About Me

I live in Suffolk County NY located in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. I have been involved in Catechesis for 10 years and accept all the teachings of the Catholic Church with complete faith. Above all, I want to spread the Gospel of salvation through the teachings of the Church. The contents of this blog have been taken from my RCIA course entitled RCIA: The Way, the Truth, and the Life, available at www.lulu.com/tombosco

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Lesson 7 - Lord, Teach Us to Pray

(Lesson 7)

Prayer “Lord, Teach Us to Pray”

"This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven…” Matt 6:9

Discussion Guide:

Prayer is the most powerful tool that God gives us as believers in Jesus Christ. Without prayer, our spiritual life would crumble and our souls would be left empty. We must invite God into our lives by prayer. Prayer is the way that man communicates with God. When we pray, we are speaking to God and he is speaking to us. A request for intercessory prayer can also be directed to any Saint, especially the Virgin Mary. Jesus often told his disciples that they need to pray; likewise the Church tells us that we need to pray. It is not an optional practice. It should become a regular part of our daily lives as Catholics. We should try to arrange a specific time each day that is set aside for prayer. We should also pray throughout the entire day by spontaneously speaking with God.

The following are three broad categories of prayer:

· Vocal prayer

· Meditation

· Contemplative prayer

A common question is: Why do we not always receive what we ask for in prayer?

· It is ultimately a mystery of God

· Because we do not pray as we ought to

· Because that which we ask for is prejudicial to our salvation

· Because we do not persevere in praying; therefore we must also pray with resignation to the will of God, and perseverance.

Discussion Points:

· Prayer is both talking and listening to God

· Prayer is a reflection of our personal relationship with God

· God gives us peace through prayer

· God gives us faith through prayer

· God gives us answers through prayer (They are not always the answers we want)

· We pray for the needs of others as well as for our own

· We must pray at home and we must pray at Church

· The Mass is the greatest prayer of all

· Jesus taught us to pray the Our Father

Common Catholic Prayers

The Apostles' Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead, I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Our Father

Our father, who art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

The Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Glory be to the Father

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Hail, Holy Queen

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen

St. Gertrudes Prayer for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

"Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen."

Prayer “Lord, Teach Us to Pray”

"This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven…” Matt 6:9

Opening Prayer:

Jesus, shine through me, and be so in me, that every person I come in contact with may feel Your presence in my soul. Amen
John Henry Cardinal Newman


Prayer is communication with God. There are different ways of praying. We can pray to the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit. We can also ask Mary and the Saints to intercede with God on our behalf. We can ask other people to pray for us and with us.

Bible Readings:

Philippians 4:6-7 Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Matt 6:5-15 "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. "And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Sirach 28:1-6 He that takes vengeance will suffer vengeance from the Lord, and he will firmly establish his sins. Forgive your neighbor the wrong he has done, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray. Does a man harbor anger against another, and yet seek for healing from the Lord? Does he have no mercy toward a man like himself, and yet pray for his own sins? If he himself, being flesh, maintains wrath, who will make expiation for his sins? Remember the end of your life, and cease from enmity, remember destruction and death, and be true to the commandments.

Explanation of the Bible readings: These two readings place their emphasis on trust in God. St. Paul tells us that we need not have anxiety. In prayer we should have faith in God’s providence. Remember that God is always in control. Even when we do not understand why things are happening the way they are, God is still with us. As our trust in Jesus Christ grows stronger, there is truly a peace that surpasses all human understanding. The Our Father is the most perfect prayer because the Lord gave it to us. It includes all aspects of Christian prayer in the most sublime language of God himself. The one demand God places on us in this prayer is the need to forgive others. We ask the Father to forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others. What happens if we do not forgive others? Well, you figure it out! Do not hold a grudge against anyone. Be quick to forgive. If you pray for the grace needed to accomplish forgiveness, God will answer. Have faith that God will always give you grace if you ask for it in prayer.

2Maccabees 12:39-45 Praying for the dead is honorable
Matt 5:44 Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you
Revelation 6:10 Prayers of the martyrs in Heaven


Pope John Paul II indicates that people sometimes say that they don't know how to pray. (His favorite prayer was the Rosary.) "How to pray? This is a simple matter. I would say: Pray any way you like, so long as you do pray." You can pray the way your mother taught you; you can use a prayer book. Sometimes it takes courage to pray; but it is possible to pray, and necessary to pray. Whether from memory or a book or just in thought, it is all the same. John Paul II, The Way of Prayer

"He who prays," says St. Alphonsus, "is certainly saved; be who prays not is certainly lost. All the blessed have been saved by prayer. All the damned have been lost by not praying; had they prayed, they would not have been lost. And this is and will be their greatest torment in hell, to think how easily they might have been saved, had they only prayed to God for His grace, but the time of prayer is now over for them" St Augustine is then right in calling prayer "the key of heaven".

Catechism of the Catholic Church:

2559 "Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God." But when we pray, do we speak from the height of our pride and will, or "out of the depths" of a humble and contrite heart? He who humbles himself will be exalted; humility is the foundation of prayer, only when we humbly acknowledge that "we do not know how to pray as we ought," are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer. "Man is a beggar before God."

2562 Where does prayer come from? Whether prayer is expressed in words or gestures, it is the whole man who prays. But in naming the source of prayer, Scripture speaks sometimes of the soul or the spirit, but most often of the heart (more than a thousand times). According to Scripture, it is the heart that prays. If our heart is far from God, the words of prayer are in vain.


2628 Adoration is the first attitude of man acknowledging that he is a creature before his Creator. It exalts the greatness of the Lord who made us and the almighty power of the Savior who sets us free from evil. Adoration is homage of the spirit to the "King of Glory," respectful silence in the presence of the "ever greater" God. Adoration of the thrice-holy and sovereign God of love blends with humility and gives assurance to our supplications.


2631 The first movement of the prayer of petition is asking forgiveness, like the tax collector in the parable: "God, be merciful to me a sinner!" It is a prerequisite for righteous and pure prayer. A trusting humility brings us back into the light of communion between the Father and his Son Jesus Christ and with one another, so that "we receive from him whatever we ask." Asking forgiveness is the prerequisite for both the Eucharistic liturgy and personal prayer.


2634 Intercession is a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did. He is the one intercessor with the Father on behalf of all men, especially sinners. He is "able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them." The Holy Spirit "himself intercedes for us . . . and intercedes for the saints according to the will of God."


2637 Thanksgiving characterizes the prayer of the Church which, in celebrating the Eucharist, reveals and becomes more fully what she is. Indeed, in the work of salvation, Christ sets creation free from sin and death to consecrate it anew and make it return to the Father, for his glory. The thanksgiving of the members of the Body participates in that of their Head.


2639 Praise is the form of prayer which recognizes most immediately that God is God. It lauds God for his own sake and gives him glory, quite beyond what he does, but simply because HE IS. It shares in the blessed happiness of the pure of heart who love God in faith before seeing him in glory. By praise, the Spirit is joined to our spirits to bear witness that we are children of God, testifying to the only Son in whom we are adopted and by whom we glorify the Father. Praise embraces the other forms of prayer and carries them toward him who is its source and goal: the "one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist."

2722 Vocal prayer, founded on the union of body and soul in human nature, associates the body with the interior prayer of the heart, following Christ's example of praying to his Father and teaching the Our Father to his disciples.

2723 Meditation is a prayerful quest engaging thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. Its goal is to make our own in faith the subject considered, by confronting it with the reality of our own life.

2724 Contemplative prayer is the simple expression of the mystery of prayer. It is a gaze of faith fixed on Jesus, an attentiveness to the Word of God, a silent love. It achieves real union with the prayer of Christ to the extent that it makes us share in his mystery.

Faith words:

Intercession: In Christian practice, intercessory prayer is the act of one person praying for or on behalf of another person or situation. The prayer intercedes on behalf of the subject, in the hope that God will answer the prayer accordingly.

Petition: a message requesting something that is submitted to an authority

Prayer: By prayer we acknowledge God's power and goodness, our own neediness and dependence. We communicate with God.

Reflection Questions:

What kind of distractions do you experience in prayer?

Have you experienced the peace of Christ while in prayer?

Have you ever asked someone to pray for you or have you been asked to pray for someone else? Discuss.

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