A Definition of Prayer

I like to begin classes on Prayer by asking participants:  “What is prayer?”  I don’t do this to trick them into saying the wrong thing or because I’m fishing for a particular answer.  I do it because I want to hear – and I want them to hear – the variety and the depth of one another's answers.  I have never heard a wrong answer to this question, but I have heard some quite beautiful ones.  They are all based on the genuine experience and the spiritual personalities of the "pray-ers" giving the answers.

One of my favorite “definitions” of prayer was written by Servant of God Catherine Doherty in her typical down-to-earth and straight-to-the-heart style.  It captures both the stillness and the movement of prayer, the way prayer can be both vibrant conversation and quiet being.  As Catherine knew very well, sometimes prayer is just being in a meaningful moment with the One you love.  It is a meeting of two loves.

How can you define prayer, except by saying that it is love? It is love expressed in speech, and love expressed in silence. To put it another way, prayer is the meeting of two loves: the love of God and our love. That’s all there is to prayer.
— Catherine Doherty, "Soul of my Soul: Reflections from a Life of Prayer"
 This is apparently a photo of Catherine in her nursing uniform.  Catherine served as an army nurse on the front lines during the first World War.

This is apparently a photo of Catherine in her nursing uniform.  Catherine served as an army nurse on the front lines during the first World War.