This article is about Catholic beliefs on prayer. For a scientific perspective and the analysis of empirical data obtained from studies on prayer please see the article how to pray the rosary roman catholic pdf “efficacy of prayer”. The Virgin Mary in prayer, by Sassoferrato, 17th century.
In the Catholic Church, prayer is “the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God. It is an act of the moral virtue of religion, which Catholic theologians identify as a part of the cardinal virtue of justice.
Prayer may be expressed vocally or mentally. Vocal prayer may be spoken or sung. Mental prayer can be either meditation or contemplation. Roman Catholic teachings on the subject of prayer are contained in the Catechism, where quoting St.
John of Damascus, prayer is defined as “the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God”. By prayer one acknowledges God’s power and goodness, and one’s own neediness and dependence. It is therefore an act of the virtue of religion implying the deepest reverence for God and habituating a person to look to him for everything. Prayer presupposes faith in God and hope in his goodness.
By both, God, to whom one prays, moves the individual to prayer. Prayer can be divided into vocal and mental types. Angelus, grace before and after meals, etc. Mental prayer is that which is made without employing either words or formulas of any kind.