How to Pray

What is Prayer?

“Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God” (CCC 2559)

All of us, in time of need or distress, have called upon God for help.

We do this by talking to God and spending time with Him, sharing our thoughts, emotions, experiences, values and goals, by putting our trust in Him.



Raise Your Heart and Mind to God

In our closest relationships (i.e., friends, parents, etc.) we often are happy just to be in the presence of that person; when we deeply love someone we want to share all of their experiences, whether that be sharing in joyful occasions or comforting them in times of sorrow.

The same is true with God – the more we spend time with God, the closer relationship we develop with God.

God wants a close, intimate relationship with us, a relationship which involves Him in every aspect of our lives. He wants us to trust in Him, to share our good times and troubles, to request His assistance.

We will not have such a relationship if we fail to spend time with Him - we do this through prayer.

It is through our minds and hearts we bless, adore and praise God as our divine creator, and strive to understand God.

We ask God to help us in our daily needs and in times of trouble; we should also give thanks for all of the blessings and graces He provides us.



Purpose of Prayer

v To bring us closer to God

v To strengthen us spiritually

v To help our faith grow

v To help us listen to God's will



Why Pray?

v God is the Creator and giver of  all things

v God is worthy of prayer

v Prayer is the means by which the soul communicates with God

v  Jesus taught the necessity to pray

v God answers prayers



Click here to view a short video about prayer and why it's important in our lives as Catholics



Doesn’t God Already Know What we Need?

Yes but we do not pray to tell God what we need, but to acknowledge Him as the Giver of all good gifts, to testify our dependence on Him, and thereby to render ourselves more worthy of His gifts.



Principal Fruits of Prayer

v Unites us to God;

v Makes us heavenly minded;

v Strengthens us against evil;

v Gives us zeal and energy for good;

v Comforts us in adversity; and

v Obtains help for us in time of need, and the grace of perseverance unto death.  



Types of Prayer


The glory of God simply because He is God

Prayer of praise are joy filled prayers; often in the form of song or dance


A prayer of thanksgiving is one that acknowledges God’s many gifts with a profound  spirit of gratitude toward God


Reflecting upon the life and sufferings of Jesus, upon the Divine Perfections, or other truths of our religion (CCC 2705-2708)

This helps us to see how God is revealed in everyday life; to know God better so we may serve Him better; meditation can lead to contemplation


A silent, wordless prayer of simply being in the presence of God



Where Should you Pray?

The Holy Bible teaches that you should pray everywhere, lifting up your hands in holiness, without doubting or insincere thoughts. [1 Tim. 2:8]



Does praying require that you attend a church?

Not necessarily.  God is everywhere and there are sanctifying benefits to worshipping in different locations.  When you pray in the Church, you pray in the physical presence of Jesus who is in the Holy Tabernacle.  During the celebration of the Mass, you have the opportunity to receive the physical presence of Jesus in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.  When you pray outside the Church, you are in the spiritual presence of Jesus who dwells within you.



How Often Should You Pray?

"You should pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints." [Eph. 6:18]

When one has God in his heart, he uses every opportunity to pray to God in order to maintain ongoing spiritual strength. "Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually." [1 Chr. 16:11]

When prayer is only done twice a day, it is recommended that it be done in the morning and in the evening.  The morning prayer is an opportunity to thank God for the new day and ask for the needs of the day.  The evening prayer is an opportunity to thank God for the needs that were received during the day, taking a few moments to reflect upon the day and finally asking God for protection during the night.


Life of Prayer

By adoring God. "O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!" [Ps. 95:6]

By calling upon God. "Listen to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you I pray." [Ps. 5:2] and "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" [Rom 10:11]

By praying and singing to God. "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them." [Acts 16:25]

By singing to God. The Blessed Virgin Mary sang the Magnificent to God.  [Lk. 1:46-55]

By singing and playing music. "Your solemn processions are seen, O God, the processions of my God, my King, into the sanctuary - the singers in front, the musicians last, between them girls playing tambourines." [Ps. 68:24-5]

By meditating on God's ways. "I will meditate on your precepts, and fix my eyes on your ways." [Ps. 119:15]

By revering God. "A God feared in the council of the holy ones, great and awesome above all that are around Him." [Ps. 89:7]

By glorifying God. "The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork." [Ps. 19:1]

By showing love towards others, this being prayer in action. "Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common." [Acts 4:32]

By showing hospitality towards others, this being another form of prayer in action. "When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, 'If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.'" [Acts 16:15]

By being devout towards God. "A certain Ananias, who was a devout man according to the law and well spoken of by all the Jews living there." [Acts 22:12]

By sharing with others. "Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." [2 Cor. 9:7]

By reading the Word of God daily. "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and who keep what is written in it; for the time is near." [Rev. 1:3]

By teaching the Word of God to others. "Then Philip began to speak and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed the good news about Jesus."  [Acts 8:35]

St. Patrick's Church at Moody Air Force Base