There is a popular saying, “Prayer changes things.” To be perfectly honest, maybe it does and maybe it doesn’t. While the faithful are fond of sharing stories of the “miracles” where God has interceded in their lives, experience also demonstrates that we don’t always get the response that we want, no matter how sincere and worthy our request, or how great our faith. So, prayer does not consistently change “things” in the material world. But, prayer changes us, simply by strengthening our relationship with God. As with any good relationship, there must be communication, and prayer gives us the opportunity to talk.
But, the last two types of prayer listed in Lifelines Part 2: Types of Prayer—adoration and oblation—go beyond talk! Adoration is defined as, “lifting up of the heart and mind to God, asking nothing but to enjoy God’s presence.” Like an old happily married couple who knows each other so well that they don’t even need to speak, or young lovers in passionate wordless embrace, we can enjoy simply being in the Divine presence. Another term for this is “contemplative prayer,” which is very similar to meditation, where the heart and mind are totally focused on God. There are different techniques which can be used to achieve this state, which we will discuss in part 4.
And finally, oblation is the offering of ourselves, our lives and labors, for the purpose of doing God’s work in the world. Examples of oblation would include such things as feeding the homeless or building homes for them, helping victims of disasters, spending time consoling someone who is hurting, or even just our regular day-to-day work; doing our best to make the world a better place. This is prayer in action.