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Prayer 101

Everything you need to know about prayer in the Catholic Church


Saint Paul tells us that we should "pray without ceasing," yet in the modern world, it sometimes seems that prayer takes a back seat not only to our work but to entertainment. As a result, many of us have fallen out of the habit of daily prayer that characterized the lives of Christians in centuries past. Yet an active prayer life is essential to our growth in grace. Learn more about prayer and about how to integrate prayer into every aspect of your daily life.

What Is Prayer?

Woman holding a crucifix
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Prayer is one of the most basic activities of all Christians, not just Catholics, and yet it is also one of the least understood. While Christians should pray daily, many find that they do not know what to pray for. Once we understand that prayer is not simply asking God for something, but engaging in conversation with God and with His saints, however, prayer can become as natural as talking to our family and friends.

Types of Prayer

Elevation of the Host during Mass at St. Mary's Oratory, Rockford, IL (Photo © Scott P. Richert)
(Photo © Scott P. Richert)
We're all familiar with prayers of petition--asking God for something. But there are many other types of prayer, as well, and a healthy prayer life will use all of the types every day. Learn about the types of prayer and find examples of each type.

Why Do Catholics Pray to Saints?

Central Russian icon of selected saints. (Photo © Slava Gallery, LLC; used with permission.)
(Photo © Slava Gallery, LLC; used with permission.)
While all Christians pray, only Catholics and Eastern Orthodox pray to the saints. This sometimes leads to great confusion among other Christians, who believe that prayer should be reserved for God alone. But if we understand what prayer truly is, and we believe in life after death, then prayer to the saints makes perfect sense.

Top 10 Prayers Every Catholic Child Should Know

grandfather and grandson praying together
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Teaching your children to pray can be a daunting task, but it is made much easier through the memorization of common prayers that your children can say throughout the day. Find the major prayers that will shape the daily prayer life of your children, from the moment they rise in the morning until they go to bed at night.
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