Jesus showed us that regular prayer is essential for a close and authentic relationship with God. In the gospels, he regularly takes himself to a quiet place to pray. He also prays in the synagogue and with his followers. He prays with the words of Scripture and in his own words, calling out to God from the depths of his heart. Sometimes his prayers are peaceful; sometimes they are a struggle. His prayers take many forms, but he is always praying.
Central to a healthy prayer life is the worshipping life of the Church. The prayers of the liturgy—and especially the Eucharist—help us, as a community, to foster an attitude of reverence, trust and humility, which in turn enriches our private prayer.
The Catholic prayer tradition is rich and diverse, and includes praying the Rosary, (link to Rosary prayer card on CAM website) contemplative prayer, prayerful meditation on Scripture, and praying with Mary and the saints. We can pray on our own, during Mass, with our friends and family or in parish-based prayer groups. Each day, we might pray the Liturgy of the Hours, practise the Ignatian Examen, keep a prayer journal, or use an online resource such as Sacred Space or Pray as you go. Time in nature, spiritual music or sacred art might help to focus our minds and inspire us, and current events and Catholic Social Teaching can inform our prayers for the world.
Whatever form your prayers take, the important thing is to keep praying. As Henri Nouwen observes, the more we surrender ourselves to God in prayer, the more we ‘begin to suspect that to pray is to live’.