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Descriptions of prayer are abundant throughout Christian history.
"True prayer," wrote St. Augustine, "is nothing but love.
" Prayer should arise from the heart. "Prayer," said St. John Vianney, "is the inner bath of love into which the soul plunges itself
.""Everyone of us needs half an hour of prayer each day," remarked St. Francis de Sales, "except when we are busy—then we need an hour.
" Definitions of prayer are important, but insufficient. There is a huge difference between knowing about prayer and praying.
On this issue, the Rule of St. Benedict is clear, "If a man wants to pray, let him go and pray."
St. John Damascene gave a classic definition of prayer: "Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God" (CCC, no. 2559, citing St. John Damascene, De Fide Orth. 3, 24).
The Catechism clearly defines prayer as a "vital and personal relationship with the living and true God" (CCC, no. 2558). Prayer is Christian "insofar as it is communion with Christ" (CCC, no. 2565), and a "covenant relationship between God and man in Christ" (CCC, no. 2564).