What is the purpose of prayer?


There are different types of prayer such as thanskgiving, praise, petition etc… But underneath all of them, what is the main purpose for prayer? I think many people spend prayer time asking for things (as in petitional prayer). I can’t find anything in the CCC that specifically tells why we should pray. If a teenager comes to you and tells you that he or she prayed for a sick grandparent and the grandparent died anyway so what is the purpose of praying, what would you say?


Prayer at tis’ very soul and base should conform us and our will to God. It should bring us closer in spirit to knowing, loving and serving Him.
Prayer can take many forms as you say, but each and every form should seek unity with and submission to God’s Will for us in our lives.

I’m sure others will provide you with better and more comprehensive answers but that is my understanding of prayer at it’s core.


Hello I shall try to answer your questions re-prayer…
You are correct in saying there are many different types of prayer.Jesus taught us to pray(the Our Father for example).It is our communication with God in our everyday lives.To express our love and worship and petitions of need as you have mentioned.When we pray, our Father hears our prayers.If a teenager comes and tells me he prayed for a sick grandparent and the grandparent died anyway,I would try to explain about how what we pray for is not always what is good for us or the person we pray for.God may relieve the person fron this life to relieve suffering for example.God is all loving all knowing.He has a divine plan for each of us and we do not know when He will call us to eternal life.We strive ,while in this life, to serve God to the best of our ability, to keep his commandments and live the life of the beatittudes(sermon on the mount).
When we fail (as we are only human) we pray for forgiveness.When we are happy our prayers have been answered we praise the Lord to give Him thanks.Our goal is to live as best we can in this life to gain eternal life…which is the more improtant life.I hope I have explained a little about prayer.Personally I love praying or meditating on the Lord and what He has done for us.I have had many prayers answered and been forgiven many sins.I like to communicate through prayer throughout my daily life.I always start each day with the sign of the cross.God wants us to pray in every form possible.Talk to a priest he will be very knowledgeable about prayer.I am sure you will get far better answers from others here also.God bless you and good luck in your quest


Reasons to Pray (from Prayer for Beginners by Peter Kreeft):

  1. Praying keeps your soul alive: Prayer is real contact with God, and God is the life of the soul as the soul is the life of the body. If you do not pray, your soul will wither and die, just as, if you do not eat, your body will wither and die.

  2. Because God commands it: Three reasons he commands us to pray correspond to our three deepest needs, the fundamental needs of the three powers of our soul: prayer gives truth to our mind, goodness to our will, and beauty to our heart. “The true, the good, and the beautiful” are the three things we need and love the most, because they are three attributes of God.

  3. Prayer changes us: We pray, not to change God’s mind, but to change our own; not to command God, but to let God command us. Prayer is our obedience to God even when it asks God for things, for God commanded us to ask.

  4. We do not have an infinite amount of time: We are one day nearer Home today than we ever were before. I guarantee you that after you die, you will not say, “I spent too much time praying; I wish I had watched more TV instead.” We must learn to pray because infinite and uncompromising Love will not leave us alone until we do. If we do not learn to practice his presence with our whole mind and will in this life, we will have to learn it in Purgatory, where it will be much more painful - or else we will never learn it, and that is Hell.

  5. Learning to pray is dress rehearsal for eternal life: What you do when you rehearse a play is actually to practice it, to do it; and what we do when we pray is actually to practice what we will be doing in Heaven.

  6. Prayer is delightful: Brother Lawrence says, in The Practice of the Presence of God, “There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God. Those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it.”

  7. Prayer is the way to know God: One moment of prayer, of weak worship, confused contrition, tepid thanksgiving, or pitiful petition will bring us closer to God than all the books of theology in the world.

  8. Prayer is the only way to spiritual progress: We must pray in order to grow, and we must grow because Infinite Love will not, cannot, settle for less than the greatest joy of which his beloved creature is capable.

  9. Prayer is necessary because without it we cannot attain the meaning of life, the end and purpose of our existence: Becoming saints is the meaning of life. It is why we exist. It is why God created us. Prayer is our first step in becoming saints. The second step is charity, a life of love, the ecstasy of giving ourselves away over and over again forever, as each Persons of the Trinity do. But this is prayer, too, or an extension of prayer. This is practicing the presence of God in action.

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