There are many different forms or expressions of prayer. Prayer can be formal or informal, verbal or nonverbal, active or contemplative. But put simply – prayer is communicating with God. Just as we talk and share with our best friends what is happening in our lives, so we talk and share with God. Just as we listen to our friends, so we listen to how God is speaking to us. As in human communication, our communication with God can be expressed in a variety of ways. We communicate with God using words and songs, in imagination and silence, and ritually or spontaneously. We can pray in church, our gardens, our cars, or while in the shower. We can also pray lying in bed, as the first thing we do when we awake, and as the last thing we do as we drift off to sleep.
One of the characteristics of prayer we as Catholics believe is that with the right intention every moment of the day—all our hopes, works, joys, and sufferings—can become our prayer.
(Adapted from Loyola Press) Below are some resources to help you explore how you can improve or start your prayer life:
Apostleship of Prayer (The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network): God asks us all to pray for ourselves and for others. To make ourselves a living sacrifice and to pray without ceasing for all the needs of the Church and for the whole world. The Apostleship of Prayer receives two prayer intentions each month from the Holy Father www.jesuit.org.uk/tags/apostleship-prayer
Click to Pray (part of Apostleship of Prayer): The Pope now has a mobile application called Click To Pray for his worldwide prayer network. The app invites you to pray together with millions of others around the world for the Pope’s monthly prayer intentions which address current challenges facing humanity. And because every day is different, the app offers a prayer 365 days a year to help you discover each day how God calls you to live. www.clicktopray.org
Pray-As-You-Go: Pray as you go is a daily prayer session in a podcast format, designed for use on portable MP3 players, to help you pray whenever you find time, but particularly whilst travelling to and from work, study, etc. http://pray-as-you-go.org/home/
3-Minute Retreats: this site invites you to take a short prayer break right at your computer or on your smartphone, quietly reflecting on a scripture passage. Knowing that not everyone prays at the same pace, it allows you to have control over the pace of the retreat. www.loyolapress.com/3-minute-retreats-daily-online-prayer/about-3minute-retreats
Christian Life Community (CLC): is for people who want to understand more deeply how God is at work in their everyday lives. Members meet regularly in small groups to pray and share, supporting one another through the ups and downs of ordinary life. www.pathwaystogod.org/org/christian-life-community
Spirituality Centres/Retreat Houses: The Jesuits host three centres in the UK supporting people who want to explore opportunities for deeper prayer. Our three spirituality centres are very different: St Beuno’s is a residential retreat centre in rural North Wales; Mount Street Jesuit Centre offers a range of short and long courses in spirituality and faith formation along with volunteering and young adult programmes in the heart of London’s West End; and the Ignatian Spirituality Centre is in Glasgow city centre and offers a range of spiritual activities and courses. What they all have in common is their foundation in the spiritual teaching of St Ignatius: to seek God’s presence in our daily lives, and to understand His call. www.pathwaystogod.org/centres