Prayer & Worship
Prayer cannot be reduced to the spontaneous outpouring of interior impulse: in order to pray, one must have the will to pray. Nor is it enough to know what the Scriptures reveal about prayer: one must also learn how to pray. Through a living transmission within the believing and praying Church, the Holy Spirit teaches the children of God how to pray (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994, n.2650).
Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God. To pray is to respond to the wonder and mystery of life. In the Christian tradition prayer fosters a personal and living relationship with God as Trinity.
Worship is described as the adoration of God that may be expressed through praise, thanksgiving, self-offering, sorrow and petition. Worship of God is described as private when it occurs anywhere and at any time. Liturgy is public worship centred on Christ. Worship can be expressed through bodily gestures or postures, in rites and ceremonies (The Essential Catholic Handbook, 2004, p.267).
Prayer and worship as integral to the life of all Catholic and ecumenical schools and have the potential to nourish the spiritual growth of all members of the school community. Prayer and worship provide the context and the resources for individuals and groups to celebrate their life and identity as members of the school and to nurture their relationship in faith with God and with one another. Staff require ongoing support and formation in understanding prayer and worship in the Catholic and broader Christian tradition and in developing the knowledge and skills needed to promote experiences of prayer and worship with students. Teachers also draw upon student understanding and skills about genre, purpose, context and meaning in assisting them to write appropriate texts for prayer and worship experiences. In particular, knowledge and skills related to The Arts (e.g. dance, drama, media arts, music and visual arts) enhance the quality of prayer and worship experiences.
The life of faith is expressed in acts of religion. The teacher will assist students to open their hearts in confidence to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit through personal and liturgical prayer (The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, n.83).
Prayer and worship create a sense of purpose and identity within the school community by drawing its members into an understanding of their shared humanity, linking them with the Church throughout the world and sending them out to share the good news. Three elements of prayer and worship are: Christian prayer; celebrating liturgy and sacraments; and ritualising everyday life.