QUAERITUR: Is it a sin not to pray every day?

iphone app confessionRegarding the new iPhone app to help make a good confession (which I thoroughly reviewed here) a reader asks:

I read a couple bloggers didn’t like that the app includes that it is a sin not to pray everyday.  They even seem to make fun of that and excuse themselves.  What do you think?  Is it a sin to not pray everyday?

Yes.  It is a sin not to pray every day.

We are entirely dependent upon God for our very existence.  Without God we … aren’t.

We are also made in God’s image and likeness, with an intellect and will, the capacity to love.  We are in our very being oriented to God.

When you love someone, you want to be with that person, speak to and listen to that person.  Even if you are speechless, you long for the other’s presence.   We can be separated from any created thing, and people are created things.  There are times we cannot listen to, speak to, be with other people.  But we cannot be separated from God.  If we love God we seek God’s presence (hopefully eternal in heaven), we listen to God, we speak to God.  We pray.

Not praying daily indicates a lukewarm view of God in your life.

If we were perfect, our every action and thought would be a prayer, much as how I imagine the glorious minds of the angels.  But we aren’t angels.

We little humans need some discipline and help.  Holy Church helps us pray more perfectly and according to God’s will during our liturgical worship.  There are also a large number of prayers we can pray as good works for the benefit of others.  When you pray for the souls in purgatory, for example, you are demonstrating love for God and neighbor, for the dead are still our neighbors: souls in purgatory are still our brothers and sisters in the Church.  We show love and gratitude to God when we ask the saints for their intercession.  They pray for us before God in heaven.  Heaven itself is a glorious liturgy and prayer before God.  We foreshadow our heavenly reward when we pray now in this earthly life.

The virtue of religion, which we must all strive to cultivate at the risk of our immortal souls, binds us to give God what is His due: worship.  Since this is a virtue, it is habitual.  We do this willingly and easily.  It is a regular dimension of who we are.  The main acts of the virtue of religion are adoration, prayer and sacrifice.  The main sins against the virtue of religion are blasphemy, tempting God, sacrilege, perjury, simony, idolatry, superstition and, of course, neglect of prayer.

When we are made for God, in His image, how can it be hard for humans to pray?  It is the most natural thing, or would be if it weren’t for the wounds caused by original sin and by the interference of the enemy of our souls.  Somethings that should be easy can be hard, unless we have developed the habit.   The more you pray, the easier it gets to pray.  That doesn’t mean that prayer is fun, by the way.  Prayer can be very rough business, because prayer involves honesty and also listening.  Listening isn’t easy for modern man.  We have many distractions.

But those distractions might be in the place God should occupy.  Praying helps sort that out.

Praying helps you avoid hell too, which is a pretty good reason to do it.

Having prayers memorized helps.  Praying at regular times helps.  Pray regular prayers when you rise in the morning, go to bed at night, and take meals.  Put God at the beginning and ending of your day’s activities and you will more easily keep Him in mind in all your activities.  Food and drink are very important gifts from God among the many things He gives us.  Thank Him in prayer before and after meals.

Is that a simple way to pray everyday?  Rising and going to bed?  Before and after meals?   Is that so hard?

If you can’t or don’t do that – and you know that you ought to – yes, you are committing a sin against the 1st Commandment.  God is not in the first place in your life if you don’t pray in someway.

One of the shortest, high impact verses in the Bible is “Pray constantly.” (1 Thess 5:17).

If there is a choice between those who think neglect of daily prayer isn’t a sin, and St. Paul, I’ll stick with St. Paul.

The gravity of the sin of not praying daily will depend on the usual factors.  Nevertheless, don’t try to excuse yourself or claim that not praying everyday is somehow okay.

What does it take to say, “My Jesus, mercy!”?

There.  I prayed.  Didn’t take long.

“Thy will be done!” Yep.  Did it again.

Say that and mean it and you are praying too.  Say it everyday, you are praying everyday.  You could surely do more than that.  How about the Lord’s Prayer… isn’t there mention of something “daily” in that one?  Doesn’t take very long and I bet you know it already.

Not praying puts your soul in danger, which is a sin.  C’mon. It’s just right to pray.

Pray.

I bet readers can post fantastic quotes from the saints about the need to pray each day… that is daily.

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47 Responses to QUAERITUR: Is it a sin not to pray every day?

  1. wmeyer says:

    I try to start each day with the Rosary. My experience is that first thing in the morning is the easiest time to be sure that the events of the day don’t interfere. Making time for prayer before other activities just seems right.

  2. St. Alphonsus Liguori goes so far as to say that he who prays is certainly saved; he who does not pray is certainly damned. He goes on: all the blessed in heaven, except infants, are there because they prayed; and all the damned in hell are there because they did not pray, and one of their greatest regrets is having neglected such an easy and simple means of attaining salvation. He also says that while there are graces God will give us only if we ask for them, the ability to pray is a grace he gives to all without exception.

  3. Bornacatholic says:

    Father Zuhlsdorf. Kudos. That was just a great post; simple, direct, forceful,profound, and 100% Theologically impeccable. Imagine if your message were heard in Churches all over America this Sunday. What a lovely and blessed shock it would be.

  4. Norah says:

    Remember that what St Alphonsus Ligori is reputed to have said is his personal opinion not Magisterial teaching.

    A wonderful book which introduces Meditation is The Better Part by Fr John Bartunek.

  5. Oleksander says:

    well, im damned [Not funny.]

  6. Obviously prayer is important, and obviously it’s a good thing to do and should be encouraged in every way. Go, St. Paul.

    But if not praying daily were a sin, in Catholicism or elsewhere, I’m fairly sure that somebody would have said so before my fortieth year of life. For example, my mother, my grandparents, the nuns at school, the crazy ranting fundies on campus, one of the popes…. Nobody has ever been found online yelling, “The Baltimore Catechism says that if you don’t pray every day, you will go to Hell!” or “Mary said at X apparition that if you don’t pray every day, you will go to Hell!” I don’t think I’ve been living in a hole all these years. I’m well-read. I run across these things, usually, even if I don’t always understand people’s rationales, and I generally remember them. But it’s always “you should pray X” or “prayer is good”, not “not praying is a sin”. (Unless you count “not going to Sunday Mass is a sin”, which of course is fully covered in my background.)

    So… is this one of the standard interpretations of “Pray always” — as a warning?? Is this an interpretation associated with some particular ethnic or religious order tradition? Or is this something that was formerly widespread, and which has been diligently concealed from us? I’m really kerboggled by this.

  7. Catholictothecore says:

    Not talking (praying) to God every day is un-thinkable. Just saying a few words like Fr. Z’s example, “My Jesus, mercy!” is a good start. You get into a rhythm, a routine, and before you know it, it builds up and you want to talk, and then talk some more, and then it dawns on you real quick that God is your best friend here on earth. He hears our prayers, every one of them. He may not answer some of them the way we want Him to but He DOES hear each and every prayer from us.

  8. Father Flores says:

    If I deem it important and give of my time to respond to and be acknowledged by those I hardly know on the internet, it would behoove me to give of my time to respond to and listen to God.

  9. Allan S. says:

    After reading your earlier admonition to “just go!” I went to confession today, [Laudetur Iesus Christus!] then stayed for the Noon Mass. Afterwards I prayed for the intentions of the Pope and formed the intention to acquire many indulgences, followed by doing the Stations of the Cross and other prayers.

    I obtained a copy of Blessed Be God, which has many short, traditional prayers, devotions and ejaculations. Many are even organized by day of the week, month or by intention. Get into the habit of praying quietly many of these at random times throughout the day. (You had mentioned, Father, a prayer called a Memorare in another post, which I have found and now recite regularly.)

    See that person cursing at the subway? Pray for them. Bored? Say a Hail Mary. Just get in the fight against the enemy and make yourself feel pretty good in the bargain.

  10. Teresa-1962 says:

    “Mental prayer is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends, it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us.” St. Teresa of Avila

  11. Norah: actually, that is not merely reputed to be said by Liguori. You will find what I attribute to him in his writings. It is published under the title The Great Means of Salvation and of Perfection.

    And so what if it’s not magisterial? St. Alphonsus is a Doctor of the Church. To me that suggests that what he had to say might have been worthwhile.

  12. Allan S. says:

    “After reading your earlier admonition to “just go!” I went to confession today, [Laudetur Iesus Christus!]….”

    Yes. I haven’t felt this good in a long time. For the love of God, people just go! Somewhere there is a priest willing to hear your confession – maybe not at your home parish (“Sorry, by appointment only”) but somewhere. Check the schedule, call the parish office near your work, see if your Cathedral has a “duty priest” – just ASK nicely and see what happens.

    Really. It’s an odd mix of incredible joy, relief and humbleness.

  13. pop says:

    Is “not praying” a sin?
    I’d suggest that “not praying” places one in a position of entering a “sinful state”….. being out of communication with God.
    It seems to me we should be in a constant communication with God. Certainly setting aside moments of meditation and prayer, talking and listening to God throughout the day is wonderful. Rising in the morning, giving thanks to God and asking for guidance for your day does not have to involve a great deal of time. Jesus. Thank you for this new day. May Your Spirit remain with me throughout this day.
    How long will that take? Upon retiring, thank God for the day. Say a rosary as you fall asleep. Throughout our day we have encounters with the Living God in people we meet.

  14. APX says:

    Allan S. says:
    I haven’t felt this good in a long time. For the love of God, people just go!

    Yes, it does feel good. It’s as if you have a clean slate, making it more motivating to keeping it that way. None of this, “Meh, I’ve already got X# mortal sins. What’s one more?” At least that’s how I feel.

    I have issues with memorized prayers. I find them insincere because a) I don’t have to think about them when saying them and b) I don’t even really know what they mean or what they’re for. I was just taught to memorize and recite them. It wasn’t until last summer when a priest broke down the “Our Father” and explained it in his homily that I even knew what it meant. My quick “Dear God, please let there be no police around” as I accidentally run the odd red light feels more sincere than any memorized prayer I’ve recited.

    Which leads me to another aspect of prayer. What makes a prayer count as a prayed prayer? Does singing along to the Litany of the Saints, Sanctus,/Benedictus, Ave Verum Corpus, and Ave Maria whenever I’m driving count as praying, or is it just me singing along in my car?

  15. There’s nothing insincere about memorized prayer. All conversation and solemn forms of speech and oath include tons of formulas, and so do nursery rhymes and songs and all the great folk tales of the world. They’re a great help when words fail you. But there’s also nothing wrong with spontaneous prayer, or groans, or what have you.

    Re: not praying every day — Having consulted the magisterium (small m) of Mom, she informs me that she never heard such a thing, and that in twelve years, the nuns would have said. (Not exactly frail flowers in the field of setting out proper morals, her set of pre-Vatican II nuns.) She opined that one would only include a question about whether one prays every day, in an examination of conscience, as a sort of thermometer of whether one is working to improve one’s spiritual life or falling back. She opined that there were many questions in her day which were for encouragement of positive actions, as well as those which were about sin.

    Re: Liguori — I’m not saying that he’s bad to follow, because he’s not; or that he’s outside the tradition, because he’s not. But there’s a spectrum of views among the great spiritual doctors, [And he is a Doctor of the Church.] and he’s definitely along that spectrum pretty far in one direction. All of them can be followed with great profit, but some will make more sense to certain people and hence be followed more in their culture. And yeah, I gotta say that Liguori is not the guy who gets followed much in this neck of the woods, so no wonder his definitions ring no bells around here.

    (You know what would make an awesome settlement map? A map of which devotions and spiritual writers were popular where — a whole set of them over time. Sorta like the Irish land survey map that shows which St Brigid’s Cross designs are used where. You could show the Infant of Prague slowly conquering the US, that sort of thing.)

  16. E says:

    “We have not deserved to pray; but God, in his goodness, has permitted us to speak to him. Our prayer is an incense which he receives with extreme pleasure. My children, your heart is poor and narrow; but prayer enlarges it, and renders it capable of loving God. Prayer is a foretaste of Heaven, an overflow of Paradise. It never leaves us without sweetness. . .Troubles melt away before a fervent prayer like snow before the sun. ”

    - St. John Vianney

    [Nice quote. And the daily part?]

  17. AnnAsher says:

    By the very Grace of God I have been blessed to have my little – often one-sided- conversations with Him everyday from as early in childhood as about 9 (?) basically when my parents were divorced I began talking to God. What is much more challenging is the discipline of daily devotions at regular intervals. Especially for a nomadic bohemian spirit …. Immaculate Heart of Mary pray for us now and at the hour of our death, Amen.

  18. robtbrown says:

    APX says:
    Which leads me to another aspect of prayer. What makes a prayer count as a prayed prayer? Does singing along to the Litany of the Saints, Sanctus,/Benedictus, Ave Verum Corpus, and Ave Maria whenever I’m driving count as praying, or is it just me singing along in my car?

    It’s prayer if it fits into one of the four categories: Adoration (e.g., Sanctus, Benedictus, or Ave Verum Corpus), Petition, Expiation, or Thanksgiving.

  19. JKnott says:

    Thank you for that beautiful post Fr Z.
    I learned to really pray by praying the psalms which were inspiried by the Holy Spirit.
    It since led me to the Carmelites whose charism is prayer.
    St. John of the Cross and St Teresa of Avila are the Doctors of the Church on prayer. Their works are outstanding. The Way of Perfection, The Interior Castle, The Spiritual Canticle etc.
    St Teresa is adament about teaching that vocal prayer should also be mental prayer in that we must know to Whom we are speaking, and by placing ourselves in His Presence through recollection, approach Him with personal attention. St. Teresa says that just vocalizing words without the attention to God, the saints or our Lady, isn’t true prayer. We can just sit in His Presence as long as we are attentive to Him.
    Prayer also involves silencing of the soul and listening to God.
    Lectio Divna is the prayerful reading of Scripture. It is a way of prayer and listening to God where He guides us to the practice of virtues and to live for Him alone.
    The Carmelite saints then go on to explain the further aspects of growth in prayer and union with God. We are blessed to be Catholics.

  20. Mrs. O says:

    [FR, I had some important advice - make sure to turn your phone before entering the confessional to AIRPLANE MODE or a call, etc, will bump you out of the app. AIRPLANE MODE]

  21. Hidden One says:

    Father, you asked for quotations from the Saints on why we should pray daily… [Yes... daily.]

    “Prayer is the oxygen of the soul.” – St. Padre Pio [That doesn't mention daily.]

    “[W]e shall never find a Christian damned whose downfall did not commence with a lack of prayer.” – St. Jean Marie Vianney [Neither did that one.]

    “Pray, pray to the Lord with me, because the whole world needs prayer. And every day, when your heart especially feels the loneliness of life, pray. Pray to the Lord because even God needs our prayers.” – St. Padre Pio [That one did.]

    “By humble and faithful prayer, the soul acquires, with time and perseverance, every virtue.” – St. Catherine of Siena

    “It is important that you choose your career with care, so that you may really follow the vocation that God has destined for you. No day should pass without some prayer to this end. Often repeat with St. Paul: ‘Lord, what will you have me do?’” – St. John Bosco [Good.]

    “Why do you not use the time when you have nothing to do for reading or for prayer? Why do you not go and visit Christ our Lord and speak with Him and listen to Him? For when we pray we speak with God, and when we read, we listen to God.” – St. Ambrose of Milan

    “One always gains much through perseverance, especially perseverance in prayer.” – St. Teresa of Jesus

    “It is an old custom with the servants of God always to have some little prayers ready and to be darting them up to heaven frequently during the day, lifting their minds to God from out of the filth of this world. He who adopts this plan will get great fruit with little pains.” – St. Philip Neri

    “God commands you to pray, but he forbids you to worry.” – St. Jean Marie Vianney

    “If you ever feel distressed during your day—call upon our Lady—just say this simple prayer: ‘Mary, Mother of Jesus, please be a mother to me now.’ I must admit—this prayer has never failed me.” – Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

    “Know also that you will probably gain more by praying fifteen minutes before the Blessed Sacrament than by all the other spiritual exercises of the day. True, Our Lord hears our prayers anywhere, for He has made the promise, ‘Ask, and you shall receive,’ but He has revealed to His servants that those who visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament will obtain a more abundant measure of grace.” – St. Alphonsus Liguori

    But wait, the Saints said much more than this about why we should pray!

    [Ummmm....]

    “The best consolation comes from prayer.” – St. Padre Pio

    “There is nothing more to the purpose for exciting a spirit of prayer than the reading of spiritual books, especially the lives of the Saints.” – St. Philip Neri

    “In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may more surely obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect not to walk in her footsteps. With her for guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favor, you shall reach the goal.” – St. Bernard of Clairvaux

    “The most beautiful prayer we can make is to say to God, ‘As Thou knowest and willest, O Lord, so do with me.’” – St. Philip Neri

    “A man without prayer is an animal without the use of reason.” – St. Philip Neri

    “Prayer reveals to souls the vanity of earthly goods and pleasures.” – St. Rose of Viterbo

    “There is nothing the devil fears so much, or so much tries to hinder, as prayer.” – St. Philip Neri

    “Diligence in prayer is the perfection of the gospel.” – St. Aloysius Gonzaga

    “Have confidence in prayer. It is the unfailing power which God has given us. By means of it you will obtain the salvation of the dear souls whom God has given you and all your loved ones. ‘Ask and you shall receive,’ Our Lord said. Be yourself with the good Lord.” – St. Peter Julian Eymard

    “Prayer ascends and mercy descends. High as are the heavens and low as is the earth, God hears the voice of man.” – St. Augustine of Hippo

    “Men do not fear a powerful hostile army as the powers of hell fear the name and protection of Mary.” – St. Bonaventure

    “May prayer and sacrifice be your whole strength; these are invincible arms; they, far better than words, can move hearts, I know it by experience.” – St. Thérèse of Lisieux

    “The Holy Rosary is the storehouse of countless blessings.” – Blessed Alan de La Roche

    “Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy Spirit, and raises man to Heaven.” – St. Ephrem the Syrian

    “There are two things that help unite oneself with Our Lord and to accomplish one’s salvation: prayer and sacraments.” – St. Jean Marie Vianney

    “Do you know the surest way to learn the will of God? It is the way of prayer to our good Mother Mary!” – St. Jean Marie Vianney

    “In prayer the soul is cleansed from sin, pastured with charity, confirmed in faith, strengthened in hope, gladdened in spirit. By prayer the inward man is directed aright, the heart is purified, the truth discovered, temptation overcome, sadness avoided, the perceptions renewed, languishing virtue restored, lukewarmness dismissed, the rust of vices done away; and in it there do not cease to come forth living sparkles of heavenly desires, with which the flame of divine love burns. Great are the excellencies of prayer, great are its privileges! Before it Heaven is opened, secrete things are made manifest, and to it the ears of God are ever attentive.” – St. Lawrence Justinian

    “If you would suffer patiently the adversities and miseries of this life, be a man of prayer. If you would gain power and strength to overcome the temptations of the enemy, be a man of prayer. If you would mortify your will with all its affections and lusts, be a man of prayer. If you would understand the cunning devices of Satan, and defend yourself against his deceits, be a man of payer. If you would live joyfully, and with sweetness walk in the path of penitence and sorrow, be a man of prayer. If you would drive out the troublesome gnats of vain thoughts and cares from your soul, be a man of prayer. If you would sustain your soul with the richness of devotion, and kept it ever full of good thoughts and desires, be a man of prayer. If you would strengthen and confirm your heart in the pilgrimage with God, be a man of prayer. Lastly, if you would root out from your soul every vice and in their place plant the virtues, be a man of prayer, for in this is obtained the unction and grace of the Holy Spirit who teaches all things.” – St. Bonaventure

    “[W]ith a prayer well said, we can command Heaven and earth, and all will obey us.” – St. Jean Marie Vianney

    “One cannot possibly lead a virtuous life without prayer.” – St. John Chrysostom

    “The good God is everywhere ready to hear your prayers, provided you address them to Him with faith and humility.” – St. Jean Marie Vianney

    “See, my children, we are poor people who have been taught to beg spiritually, and we do not beg. We are sick people, to whom a cure has been promised, and we do not ask for it. The good God does not require of us fine prayers, but prayers which come from the bottom of our heart.” – St. Jean Marie Vianney

    “[Prayer is within] the reach of the ignorant as well as the learned, enjoined to the simple and to the enlightened, it is the virtue of all mankind; it is the science of all the faithful! Everyone on the earth who has a heart, everyone who has the use of reason ought to love and pray to God; to have recourse to Him when He is irritated; to thank Him when He confers favours; to humble themselves when He strikes.” – St. Jean Marie Vianney

    “[P]rayer is an elevation, an application of our mind and of our heart to God, to make known to Him our wants and to ask for His assistance. We do not see the good God, my children, but He sees us, He hears us, He wills that we should raise towards Him what is most noble in us – our mind and our heart. When we pray with attention, with humility of mind and of heart, we quit the earth, we rise to Heaven, we penetrate into the Bosom of God, we go and converse with the angels and the saints. It was by prayer that the saints reached Heaven: and by prayer we too shall reach it. Yes, my children, prayer is the source of all graces, the mother of all virtues, the efficacious and universal way by which God wills that we should come to Him.” – St. Jean Marie Vianney

    “Man has a beautiful office, that of praying and loving. You pray, you love–that is the happiness of man upon the earth. Prayer is nothing else than union with God. When our heart is pure and united to God, we feel within ourselves a joy, a sweetness that inebriates, a light that dazzles us. In this intimate union God and the soul are like two pieces of wax melted together; they cannot be separated. This union of God with His little creature is a most beautiful thing. It is a happiness that we cannot understand.” – St. Jean Marie Vianney

    “All that the Son asks of the Father is granted Him. All that the Mother asks of the Son is in like manner granted to her. When we have handled something fragrant, our hands perfume whatever they touch: let our prayers pass through the hands of the Holy Virgin; she will perfume them. I think that at the end of the world the Blessed Virgin will be very tranquil; but while the world lasts, we drag her in all directions… The Holy Virgin is like a mother who has a great many children – she is continually occupied in going from one to the other.” – St. Jean Marie Vianney

    “The Ave Maria is a prayer that is never wearisome. The devotion to the Holy Virgin is delicious, sweet, nourishing. When we talk on earthly subjects or politics, we grow weary; but when we talk of the Holy Virgin, it is always new. All the saints have a great devotion to Our Lady; no grace comes from Heaven without passing through her hands. We cannot go into a house without speaking to the porter; well, the Holy Virgin is the portress of Heaven.” – St. Jean Marie Vianney

    “Prayer is the key that opens the heart of God.” – St. Padre Pio

    “The sacred gift of prayer is in the right hand of Our Savior and He will begin to give this gift to you in the same measure in which you become free and empty of self, namely of the love of your senses and your own will, and in the measure that you become well grounded in humility.” – St. Padre Pio

    “Anxiety is one of the greatest traitors that real virtue and solid devotion can ever have… One must be careful of this on all occasions, particularly at prayer. And to better succeed it would be well to remember that the graces and consolations of prayer are not waters of this earth, but of Heaven. Therefore all our efforts are not sufficient to make them fall, even though it is necessary to prepare oneself with great diligence but always humbly and tranquilly.” – St. Padre Pio

    “Serene in our faith and tranquil in our soul, let us pray and continue to pray, because intense and fervent prayer pierces the heavens and is backed up by a Divine guarantee.” – St. Padre Pio

    “Prayer is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us.” – St. Teresa of Avila

    “Good friends find pleasure in one another’s company. Let us know pleasure in the company of our best Friend, a Friend who can do everything for us, a friend who loves us beyond measure. Here in the Blessed Sacrament we can talk to him straight from the heart. We can open our souls to him, tell him what we need, beg him for powerful graces. We are perfectly free to approach the King of the universe with full confidence and without fear.” – St. Alphonsus Liguori

    “He who fights even the smallest distractions faithfully when he says even the smallest prayer, will also be faithful in great things.” – St. Louis de Montfort

    “I certainly pity those who serve the Lord at their own cost, because for those who practise prayer, the Lord himself pays the cost since through their little labour he gives them delight…” – St. Teresa

    In conclusion:

    “There is nothing more helpful to a man than prayer.” – St. Philip Neri

    Anyone feel like quibbling with the Church Triumphant on this one?

    Oremus!
    [It seems that prayer is a good thing. Daily prayer is important.]

  22. Hidden One says:

    PS: I am sorry if my last comment seems very long, but I think it constitutes, as a whole, a most compelling argument as to why we should pray daily (or, rather, constantly), even if not every quotation has the words “daily” or “constantly” in it. I hope that it is beneficial to someone.

  23. cblanch says:

    I recently ran into some health difficulties, which lead to some spiritual difficulties. This eased for me when I realized that I need to talk more to God…in everything throughout the day. Good and bad. Even if it’s just to say, “help”.

    Someone mentioned the insincerity they felt saying memorized prayers…for what it’s worth I default to those automatically whenever I don’t know what to say. Also I recognize that the words of those prayers are better than anything I could come up with myself….especially the Our Father, which Jesus himself gave us to pray.

  24. cblanch says:

    @Hidden One: Wow! Great quotes. So inspiring to read tonight! Thanks!

  25. Charles E Flynn says:

    The Baltimore Catechism has a few suggestions:

    From http://infomotions.com/etexts/gutenberg/dirs/1/4/5/5/14551/14551.htm

    MORNING PRAYERS

    As soon as you awake, think of God. Make the Sign of the Cross and say:

    + In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
    Amen.

    Then dress quickly and kneel down. Now say the Our Father, the Hail
    Mary, the Apostles’ Creed, the Confiteor and the Acts of Faith, Hope,
    Love and Contrition which you have probably memorized. If you do not
    know them by heart you will find them on pages 2-4.

    Then if you have time also say the following prayers:

    TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN.
    My Lady, and my Mother, remember I am thine; protect and defend me as
    thy property and possession.

    TO SAINT JOSEPH.
    Saint Joseph, model and patron of those who love the Sacred Heart of
    Jesus, pray for us.

    TO THE GUARDIAN ANGEL.
    Angel of God, my guardian dear,
    To whom His love commits me here,
    Ever this day be at my side,
    To light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.

    God bless Papa and Mamma. God bless Brothers and Sisters, and all my
    friends. God bless me, and make me a good child.

    FOR THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED.
    Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon
    them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

    Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was
    in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

    Make the Sign of the Cross.

    EVENING PRAYERS

    Never go to bed without thanking God for all the benefits you have
    received during the day and during your whole life. Kneel down. Make the
    Sign of the Cross. Then say the Our Father, Hail Mary, the Apostles’
    Creed, the Confiteor, and Glory be.

    Now think how you have acted during the day. Are there any big sins on
    your soul? Any little sins? Try to tell Jesus how sorry you are for all
    your sins, and say the Act of Contrition (page 4).

    Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul.
    Jesus, Mary, Joseph, assist me in my last agony.
    Jesus, Mary, Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with you.
    O my God, bless my father, mother, and all my relatives and friends.
    May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest
    in peace. Amen.

    Bless yourself with holy water.

    + In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
    Amen.

  26. shin says:

    ‘The air that we breathe, the bread that we eat, the heart which throbs in our bosoms, are not more necessary for man that he may live as a human being, than is prayer for the Christian that he may live as a Christian.’

    St. Jean Eudes

    ‘Whatever we do without prayer and without hope in God turns out afterwards to be harmful and defective.’

    St. Mark the Ascetic

    ‘Your prayer ought to be continual. The place wherein we ought to pray is the spirit of God.’

    ‘Pray twenty-four hours every day – that is, perform all your actions with heart and mind raised to God, holding yourself in interior solitude, and reposing in God in pure faith.’

    St. Paul of the Cross

    ‘Let us praise and beseech Him day and night, saying: “Our Father, Who art in heaven,” etc., for we ought always to pray, and not to faint.’

    St. Francis of Assisi

    ‘A man without prayer is an animal without the use of reason.’

    St. Philip Neri

    ‘Prayer is the only channel through which God’s great graces and favors may flow into the soul; and if this be once closed, I know no other way He can communicate them.’

    St. Teresa of Jesus

    ‘After baptism, continual prayer is necessary to man, in order that he may enter heaven; for though by baptism our sins are remitted, there still remains concupiscence to assail us from within, and the world and the devil to assail us from without.’

    St. Thomas Aquinas

    Inspirational Quotes from the Saints

  27. ShoelessMichael says:

    R.E.: the quote from St. Alphonsus.

    The first part of the quote that Miss Anita Moore, O.P. gave from St. Alphonsus is found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Here is the entire article:

    2744 Prayer is a vital necessity. Proof from the contrary is no less convincing: if we do not allow the Spirit to lead us, we fall back into the slavery of sin. How can the Holy Spirit be our life if our heart is far from him?

    Nothing is equal to prayer; for what is impossible it makes possible, what is difficult, easy. . . For it is impossible, utterly impossible, for the man who prays eagerly and invokes God ceaselessly ever to sin. (St. John Chrysostom)
    Those who pray are certainly saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned. (emphasis mine)

    Granted that the documents used within the Catechism do not gain magisterial weight because of being included in it, the use of this quote here does seem to reflect the mind of the Church on the necessity of prayer. In other words, they wouldn’t have used it if was somehow overstated or inappropriate.

    On a side note, the fourth “pillar” of the Catechism on prayer is marvelous. It is well worth reading and careful study.

  28. MaryMaria says:

    Okay while not a saint…..the following is from Pope Benedict….
    “People don’t really know who they are or what their life’s purpose is unless they pray regularly.
    Each day people need to dedicate the proper amount of time to prayer, to this openness to God, to this journey to seek God in order to see him and find friendship with him so that we can experience true life”,

  29. Re: quotes, of course there’s “Omni die dic Mariae” (“Daily, daily, sing to Mary”). :)

    Re: sin, I still really don’t understand this whole take on things. I keep pondering it, but I keep coming up with this: There’s a lot of difference between “I strongly advocate praying every day, every hour, because it’s your lifeblood” and “If you don’t speak to God once in every twenty-four hours, you have committed a grave sin”. I’m sure as heck not arguing with the former; it’s the latter that worries me.

    For example, it’s strongly advocated that we breathe. It might be pointed out that not breathing is a bad plan, and that deliberately not breathing can be part of sins like suicide or a sort of neurological drug abuse. But nobody lectures a class of first graders on the sin of failing to breathe regularly, much less tests their breathing for righteous regularity. If you had a bunch of college students playing choke games, then it would be important.

    So I suspect that the way this is preached may be a pastoral thing, possibly aimed at specific abuses. Probably Jansenism, since that’s usually to blame for half of everything, and I think they were supposed to be great ones for choosing not-praying over prayer. If people were actively trying to not-pray, or only pray to saints and not God, or only pray on days when they were feeling totally righteous and sinless, that’d be a definite case for telling them they were sinning if they didn’t pray to God daily.

  30. green fiddler says:

    Sacred Space is a good place to pray with daily Scripture.

    “I assure you that God is much better than you believe.
    He is content with a glance, a sigh of love.”
    ~ St. Therese of Lisieux

  31. Chris M says:

    Think of it this way.. would you neglect speaking to your spouse every day if you could help it? Or your parents or children?

    Or maybe some people think that because God is omniscient, He already knows what we’re thinking and we don’t need to “keep him updated”? Except prayer is as much, or MORESO about US listening to God than He to us. Can’t do that without prayer.

  32. Ed the Roman says:

    ‘“Prayer is the oxygen of the soul.” – St. Padre Pio [That doesn't mention daily.]‘

    Had the Saint said the food, or the water of the soul, perhaps. But oxygen? I don’t know the record for holding one’s breath, but it’s not terribly close to 86,400 seconds. I think that the dailyness is implicit in the metaphor.

  33. Ismael says:

    Not praying everyday is not only a sin but is a bad habit.

    Being lazy with prayer is the first step of losing your faith. I’m sure that 99% of people who have left Catholicism were not people who prayed regularly.

  34. nanetteclaret says:

    At the VERY LEAST, we should be saying Grace before Meals. Not to thank Our Lord for the bounty He provides us to eat is very ungrateful and I would think that being ungrateful is a sin. I can understand the alarm going off and jumping out of bed and forgetting to say morning prayers. I can understand a person’s head hitting the pillow at night and being asleep before even saying the Our Father. But not to take 10 seconds to say Grace before a meal (everyone has to eat), is just inexcusable. God is the ultimate source of all our blessings and thanking Him for the food before us is about the most basic prayer. Even little children know “God is Great, God is Good, and we thank Him for our food. Amen.” If nothing else, “Thanks for the food, God.” That takes about 2 seconds and at least acknowledges the Source.

  35. irishgirl says:

    I start out my day with the Rosary in our Adoration chapel. And I also offer prayers which I’ve said since I was a kid.
    Sometimes when I hear Our Lord’s Name taken in vain, I murmur to myself, ‘Blessed be His Holy Name’.
    I also say, ‘Blessed be He Who created thee!’ [a saying of St. Teresa of Avila] when I view a beautiful sunrise/sunset or a starry night.
    And when I go to bed at night and rise in the morning, I make the Sign of the Cross, face a picture of the Sacred Heart which I have on my wall, and say the Angel’s Prayer from Fatima: ‘My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You…’

  36. Paul M. says:

    I must remind you to frequent the sacraments, to read spiritual books, and to pray with as much recollection as you possibly can. Every day set aside some time so that the soul will not be without its food and, thus, you will not be induced to complain like the one who said, “My heart has withered because I have forgotten to eat my bread.”

    —St. Ignatius of Loyola (quoting Psalm 102)

  37. germangreek says:

    About rote prayers: I have been an active member of a charismatic community for over 35 years. I’ve been praying in tongues and using “spontaneous” prayers for so long, that I can easily do it with the same involvement of heart and mind that the commenter above attributes to memorized prayer.
    Anyway, I’ve never heard a spontaneous prayer that was worth a —- that didn’t come from someone well-grounded in the Psalms and the prayers of the Church. I suspect the same is true of mental prayers that I can’t hear (I know it’s true of my own mental prayers). Spontaneity is over-rated. Learn how to pray from those who are good at it!

  38. Dr. Eric says:

    I rent out an office from a surgeon and treat patients when he is not in the office- most of the time, he’s always in surgery. Our receptionist (a Catholic convert from Lutheranism) told me that the surgeon is a very religious man- he prays 5 times per day (he’s a Muslim). I informed her that we Catholics are supposed to pray 7 times per day: Matins, Lauds, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline. Normally, the hours are said in monasteries but we lay Catholics can at least say one Haily Mary at the beginning of each hour.

    Also, someone asked if singing along with the parts of the Mass or singing hymns in the car counts as prayer, I would definitely say that it does.

  39. MichaelJ says:

    I agree that it is curious that the Church has not specifically identified “not praying” as a sin, but disagree with the apparent conclusion that it is therefore not sinful. The Church, to the best of my knowledge, is not in the habit of categoizing every possible human action as either “sinful” or “not sinful”. To state that ‘x’ is not a sin because the Church has not specifically identified it as a sin seems a bit weak to me.

    Perhaps nobody has ever specifically stated thet failing to pray is a sin because it falls into the broad category of not giving God His due?

  40. Rouxfus says:

    My favorite:

    “Everyone needs thirty minutes of personal prayer time each day, unless they are too busy to pray—in which case, they need an hour!” [St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church]

  41. t-ma says:

    Jesus said, “He that is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much” Luke 16, 10
    A sin is something that seperates you from God- as the Baltimore Catechism says- “Sin drives Our Lord out of the life of the one who commits it” When you pray, you are drawing closer to God. Prayer isn’t always about petition, or confession. Prayers of thanksgiving and adoration allow you to be more aware of God’s presence in your daily life. God gives us gifts every day- just the fact that we have another day is the first. See the beauty of God’s creations all around. Don’t be rude! Say thank you! Personally, I think that along with pride and envy, original sin had a lot to do with ungratefulness.

  42. Gary Page says:

    Suburbanbanshee says: Re: sin, I still really don’t understand this whole take on things.

    I don’t understand why it’s difficult to see that in justice we owe God some amount of prayer each day (unless some physical or mental incapacity makes it impossible) and yes, if we do go a whole 24 hours without any prayer that would constitute a sin. Whether or not it is a grave sin in every case would likely depend on a variety of factors. The CCC defines prayer as “…the raising of the mind and heart to God…” (CCC 2590). What kind of Christian am I if I don’t at least “raise my mind and heart to God” at some point throughout the day? What kind of husband would I be if I went a whole day without speaking to my wife (assuming we were together during the day)? Would not that be an offense (sin) against my wife? Yet we are in God’s presence at all times. Of course, one question may be how much prayer is required each day? I’m not sure there is a definitive answer here, but I can only attest that after I heard an FSSP priest say that according to many saints and doctors of the Church, for a layman, probably about 15 minutes a day would be a reasonable minimum, that I began to take my obligation to pray each day much more seriously. Of course, as with any relationship, we want to avoid a minimalist attitude, however understanding that we do in fact have obligations towards those we are in relationship with can be a good motivator, especially if one is prone to laxity in those areas.
    Two more brief points: The CCC also quotes St. Alphonsus Ligouri’s maxim: “Those who pray are certainly saved; those who do not are certainly damned” (CCC 2744). Also my 1962 Missal in its section on Examination of Conscience in preparation for Confession, lists as a point for examen under the First Commandment: “Not recommended yourself daily to God?”

  43. steph66 says:

    I think of daily prayer as part of my daily routine. Sometimes it is simple and sometimes I need more time. There are too many lovely prayer books to choose from! We are blessed with a wealth of prayers, how could you not find something daily to pray?

  44. Kathy C says:

    Suburban Banshee,

    Why the stress about this? Nobody’s saying that no prayer on one day will damn you. If it’s a sin to miss a day, it’s got to be venial at worst. Beyond a doubt, you do pray, right? If you missed a day of formal prayer, did you think about God? Did you think how good God is, or that you would like something from him? Did you wonder something about him? If you didn’t do any of these things yesterday, but did today and day before yesterday, then you were just busy and thoughtless yesterday. If you rarely pray then you’ve got a problem. If you pray only on Sundays, you should really think about your relationship with God. Otherwise, I’d stop bristling at this.

  45. Miriam says:

    As a fairly new Catholic, I was always worried that I didn’t know the right prayers. And I still don’t know a lot of them.

    But, I go to daily mass, I say the Our Father morning and night. And throughout the day I thank God.

    Thank you God for making me Catholic. (I pray that every day) Thank you God for my job. Thank you God for this beautiful day. There are times throughout the day when I thank God.

    I am just so grateful for all that He has given me.

    I also pray for Pope Benedict XVI everyday as well.

  46. Kathy C says:

    Congratulations Miriam! I’m a convert too, and I thank God also.

  47. Supertradmum says:

    Miriam and Kathy C,

    And, we stop a minute and thank God for you!