Chapter 35. God Calls Us to Pray • 477
Some people find spiritual strength in the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
There is a growing interest among many people from all walks of life in
praying the Liturgy of the Hours. Parish missions, retreats, and spiritual
movements such as Cursillo and Charismatic Renewal have helped many
to begin the journey of prayer and have led people onward to meditation
and contemplation. A significant number of people are attracted to the
that weds scriptural reflection with elements of
In our noisy and activist culture, prayer has brought Christ’s peace
and hope to many. Small faith communities, Scripture study groups, and
charismatic groups make prayer a large component of their gatherings.
Another group of Americans is drawn to the rich prayer life of the
Eastern Churches. Icon-inspired devotion, the Jesus prayer, and the mys-
tical writings of the Greek Fathers have a transcendent appeal that is
richly rewarding for these spiritual seekers.
Many parishes have instituted hours of adoration of the Blessed
Sacrament, a form of prayer that is growing steadily. Popular piety
attracts large numbers of the faithful, especially pilgrimages and devo-
tions to Our Lady and the saints. Millions recite the Rosary regularly.
A growing number of people are seeking spiritual direction. These are
some highlights of the increasing turn to spirituality and prayer.
Bishops and pastors continue to emphasize the centrality of the lit-
urgy in Catholic prayer life, while strongly supporting the wide-ranging
aspects of personal prayer, piety, and meditation. They also provide con-
stant reminders about the relationship between liturgy, other forms of
prayer, and the call to witness Christ’s Kingdom of love, justice, and
mercy in our everyday lives. Prayer is the soul of discipleship and can
strengthen us for a life of mission.
In the longstanding tradition of the Church, prayer is centered upon
God. It is an emptying of oneself not for its own sake, but for the sake
of being filled with God and entering into a deeper relationship with
him. There are forms of spirituality in contemporary culture that focus
more on one’s own self and the achievement of a superficial tranquility.
Genuine Christian prayer is attentive to the presence of God and seeks
ways to be of greater service to God and others.