayer. In the next circle write some of the needs and concerns of our nation, and in the most outer circle write some of the needs and concerns of our world. Post the paper some place where you can be reminded of the things you are asking of God. It may be helpful to place your hand on each of the circles in succession as you pray for the things written there.
When you gather for a meal or other occasion, pause to pray for one of the needs and concerns you have identified in each of the four categories of Activity 2 above. You might have each member identify one, and other members respond, "Lord, hear us" to each petition. Or, set aside a different day to pray for the needs and concerns listed in each of the circles so that one day is dedicated to the concerns of the family/household; another day for parish, neighborhood, community; another for nation; another for world.