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A modern dictionary of 5,679 Catholic terms (including abbreviations), both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases. All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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Term

CHAIN PRAYER

Definition

A superstitious practice that consists in the saying of certain prayers successively by many individuals who hope for the favors received, not so much from God's goodness as from the magic effect of this unbroken series of prayers. In its most common form a written or printed prayer is sent to the person who is to form one link in the chain and is asked to say this prayer and to continue the chain by persuading others to take up the praying where he or she leaves off. these in turn are to pass the prayer on to still others. The efficacy of the practice, therefore, is mainly in the chain and not in the prayer. All forms of chain prayer are superstition and correspondingly sinful.