What is Prayer?
Prayer is not a mysterious practice reserved only for clergy and the religiously devout. Prayer is simply communicating with God - listening and talking to him. Catholic teachings on the subject of prayer are contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, where quoting St. John Damascene, prayer is defined as "...the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God".
Prayer then is a conversation with your best friend, our brother and our King, Jesus Christ. It is not just a monologue or a “quiet time” or a time simply to analyse and reflect on things, but a real “back and forth” dialogue from the heart with someone who loves you very much and has a very concrete plan for my life.
While we often still think of prayer primarily as asking God for something, prayer, properly understood, is a conversation with God. Just as we cannot hold a conversation with another person unless he can hear us, the very act of praying is an implicit recognition of the presence of God. In other words there is no substitution for doing it. Prayer is all about putting ourselves in union with God, to unite ourselves intimately to him. The quality of our prayer life then determines the quality of our relationship with God. Prayer is talking with God. Prayer is listening to God. Prayer is enjoying the presence of God. It can take many forms – for example: worship, confession, thanksgiving, praise, petition (asking for things), waiting (silent, listening and sensing of God).
The greatest of all prayers is the
It was taught by Jesus to His disciples, and has been used by the Church since the very beginning of her history. Our Lord gave to His hearers this model prayer, addressed to His Heavenly Father, expressing adoration, recognition of God's attributes, and petitions for the graces, forgiveness and protection needed by mankind - and expressing all of these in a few sentences and in simple words.
Should I stand, sit or kneel to pray?
There is no correct or certain posture for prayer. In the Bible people prayed on their knees (1 Kings 8:54), bowing (Exodus 4:31), and standing (1 Kings 8:22). You may pray with your eyes opened or closed, quietly or out loud—however you are most comfortable and least distracted. Relax and pray as you can, not as you can’t.
What Words shoud I use?
Your prayers need not be wordy or impressive in speech – the most important thing is that come from the heart. Why not start with the Model of all prayer – The Lord’s Prayer.
You can read lots about
prayer and you can talk about prayer lots –
the Most important thing though is
that you do it!