classroom cropped.jpg
Christian Prayer
 

Prayer, as the raising of the mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God, contributes to the faith growth of individuals and the building of Christian community. Schools draw on the richness of the Catholic tradition, the wider Christian tradition and their own particular charism to nurture the prayer life of the school.

There is no other way of Christian prayer than Christ. Whether our prayer is communal or personal, vocal or interior, it has access to the Father only if we pray “in the name” of Jesus. The sacred humanity of Jesus is therefore the way by which the Holy Spirit teaches us to pray to God (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994, n.2664).

The Church invites the faithful to regular prayer: daily prayers; the Liturgy of the Hours; Sunday Eucharist; and the feasts of the Liturgical Year. The Catechism of the Catholic Church identifies three expressions of prayer: vocal prayer, mediative prayer, and contemplative prayer.

In vocal prayer a person, or a group, gives voice in an external way to the interior prayer of the heart following Jesus’ example of prayer to God. Mediative prayer is a prayerful quest engaging thought, imagination, emotion and desire. This may include readings, reflection, journaling, silence and stillness. At the heart of contemplative prayer is the simple act of being with God; recognising in stillness and silence God’s indwelling presence.

Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).

The essential forms of prayer in the Christian tradition are: blessing and adoration; petition and intercession; and thanksgiving and praise. All of these forms are present in the Mass. Sources of Christian prayer include: scripture; Liturgy of the Church; the theological virtues of faith, hope and love; the created world; and our relationships and life experiences.

Prayer may take place in many different contexts and settings. In celebrating a significant feast day or liturgical season in the life of the Church, it may be appropriate to gather for a prayerful school assembly. Meditative and contemplative prayer might be best experienced in a school prayer room or chapel. Reflective walks or keeping a journal may be more appropriate in outdoor settings or retreat venues. Members of the school community are supported in recognising the religious dimension in the everyday moments of life through the practice of daily classroom prayer.​

When the school community gathers in prayer, it draws on the breadth of the Christian tradition to build an understanding that its prayer is joined with the prayer of the whole Christian community; the people of God. Schools draw on their charism as an additional resource for prayer.

Staff and students need opportunities to engage in prayer on a daily basis. In the course of their years in Catholic and ecumenical schools, students will experience a variety of formal and informal expressions of prayer, appropriate to their age and development.

 

Christian Prayer Document Library

Elaborations