Prayer Project

prayerIntroduction to the Prayer Project

Prayer is such a simple act, yet so varied in its execution, so mysterious in its operation, and so profound in its effects, that there are innumerable ways of defining and explaining it.

We thought it would be informative and insightful to post some one-sentence definitions or explanations of prayer discovered in our spiritual readings. We call this collection of postings the “Prayer Project”.

We invite all our readers to offer their discoveries for posting. To share your discoveries about prayer, please give the quote, the author’s name, and the source, so others can locate and read the book containing the quote.

For example:  “For mental prayer in my opinion is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us.” (St. Teresa of Avila, The Book of Her Life, translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D., and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D., ICS Publications 2nd ed. 1987, ch.8, para. 5).

The Prayer Project

  1. Every real prayer is a distinct recognition of God’s rights over you, and of His willingness to help you.” (The Passion Prayer Book, compiled by A Passionist Father, The Sign Magazine, Monastery Place, Union City, New Jersey, 1932, p.135).
  2. “The goal of prayer is to kindle in us the love of our God.” (Letters of St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes, Teresian Charism Press, Holy Hill, WI 1994, letter #109, p. 253).
  3. “Since prayer opens our mind to the brightness of divine light and our will to the warmth of heavenly love, nothing so purges our mind of ignorance and our will of evil desires; its sacred waters refresh the soul, wash away our imperfections, revive the flowers of our good desires and quench the thirst of our hearts’ passions.” (St. Francis De Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, translated by Michael Day, Cong. Ort. 199o ed. published by Source Books, Trabuco Canyon, California, p.47).
  4. “Prayer is essentially what God does, how God addresses us, looks at us.” (Sr. Ruth Burrows, O.C.D., Essence of Prayer, Hidden Spring, Mahwah, New Jersey, 2006, p. 1).
  5. “Learning true prayer means learning to die in the sense Jesus meant by this: dying to egotism, self-determination and self-achieving, and letting God recreate us in love in a way that only God can do.” (Sr. Ruth Burrows, O.C.D., Essence of Prayer, Hidden Spring, Mahwah, New Jersey, 2006, p. 7).


3 thoughts on “Prayer Project

    • Carmelite Institute of Spirituality says:

      Laurie, thanks for the post. We are looking for definitions of prayer and a citation to authority for the definition. May God’s Love and Mercy be always in your heart.


  1. Rene Peterson says:

    If we wish our prayers to be efficacious, our actions must suit the petitions, and we must exert much energy in making ourselves worthy of the favors we ask. For prayer and interior mortification are inseparable, and he that seeks a particular virtue, without making a serious effort to practice it, only tempts God. (From The Spiritual Combat by Lorenzo Scupoli, section on Prayer)


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