Many Christians – Catholics and Protestants alike – think they are bad at prayer and are embarrassed about it. And generations of Catholic catechesis and education has assumed that everyone knows how to pray and doesn’t need to be taught. Wrong. WRONG. WRONG! Even Jesus’ disciples beg Him, “Lord, teach us to pray!” All the catechesis and guest speakers in the world will not make up for a community of parishioners who don’t know how to pray. And the truth is, the parish is the school of prayer for most people.

If your parish doesn’t host a regular night of prayer, now is the time to get started, because the resources to start such a night are right at your fingertips. Section IV of the Catechism is titled “Christian Prayer,” and Dr. Peter Kreeft’s modern classic, Prayer for Beginners, is only 125 pages long. Both focus on the practice of drawing close to the Lord rather than one particular devotion or another. In time, you could add additional nights focused on the Liturgy of the Hours, lectio divina, and so on.

So, if you focus in on this most important idea – the parish as the school of prayer – you can watch ministry come alive. Because God will be doing the work in people’s hearts first!