Introduction to PrayerCourse Level: Intermediate

Course Summary

"Prayer is our means of taking a sighting, of re-orienting ourselves – by re-establishing contact with our goal. In the presence of God many components of our life fall into perspective and our journey makes more sense. Prayer is inseparable from living" (Casey, p.5). This course explores prayer as essential to our lives as Christian people, as individuals and within our community of faith. Through this course, students will explore the qualities, forms and expressions of prayer that help to form and sustain our lives as Catholic Christians.

Successful completion of this course earns 2.5 CEU's. Click here for more information about CEU's.

General Course Objectives

  • Understand the nature, aims, efficacy, and types of prayer
  • Explore prayer as revealed in Sacred Scripture and the Tradition of our Catholic faith
  • Explain the interrelated nature of personal prayer and the liturgical life of the Church
  • Understand the relation between prayer united with Jesus and growth in discipleship.
  • Develop, enrich, or sustain their prayer life as a result of the course content

Course Materials

  • Required Book: Casey, Michael Toward God: The Ancient Wisdom of Western Prayer Liguori, MO.: Triumph Books, 1995 ISBN: 0892438908; ISBN-13: 978-0892438907

Course Structure and Highlights

  • Week 1: Prayer: A Relationship with God
    • Gain insight into the many ways in which prayer may be described
    • Deepen their appreciation of the ways various definitions of prayer illustrate the depth of the human experience of prayer
    • Explore Biblical images of prayer
    • Look to Jesus’ life and example as a model of prayer
    • Relate spirituality to action and mission
  • Week 2: Vocal Prayer: Speaking our Heart's Desires
    • Understand the theology of Christian prayer as praying through Christ
    • Explore forms of prayer as expressed in blessing and adoration, petition, intercession, thanksgiving and praise
    • Consider prayer to the Father, to Jesus, to the Holy Spirit, and in communion with Mary
    • Explore common reasons for difficulty in prayer and aids in overcoming obstacles in prayer
  • Week 3: Silence: Listening and Contemplating the Beauty of God
    • Explore the expressions of vocal, meditative, and contemplative prayer
    • Reflect on the meaning of silence and listening in prayer
  • Week 4: Liturgy: The Work of the People
    • Develop an appreciation of the relationship between personal and communal liturgical prayer
    • Explore the Liturgy of the Hours as the prayer of the people
    • Develop an appreciation of service and mission as a response to our liturgical prayer
  • Week 5: Of Time and Becoming Like Christ
    • Look to the saints as models of prayer
    • Consider the dual nature of prayer as drawing us toward God and away from sin
    • Further develop an appreciation of prayer as a response to God’s love
    • Appreciate the Liturgical Year as an annual cycle of opportunity for growth