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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

practice of

lectio divina

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.