What is prayer and why do we pray?

Key points from the session:

  • Prayer is a dialogue between God and us
  • Communication with God is much more than just offering words – it is lifting our heart and soul to God!
  • It is an expression of the heart to God, as an encounter and experience
  • Prayer is time spent with God and a time where He will communicate with us
  • Every Christian has a direct line to God and it is always active! We must call on Him and talk to God in the good times and the bad so that we can know His voice
  • We must go to God with reverence, but he is also our loving Father who wants to have fellowship with us
  • Prayer to anyone or anything apart from God is forbidden. We as Catholics do not pray to Mary but rather, ask her to pray for us and send our prayers to our Lord Jesus
  • God rewards those who earnestly seek Him
  • Jesus is the way to God – the mediator

The heart and attitude conductive for prayer

  • Clean heart – a heart not full of sin
  • Forgiving heart – a hindrance to prayer is not forgiving others. How will our Father forgive us if we cannot forgive others? This is a heart free of bitterness.
  • Heart of faith – have belief in God and that your prayers will be heard!

Expressions of Christian Prayer

  • Vocal prayer – Individual or communal, such as celebrating Mass, singing and other liturgical celebrations. Being spiritual and physical beings, vocal prayer allows us to externalize what is in our soul. What we are vocalizing must be accompanied with reflection
  • Meditative prayer – Grounded in spiritual reading and uses discernment to understand scriptures
  • Silent/Contemplative prayer – We experience intimacy with God as we try to be attentive to His voice. We open our hearts up to listen to God’s voice and infuse His love in all that we do. Contemplative prayer can be one of the more challenging types of prayer. Some ways that we can contemplate and pray is by gazing at the Eucharist, the Crucifix, admire God’s creation in nature and study religious art.
The Annunciation. Artist: Fra. Angelico, 1437. Creative Commons

5 Forms of Prayer

  1. Blessing – We ask God to bless us
  2. Adoration – We acknowledge God’s greatness and power as we stand humbly before him
  3. Petition – We call to God with our needs and to forgive our sins
  4. Intercession – This is prayer for others and not for our own sake
  5. Thanksgiving – Done in moments of joy and in times of joy. When we come to Mass we are giving God thanks and we are grateful!
  6. Praise – We recognize God for his own sake – that He is God!

Final Thoughts

The pain of sin committed against us affects us spiritually. When we choose not to forget and remain bitter against others, we let the sin set in and therefore affect us spiritually.

Prayer can sometimes feel hard. The way we pray is unique because the personal relationship we have with God is unique. There are ways to pray that can feel more natural for you. Some ideas may be to sing, to contemplate religious books or art, observe God’s creation in nature and appreciate the majesty of it all. We can also write out our favourite psalms to get our minds and hands involved in prayer!

We thank Father Evans for visiting our Parish and sharing his wisdom with us. Come back to visit soon!