Why should you pray?

St. Teresa of Avila

St. Teresa of Avila. Photo Credit: Wikipedia.

“He who neglects mental prayer needs no devil to carry him to hell. He brings himself there with his own hands.”

-St. Teresa of Ávila

And if that’s not enough for you(!), here are 7 more reasons Catholics should pray every day:

1. Jesus, Mary, and all the saints prayed. Jesus prays in at least fifteen passages in the Gospels. Luke 6:12 is typical: “Then He went out to the mountain to pray, spending the night in communion with God.”

Mary is a model of prayer. We are told she “treasured all these things and reflected on them in her heart” (Luke 2:19, etc.).

Pick up any saint’s biography and you read about a life steeped in prayer. No matter the culture, the state in life, or the age of the saint, they all communed with God daily.

2. Prayer gives us self-knowledge. Prayer enables us to see ourselves as we are, so we can work (with God’s grace) to change.

3. Prayer keeps us from sin. Not only are we more aware of our sins when we pray, prayer also gives us the grace to overcome present and future temptations. St. John Chrysostom wrote, “It is impossible, utterly impossible, for the man who prays eagerly and invokes God ceaselessly ever to sin” (De Anna 4, 5).

4. Relationships need communication. We have all experienced growing apart from a once-close friend by neglecting to call or visit. It is the same with our relationship with God. If we seldom talk (or listen) to Him, we will easily fall away.

5. God always listens. No matter how much other people may turn a deaf ear to our concerns, God always hears us.

6. Prayer disposes us to receive the sacraments. A person who prays is more likely to frequent the sacrament of Reconciliation and make a good confession. Prayer prepares us to more fully participate in the Mass and receive the Eucharist worthily.

7. Prayer leads to divine union. God desires all people to reach union with Him, being completely obedient to His will and loving Him with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength (see Deuteronomy 6:5). We were created for this very purpose. This union is absolutely impossible without prayer.

Read more about prayer:

What is contemplation? Part I

What is contemplation? Part II

7 ways to make time for prayer