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What is prayer? – Compendium – 534

June 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Compendium, Dan Burke, Prayer

What is Prayer?
Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 534

for post on what is prayerPrayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God, or the petition of good things from Him in accord with His will. It is always the gift of God who comes to encounter man. Christian prayer is the personal and living relationship of the Children of God with their Father who is infinitely good, with His Son Jesus Christ, and with the Holy Spirit who dwells in their hearts.


“A catechism should faithfully and systematically present the teaching of Sacred Scripture, the living Tradition of the Church and the authentic Magisterium, as well as the spiritual heritage of the Fathers and the Church's saints, to allow for a better knowledge of the Christian mystery and for enlivening the faith of the People of God. It should take into account the doctrinal statements which down the centuries the Holy Spirit has intimated to his Church. It should also help illumine with the light of faith the new situations and problems which had not yet emerged in the past…the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the one hand repeats the old, traditional order already followed by the Catechism of St Pius V, arranging the material in four parts: the Creed, the Sacred Liturgy, with pride of place given to the sacraments, the Christian way of life, explained beginning with the Ten Commandments, and finally, Christian prayer. At the same time, however, the contents are often expressed in a new way in order to respond to the questions of our age. ”  (Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum on the Publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church Prepared following the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, 11 October 1992)

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • judeen

    I could not pray.. it was so hard… and when I did.. I get a rosary that was made wronge.. or I would fall asleep or it would fall apart… I did not want to pray.. but I went to confession , and confessed lazyness … and from that confession I could pray .. alot… a gift from God.. to pray is a gift.. to know God is a gift.. faith is a gift… so we can not judge at all… if we have that gift thank God for it.. we pray for that gift for others…

  • Karen

    Is there any one out there who can teach me to pray?

    • LizEst


      Your question is itself a very beautiful prayer. It’s the same thing the apostles asked Jesus, to which he gave them (and us) the Our Father prayer, which is a model for prayer (see the Gospel of Luke chapter 11:Verses 1-4 and the Gospel of Matthew 6:9-13).

      Prayer is simply a conversation. You talk to God and God talks to you. There are different forms of prayer: out loud or silent, with other people or by oneself, or contemplative in which you look at God with the eyes of your soul and God looks at you, or even infused (where God shares a spiritual intimacy, which cannot be described, with the person praying). A prayer can even be a sigh or longing because the Holy Spirit prays in us with inexpressible groanings (see St. Paul’s letter to the Romans 8:26).

      Many of us learned simple formal prayers as children. You don’t say what your faith background is or is not. So, if you are looking for some formal prayers, we can provide you with links to those or can even give you some simple ones here. But, anything more than that–and I suspect this is what you’re really searching for (a relationship with God)–I recommend you seek a spiritual director to help you and guide you by asking a priest or checking with the Diocese you are in.

      Please feel free to ask more questions here and/or share a little bit more about your faith background so we might be better able to assist you and point you in the right direction.

      God loves you very much, Karen. May He also bless you abundantly as He draws you ever closer to Himself.

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