Schools of Prayer


There are many ways to pray and many prayers that can be used as a aid and tool for praying. This section of the Beholding God website seeks to draw upon the traditions of some of the religious families within the Church. Each founder provided their followers and fellow community members with a particular charism for prayer, and each can offer us a way of discovering – in our own lives as disciples and followers of Jesus – a deeper, richer sense of prayer to deepen our relationship with the Lord. We go back ‘to school’ as it were so that we can learn from these great teachers. They would never offer themselves as perfect models but, nevertheless, they offer a guide into deeper love of the Lord and a deeper experience of knowing the immensity of his love for us.

We take time to look at these ways of praying and tools for prayer. We’ll explore a Benedictine approach to prayer, look at the way St Francis and St Clare saw prayer, understand St Bernard’s vision of prayer, immerse ourselves in an understanding of what Carmel, or St Ignatius, or St Dominic can offer us. We’ll reflect upon the prayer of Jesus and prayer lived out in the lives of the early desert fathers and mothers.

There may be something here for you, something that might aid your prayer, strengthen or focus your prayer, but hopefully something that will deepen your awareness of God in your life and an awareness of the God who seeks to make him home within you.

Using this link, you ‘ll find yourself taken to the website of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference website and a series of video reflections taking you into an understanding of these different ‘schools’. There’s no competition! No one way is better than another… if it helps you, then it helps you… and that is a good thing. We don’t have to abandon the well tried and tested ways that have brought us this far. It may be that listening to these ‘practitioners’ and ‘teachers’ we might learn from their way of following the Lord and hold him at the centre of our lives. Begin with the Introduction and gently work your way through these schools.


The Prayer of Jesus

The Desert Fathers and Mothers

The School of St Benedict

The School of St Bernard

The School of Carmel

The School of St Dominic

The School of St Ignatius


Podcast series – Schools of Prayer    (from the Introduction to series)

Many of us lead busy lives but finding time for Christ in prayer offers us the nourishment we need to be at peace on our spiritual journey.

Monks, nuns and priests in Catholic religious communities often have deeply prayerful lives that bring them closer to the Lord.

So what can we learn from those with a devotion to great saints like St Thérèse of Lisieux, St Dominic, St Benedict, St Francis of Assisi, St Clare, St Bernard and St Ignatius?

What do each of these ‘teachers’ offer us as a tool for prayer and how does their prayer begin to shape ours?

From the Dominicans to the Benedictines, the Carmelites to the Franciscans, this podcast series explores some of these wonderful ‘Schools of Prayer’.

Each contributor belongs to a particular family of prayer – for example, we ask a Benedictine to talk about prayer at the school of St Benedict – and ask what their particular founder offers us, as Christians, in our life of prayer.

If prayer is about deepening our relationship with the person of Jesus, how then do we draw on that particular witness and example?

How can we learn more about what prayer can be and apply something of their vision of Christian discipleship to our way of life and desire to love Christ?