St. Teresa of Avila’s Prayer Philosophy – Lent 2016


Katie shares her experience as a child from her parents as her “Family Prayer Models.” She recalls how her father and mother would lead them into prayer and be examples to their children. She encourages us to try in our lives today to strengthen our prayer life and be the role models that our family needs. 

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Reflective Study Guide Questions

“Prayer is an act of love; words are not needed. Even if sickness distracts from thoughts, all that is needed is the will to love.” 

St. Teresa of Avila
  • Examine your own prayer life. Do you pray sometimes, or do you pray always?

  • What are some small ways you can add prayer into your life — in just moments throughout the day?

  • Are there ever moments throughout the day that your mind wonders off? Think of how you can use those moments to bring your mind and heart back to prayer and back to God.

A Prayer by St. Teresa of Avila

“May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.”

More Resources

Pope Francis Speaking on the Life of St. Teresa of Avila (Vatican Radio)

“How to Approach Spiritual Warfare According to Teresa of Avila” (Dan Burke, National Catholic Register)

“The Holiness and Work of St. Teresa of Avila, Mystic and Church Reformer” (Benjamin Mann, CNA/EWTN News)

Text: St. Teresa of Avila’s Prayer Philosophy

I love the prayer philosophy of Saint Teresa of Avila. It’s pretty simple and yet so profound, “If you don’t pray sometimes, you can’t pray always.” The end goal in prayer is essentially to live our whole lives as a prayer to God. But as of right now, when it comes to our prayer lives, most of us probably fall somewhere in the middle. Somewhere between praying sometimes and praying always.


It kinda makes me laugh as myself sometimes when I get so caught up in living my whole life as a prayer, which is what saints do, and then look at my actual concrete day-to-day prayer life and discover that my little “sometimes” efforts to pray are pretty lousy at certain times. Then I remember Saint Teresa’s philosophy and I try to refocus on the little but important efforts to pray in small ways. Which all eventually add up to constant life-altering prayer.

Most of the prayer warriors I admire most are not prayer experts but they are remarkable in their conscious effort not to settle for a stagnant prayer life. I recently heard a priest describe how most 50-year-olds have the same prayer life they had as 8-year-olds! I want something more than that for God, for myself, and for my family. So, I try to take greater notice of the importance of seizing many “sometimes” moments to pray in an effort to work toward the grand task of trying to live my whole life as a prayer to God.

Family Prayer Model

Growing up I was fortunate to have parents who were powerful prayer models leading my sisters and me in prayer before my dad left for work and we rushed out to the bus stop every morning. It was not unusual to hear my dad say to an acquaintance over the phone, “Let’s end in prayer.” and to hear him ask the gentleman sitting next to him on an airplane, “Can I pray for you right now?”.

My mom was a regular visitor to the adoration chapel and probably our family’s most powerful earthly intercessor. Her prayer life characterized by beautiful humility and quiet strength stirred a great deal of admiration in me from a young age as it really occupied the central place in her life. She taught me to look at the crucifix in our home throughout the day, pray for a stranger in need when a siren passed by, offering sufferings for a friend or family member battling illness, and to give thanks for my many many blessings.

Most importantly, perhaps, my parents taught me how to talk to Jesus spontaneously and genuinely as my Father, God, and greatest advocate. Along with modeling for me how to pray using the Bible and that arsenal of prayers given to us through the Church.

Seizing The Sometimes

Even if you had a totally different upbringing in your prayer or no exposure to prayer at all in your home growing up, you can be the one that infuses prayer life into your family now. But it all begins by seizing as many of those “sometimes” moments to pray as you can and then gradually working your way toward praying always.

About Katie (Peterson) Warner 

Katie (Peterson) Warner of is a wife, stay-at-home mom, author and speaker who helps family men and women learn the practical strategies and resources they need to take small steps toward becoming leaders at living more spiritual and meaningful lives, together with their families. Katie is the author of Head & Heart: Becoming Spiritual Leaders for Your Family (Emmaus Road Publishing), a correspondent for the National Catholic Register, and a contributing writer for the She has presented in venues like the National Catholic Bible Conference, the Catholic Family Conference, numerous Legatus chapters, the Eucharistic Congress of Atlanta, the Augustine Institute’s acclaimed Symbolon and Opening the Word programs, and on EWTN radio and EWTN television. Katie is the part-time Manager of Communication and Evangelization for Catholics Come Home. Katie and her husband, Raymond, have two children, and her favorite ministry work is family life. You connect with Katie on Facebook, Twitter, and through her website at

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