Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.  For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. (Romans 1:7-10)

As part of his introduction in chapter 1 of his letter to the Romans, St. Paul prays in a few different ways. He starts with a blessing in which he is calling down upon the Christian community of Rome (and down upon us who read his words 2000 years later) two gifts from God the Father and God the Son: Grace and Peace.  We also can give a blessing, to our spouse, to our children, our parents, family, friends, and more.  For us a hopefully common and yet simple blessing is “God bless you”. I get the feeling that we need to say that to each other more often.  Next St. Paul is thanking God, and the specific way of thanking God is “through Jesus”.  St. Paul is showing (and teaching) that one of the ways in which our relationship with Jesus is expressed is in HOW we pray. Finally St. Paul is both explaining to us, and teaching us, that his prayer of petition is done “without ceasing”.  That is inspiring. We need to imitate that.

Also of note is how St. Paul ends the letter in chapter 16:27 “to the only wise God be glory for evermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.” A summary of the types of prayers in St. Paul’s to the Romans: blessing, thanksgiving, petition and praise.

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