On January 21, 2024 Pope Francis announced that 2024 is a Year of Prayer in preparation for the Jubilee Year of 2025. What better way to prepare for a jubilee than to pray and hear what God is asking of us now and for 2025?
Before we look at prayer, let’s look at a few highlights of the press conference held about the Year of Prayer.
- We are asked to intensify prayer and renew and rebuild our spiritual practices.
- Prayer is nourishment for the Christian life of faith, hope, and charity.
- The Church and people of God are to become a concrete sign of hope.
- Let's get back to basics.
What is Prayer?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church devotes Part Four, Christian Prayer, to this topic. We can learn much from the first few paragraphs: 2558-2565
"For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy." St. Therese of Lisieux
"Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God." St. John Damascene
We are reminded that prayer is a gift, a covenant, and communion. It is a gift given to us because we have faith.
We pray in faith to God, who created us, loves, and wants our good. It is a covenant in that we trust that when we pray, God listens and responds.
Our prayer comes from the heart, the place to where we go that is known only by God. It is where we encounter God.
Prayer is communion that unites us with the Trinity and the body of Christ, the Church.
Types of Prayer
Our prayer life needs a balance of private or personal prayer and communal prayer. Both vocal and mental prayer are helpful to learn what God is asking of us and to learn what his will is for us.
In your prayer life, consider the different types of prayer you participate in weekly. Aim for a variety; rote prayers, Mass, Confession, scripture and silence are all good places to begin.
Silence can be especially fruitful as we live in a time where noise seems to be everywhere. God speaks to us in many different ways, but when we learn to be silent, he gets our attention more easily as we are open to the Spirit.
As we begin this Year of Prayer, think about adding a new way to pray in your prayer life.
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