What is prayer?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say: “Great is the mystery of the faith!” The Church professes this mystery in the Apostles’ Creed (Part One) and celebrates it in the sacramental liturgy (Part Two), so that the life of the faithful may be conformed to Christ in the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father (Part Three). This mystery, then, requires that the faithful believe in it, that they celebrate it, and that they live from it in a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God. This relationship is prayer.
Then, quoting Saint Therese of Lisiuex:
“For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy. “
“Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.” (Saint John Damascene).
“If you knew the gift of God!” (John 4:10). The wonder of prayer is revealed beside the well where we come seeking water: there, Christ comes to meet every human being. It is he who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts; his asking arises from the depths of God’s desire for us. Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him. (Cf. St. Augustine, De diversis quaestionibus octoginta tribus 64,4:PL 40,56.)
In this section there are various lessons on prayer.