Simplicity of Prayer

Do we sometimes complicate prayer, thinking that unless we’re reciting traditional formulas, we’re not “really” praying? But in truth, prayer is beautifully simple, as easy and natural as speaking with our family and friends.

For prayer is our conversing with God, as our prayer partners – the saints – have described it.

“Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God, or the requesting of good things from God,” St. John Damascene teaches us (quoted in Catechism paragraph 2559).

St. Teresa of Avila emphasizes the intimacy of our relationship with God, viewing prayer as “nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him Who we know loves us” (quoted in 2709).

St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, reminds us that prayer doesn’t even require words: “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” (quoted in 2558).

While our learned prayers and devotions offer us wonderful ways of engaging the Lord, let us also cultivate the habit of turning to Him throughout the day, whether to thank Him for a particular blessing, ask for His help in difficulty, or tell Him hello, just because.

Parents can encourage children to do likewise, and in the evening, family members may share one aspect of their prayer that day.