In the Catholic Church, the light of a candle represents the light of Christ. That’s why the priest passes a candle to the parents to represent the light and life of christ.
It’s also why Catholic prayer candles are important. Also called votive candles, prayer candles symbolize the presence of Christ and the offering up of prayers.
Votive candles are often found in church, but you can also use them to pray at home. Read on to learn more on how to use Catholic prayer candles.
What You'll Learn Today
How do Catholic Prayer Candles Work?
Catholic prayer candles are just like any other candles. They burn like any other candles and are usually unscented.
What matters is their symbolism. You’ll notice that in church, prayer candles are not just placed anywhere. They are typically positioned in front of an image or statue of Christ, the Virgin Mary, or a saint to indicate whom you are offering your prayer to.
You light the candle as you speak the first words of your prayer, then leave the candle burning during and after prayer.
How to Use a Catholic Prayer Candle at Home
Prayer candles for home use typically come in tall glass containers with an image of a saint, the Virgin Mary or Jesus on it.
This replaces the statue or image the candle is placed in front of in church. But if you have an image of a saint, Mary, or Jesus in your home, you can get an ordinary prayer candle (without an attached picture), and place it in front of the image.
Once you have the right prayer candle, here’s how to use it.
- Have the candle blessed by a priest. You can also bless it yourself using sacred oil or holy water. Alternatively, say a simple prayer asking God to bless the candle.
- Start your prayer the moment you light the candle. Keep praying as the candle burns.
- Often, prayer candles are used to send up prayers for yourself or someone else. Depending on the kind of image on or in front of the candle, you can pray to Jesus or ask a saint or the Virgin Mary to intercede for you.
- After prayer, leave the candle burning as you go about your work. This symbolizes that your prayers are still being offered. Ideally, the candle should self-extinguish. But only do this if it is safe.
- If there are kids around, you are going out of the house, or you are going to bed, snuff or blow out the candle.
Can I Pray Without a Candle?
Prayer candles, while helpful in talking to God, are not mandatory for prayer. God will listen whenever and wherever you pray to Him. You do not need a candle to make your prayers more effective.
A prayer candle, like a rosary, is a spiritual tool to aid our friendship with Jesus. You do not pray to the candle or the image on the candle. You use the candle and the symbolism of the light to help you connect to God.
If you have no prayer candles at home, don’t worry. You can still pray without a candle and God will hear your prayers if you are sincere.