What the Church teaches

‘"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."’

Catechism of the Catholic Church [2559]

Fr Alexander answers

So many who say that they are not believers and are intimidated about crossing the threshold of the Church which is open throughout daylight hours. When we cross that threshold and open our hearts in prayer and listen to the voice of love and mercy, we become alive. It is important to care for the body but when we forget the soul we miss that which is essential.

Prayer helps us come to know that we are loved, known and cherished by God. Sometimes it is not easy and there can be moments of tiredness and boredom but God never stops looking at us in love and adoring His creation. It is a journey of mystery but in prayer we begin to sense the love of the Father who embraced the Prodigal Son on his return to his Father’s house. There are many ways to pray and perhaps we can just start simply by saying that every time we pass the Church, we can give five minutes to coming in, lighting a candle and going on our knees. In the same way, we can make that prayer corner in our own house but here in the Church in the Tabernacle, we believe that truly we meet Christ. This is not something that is difficult, complicated and remote but it is radically close.  

Each of us can pray but also each of us can ask others to pray for them. For nineteen years we have had the SOS prayerline when someone is ready to answer the telephone between 7pm and 11pm to hear our prayers and to intercede. In those years 90,000 prayer requests have been kept, logged and placed next door to the Blessed Sacrament. We know that when we pray that we walk in the footsteps of Jesus for how often he spent the night in prayer, taught his disciples to pray and always wanted to be in the Father’s company. There are many different ways we can pray, from being quiet and contemplative, to the prayer of the Rosary and the Stations of the Cross, to most importantly the Prayer of the Mass and Eucharistic Adoration where love meets love.

Wisdom from the saints

‘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.’

Saint Therese of Lisieux

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