Why do Catholics Say/Repeat Prayers? – The second in our series of Catechesis 

Why do Catholics say prayers or repeat set prayers? After all, in yesterdays article, I said that prayer is  our personal relationship with God. Relationships don’t work by learning things by heart and using scripts for conversations, but Catholics have so many prayers they keep repeating, like the Rosary, or the prayers during the Mass!

Well, it’s true that relationships and conversations don’t work with scripts, but after all is said and done, we are creatures of habit. We repeat things we say several times in  our conversations with people as well. For instance, phone calls usually begin with a ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello’. When a husband says “I love you” to his wife of 20 years, she doesn’t say, “That’s so boring. Say something new!”

It is true that in our personal prayer, we don’t need to stick to set prayers; we can express ourselves to God however we feel, even without words. However, we also have to keep in mind that God Himself has given us a set prayer. Jesus taught us the Our Father, the prayer that not just Catholics, but practically every Christian knows and prays!

So why the need for these set prayers? Prayer is not just about us expressing ourselves to God; it’s also about opening ourselves to God and directing our hearts towards the Truth, and set prayers help with this. For example, when we ‘hail Mary’, we are acknowledging Her dignity as Queen and as the Mother of God.

The family that prays together stays together and we, as the (Catholic) Church, are the Family of God. Our relationship with God also binds us in relationships with one another which is why community worship and prayer is important. It would be complete chaos if everyone were praying their own prayers individually during the Mass. To pray together, we need set prayers so that we can all pray as one.

Vain repetition is a problem, but repetition isn’t. The next time you pray a set prayer, try paying attention to the words.

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