Recently, while praying with one of my spiritual fathers, I felt so blessed and joyful, as I felt the presence of Jesus with us. I was reminded of Jesus’ words: “For where two or more are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt 18:20). When we pray with our friends, Jesus is with us and blesses our friendships. I believe that by praying together, people develop a stronger, closer friendship. This has been true with all of my friends.
Many Catholics know about the importance of families praying together; it is also beneficial for friends to pray together. I have learned that prayer is the foundation of true friendship. My friendships with other Catholics have been founded in prayer and sustained in prayer.
I met many of my friends by attending the meetings of a Catholic young adult group. We began and ended our weekly meetings with prayer, and as I made friends in the group, we prayed together outside the meetings as well. One friend, Rosa, would host “girls’ nights” and invite her women friends from the group for dinner, music, sometimes discussion of a book, and always prayer – usually the Rosary. Later, I met other friends through pro-life activities. My friendships with them also include prayer.
I am thankful to have some wonderful, holy priests as spiritual fathers and friends. During our visits, we always pray together, usually the Rosary and the Divine Office. Although I can and do pray these prayers alone, I find that I pray more attentively and meditatively when praying with another person, and especially with my spiritual fathers who have been priests for many years and pray with such faith and devotion.
Praying with friends does not replace individual, private prayer, as it is necessary to have time alone with God. Praying with others can help you to persevere in private prayer. By praying together, you encourage each other to pray.
I remember I first realized the importance of praying with friends one evening while praying the Rosary with a group of friends. While praying the third glorious mystery – the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost – I saw that by praying together, we were doing what Mary and the Apostles did. Praying with one’s friends is part of a long tradition in the Church.
The greatest form of prayer is the Mass, and it is a wonderful experience to attend Mass with my friends, as all of us are there to worship Jesus, and all of us are united by our love for Jesus. I first attended Mass with friends while participating in a Catholic young adult group in England. The group would arrange to meet at a church for Sunday Mass and then go out for a meal afterwards. Many members from the local young adult group I belonged to attended an evening weekday Mass together before their meetings. I still continue to attend Mass with friends often.
Praying with friends is also an ideal way to address any problem. Too often when there are problems in the Church, in the world, or in our lives, we complain, but that does not solve the problems. The most important thing we can do is to pray and ask others to pray. If we pray together and are united in our love for God and desire for His Will, we will be doing something important and necessary to improve the negative situation.
In addition to praying with our friends, it is also important to pray for our friends. Prayer is the greatest gift we can give them and is the best way we can thank them for their friendship.