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Through Prayer We Lift Up Our Hearts to God

The Archbishops and Bishops of the United States in Conference assembled, to their Clergy and faithful people: Grace unto you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Venerable Brethren of the Clergy,
Beloved Children of the Laity:

Praying Hands, Hands Praying“…From the teaching of the Church and from your own experience, you know that without the divine assistance you cannot walk in the footsteps of Christ. And you need not be reminded that the principal means of grace are prayer and the sacraments.

“Through prayer we lift up our hearts to God, and He in turn enlightens our minds, kindles our affections, gives power to our wills. For whether we adore His majesty or praise Him for His wonderful works, whether we render Him thanks for His goodness, or beseech Him for pardon, or beg Him to help and defend us, our prayer is pleasing to Him: it goes up as incense before Him (Rev. 5:8), as the voice of His children to the Father who loves them, who pursues them with mercy and offers them speedy forgiveness. Therefore, in joy and in sorrow, in adversity and in prosperity, “in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6).

“We heartily commend the beautiful practice of family prayer. “Where there are two or three gathered in My name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20). If this is true of the faithful in general, it applies with particular meaning to those who are members of the same household. The presence of Jesus will surely be a source of blessing to the home where parents and children unite to offer up prayer in common. The spirit of devotion which this custom develops, will sanctify the bonds of family love and ward off the dangers which so often bring sorrow and shame. We appeal in this matter with special earnestness to young fathers and mothers, who have it in their power to mold the hearts of their children and train them early in the habit of prayer.” (Pastoral letter of the archbishops and bishops of the United States assembled in conference at the Catholic University of America, September, 1919. )

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Personal note: Earlier I happened on a Catholic blog called, “Oh, for the love of chant!” with a post on the Liturgy of the Hours which are daily prayers of the Church. It explains this liturgical prayer with clear simplicity and seems a good addition to the above Bishops’ statement on prayer:

Year of Faith and the Liturgy of the Hours: The Liturgy of the Hours is the constant prayer of the Church. Even if you personally don’t do it, it is constant rhythm of prayer, as people are praying it all around the world every single day at every hour of the day and night.  Continue reading…

p.s. The daily prayers and spiritual readings of the Liturgy of the Hours are here at Divine Office.org and in the sidebar link.

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