Jesus and Prayer


“The ancient writers of the Church said of prayer that it is ‘Heart speaking to heart.’

(God of Surprises, Gerard Hughes SJ, 31).

Jesus, a Jew, prayed regularly with his synagogue community (Luke 4). He also went often to quiet places to pray to the Father, sometimes alone, or with his closest friends (eg. Luke 6:12; Mark 6:31-33). He prayed before major decisions such as calling his followers (Mk 1:12-20). He gave thanks (Mt 11:25-27;Mt 15:36). He prayed for unity among believers (John 17) and for forgiveness for enemies (Luke 23:34). Jesus taught disciples a prayer we call the ‘Our Father’. He taught perseverance in prayer (Lk 18:1-8; 22:40, 46). In Gethsemane his anguished prayer led to acceptance of the Father’s will (Luke 22:39-46).  He promised to be present with two or more gathered in his name (Matthew 18:20).

When Jesus’ disciples pray as he taught, the Spirit is with them. Disciples seek guidance to apply Jesus’ teaching in new situations (Acts 1:4, 2:1-4). Important decision making involves prayer, listening for the Spirit’s guidance (Acts 15:6, 28). This is prayerful discernment. Those who pray find help in coming to terms with the realities of life, joy, suffering, personal brokenness, need for forgiveness and growth in compassion and love.

Eucharist is central to Catholic community life (Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-37). In the Catholic tradition, prayer and the Sacraments, especially Eucharist, are sources of faith, hope, love and wisdom.

Mary is the foremost among disciples and a model for prayer. She ponders and listens with her heart and stays with the cross (Lk 2:51 & Jn 19:25-27). She waits and prays with the community to receive the gift of the Spirit (Acts 1:14).

More Information

Online Prayer Resources

Produced by Jesuit Media Initiatives (UK), this site offers daily prayer based on the Church’s daily Scripture Readings, reflection, quiet time, supported by peaceful traditional or contemporary music. Access via computer, MP3 or WMA

This site offers options for prayer based on daily Scripture readings, available onscreen, MP3 and podcast. The site offers prayer for adults and links for use with children in schools.

Produced by the Irish Jesuits, this site invites you to “make a 'Sacred Space' in your day, and spend ten minutes, praying at your computer, with on-screen guidance and Scripture for each day.

TAIZE Taize chants for Christian prayer are well known. ‘Taize’ prayer groups are continually active in many parts of the world. The site offers resources for prayer, including MP3,  podcasts and reflections.

Scripture and Prayer

“In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed” (Mark 1:35).

“They [the first Christians] went as a body to the Temple every day but met in their houses for the breaking of bread; they shared their food gladly and generously; they praised God and were looked up to by everyone” (Acts 2:46-47).

The Christian family is the first place for education in prayer. (Catechism of the Catholic Church No 2694)

“Prayer” in The Catechism of the Catholic Church Nos 2661-2662, 2682, 2693-2694,

"Give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thess 5:18).

“Recently, I was walking near the seashore. It was a bright, crisp autumn day; the sun shone through golden and red leaves and sparkled on the blue water.  All of a sudden I felt a tremendous sense of well-being, a great gratitude and a strong desire welling up in me. On reflection I knew that I had felt the touch of God and a strong desire for him.”  (God and You; Prayer as a Personal Relationship, W. Barry SJ, 21)

“One sixty-three year old man describe and experience he had as a child while outside o a summer day; ‘In the heart of the child that I was there suddenly seemed to well up a deep overwhelming sense of gratitude, a sense of unending peace and security which seemed to be part of the beauty of the morning”…The contemplation of creation can be a door for meeting the Creator himself.”  (from Edward Robinson, The Original Vision: A Study of the Religious Experience of Childhood quoted in God and You; Prayer as a Personal Relationship, W. Barry SJ, 21)