What is prayer?
Prayer is commonly held to be a conversation. In a conversation there are always an ‘I' and a ‘thou' or ‘you.' In this case the ‘Thou' is with a capital ‘T'. If at first the ‘I' seems to be the most important element in prayer, prayer teaches that the situation is actually different. The ‘Thou' is more important, because our prayer begins with God.
In prayer, then, the true protagonist is God.
The protagonist is Christ, who constantly frees creation from slavery to corruption and leads it toward liberty, for the glory of the children of God. The protagonist is the Holy Spirit, who ‘comes to the aid of our weakness.' We begin to pray, believing that it is our own initiative that compels us to do so. Instead, we learn that it is always God's initiative within us, just as Saint Paul has written. This initiative restores in us our true humanity; it restores in us our unique dignity."45
Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ: to get to know him, love him, and being united to him. We learn what prayer is by reviewing the life of Christ. He taught us how to pray. When Jesus prayed to his Father, he was already teaching us how to pray.46
"The Church invites the faithful to regular prayer: daily prayers, the Liturgy of the Hours, Sunday Eucharist, the feasts of the liturgical year."47
43. St. John Damascene, De fide orth. 3, 24; in J. P. Migne, ed., Patrologia Græca (=PG), 94, 1089C, Paris, 1857-1866.
44. Cf. CCC, 2745.
45. CTH, 16-17.
46. Cf. CCC, 2607, 2708.
47. CCC, 2720.
From the Handbook of Prayers, edited by Fr. Jim Socias.