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Prayer

How do I pray?

Various forms of prayer are presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2623-2649). These various forms include prayer of blessing or adoration, prayer of petition, prayer of intercession, prayer of thanksgiving, and prayer of praise.

What is meditation?

"Meditation is above all a quest."

Meditation is a Christian practice of prayer dating back to the early Church. As the Catechism states: "Meditation is above all a quest. The mind seeks to understand the why and how of the Christian life, in order to adhere and respond to what the Lord is asking." By meditating on the Gospels, holy icons, liturgical texts, spiritual writings, or "the great book of creation," we come to make our own that which is God's. "To the extent that we are humble and faithful, we discover in meditation the movements that stir the heart and we are able to discern them. It is a question of acting truthfully in order to come into the light: "Lord, what do you want me to do?" (CCC 2705-2706).

Meditation is an essential form of Christian prayer, especially for those who are seeking to answer the vocational question, "Lord, what do you want me to do?"

How do we pray with Sacred Scripture?

Spiritual reading of Sacred Scripture, especially the Gospels, is an important form of meditation. This spiritual reading is traditionally called lectio divina or divine reading. Lectio divina is prayer over the Scriptures.

The first element of this type of prayer is reading (lectio): you take a short passage from the Bible, preferably a Gospel passage and read it carefully, perhaps three or more times. Let it really soak-in.
 

The second element is mediation (meditatio). By using your imagination enter into the Biblical scene in order to "see" the setting, the people, and the unfolding action. It is through this mediation that you encounter the text and discover its meaning for your life.
 

The next element is prayer (oratio) or your personal response to the text: asking for graces, offering praise or thanksgiving, seeking healing or forgiveness. In this prayerful engagement with the text, you open yourself up to the possibility of contemplation.
 

Contemplation (contemplatio) is a gaze turned toward Christ and the things of God. By God's action of grace, you may be raised above meditation to a state of seeing or experiencing the text as mystery and reality. In contemplation, you come into an experiential contact with the One behind and beyond the text.

What are devotions?

Popular devotions are expressions of love and fidelity that arise from the intersection of one's own faith, culture and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As Saint John Paul II said in 2001:

Devotions promote the faith of the people.

"Genuine forms of popular piety, expressed in a multitude of different ways, derives from the faith and, therefore, must be valued and promoted. Such authentic expressions of popular piety are not at odds with the centrality of the Sacred Liturgy. Rather, in promoting the faith of the people, who regard popular piety as a natural religious expression, they predispose the people for the celebration of the Sacred Mysteries.

The correct relationship between these two expressions of faith must be based on certain firm principles, the first of which recognizes that the Liturgy is the center of the Church's life and cannot be substituted by, or placed on a par with, any other form of religious expression. Moreover, it is important to reaffirm that popular religiosity, even if not always evident, naturally culminates in the celebration of the Liturgy towards which it should ideally be oriented. This should be made clear through suitable catechesis" (Address to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, September 21, 2001).

- USCCB

Join with the Church as she expresses her praise and devotion to God through many popular devotional practices questions and answers, a USCCB document .

 

Papal Intentions

The 10 Commandments and The Beatitudes

The Stations of The Crib - The Stations of the Crib recall the events leading up to and immediately following the birth of Christ. They parallel in number and form the Stations of the Cross.  From The Confraternity of Penitents

 

Prayers from the US Bishops

 

Image courtesy of USCCB

God invites us into a relationship with Him that is both personal and communal. He speaks to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, the Word-made-flesh. Prayer is our response to God who is already speaking or, better yet, revealing Himself to us. Therefore, prayer is not merely an exchange of words, but it engages the whole person in a relationship with God the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit.

Basic Prayers

Days and Seasons

Family Prayers from Birth to Death

Prayers for Catholic Living

Prayers for the Church and the World

 

A variety of prayers courtesy of Loyola Press

Examples of Children's Prayers

Examples of Contemporary Prayers

Examples of Family Prayers

Examples of Ways to Improve Your Personal Prayer Life

Examples of Traditional Catholic Prayers

Daily Inspirations From Loyola Press

 

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