The Apostleship of Prayer began in France in 1844. At that time Fr. Francis Xavier Gautrelet told a group of Jesuit seminarians who were eager to work on the missions: "Be apostles now, apostles of prayer! Offer everything you are doing each day in union with the Heart of our Lord for what He wishes, the spread of the Kingdom for the salvation of souls."
Devotion to this simple, profound way of life spread, and in time the Pope himself proposed a monthly intention. Since 1929 the Holy Father has proposed a second monthly intention, one specifically related to the missionary work of the Church. Over fifty million apostles of prayer worldwide now pray for the Pope's two prayer intentions each month.
Truly the Apostleship of Prayer is the Pope's own "prayer group." It is, as Pope John Paul II wrote in 1985, "a precious treasure from the Pope's heart and the Heart of Christ."