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Christian Prayer

617

Creation—source of prayer

2569

Prayer is lived in the first place beginning with the realities

of

creation.

The first nine chapters of Genesis describe this relation­

ship with God as an offering of the first-born of Abel’s flock, as the

invocation of the divine name at the time of Enosh, and as “walking

with God.”

5

Noah’s offering is pleasing to God, who blesses him

and through him all creation, because his heart was upright and

undivided; Noah, like Enoch before him, “walks with God.”

6

This

kind of prayer is lived by many righteous people in all religions.

In his indefectible covenant with every living creature,

7

God

has always called people to prayer. But it is above all beginning with

our father Abraham that prayer is revealed in the Old Testament.

God’s promise and the prayer of Faith

2570

When God calls him, Abraham goes forth “as the Lord had

told him”;

8

Abraham’s heart is entirely submissive to the Word

and so he obeys. Such attentiveness of the heart, whose decisions

are made according to God’s will, is essential to prayer, while the

words used count only in relation to it. Abraham’s prayer is

expressed first by deeds: a man of silence, he constructs an altar to

the Lord at each stage of his journey. Only later does Abraham’s

first prayer in words appear: a veiled complaint reminding God of

his promises which seem unfulfilled.

9

Thus one aspect of the

drama of prayer appears from the beginning: the test of faith in the

fidelity of God.

2571

Because Abraham believed in God and walked in his

presence and in covenant with him,

10

the patriarch is ready to

welcome a mysterious Guest into his tent. Abraham’s remarkable

hospitality at Mamre foreshadows the annunciation of the true Son

of the promise.

11

After that, once God had confided his plan,

Abraham’s heart is attuned to his Lord’s compassion for men and

he dares to intercede for them with bold confidence.

12

5 Cf.

Gen

4:4, 26;

Gen

5:24.

6

Gen

6:9; 8:20-9:17.

7

Gen

9:8-16.

8

Gen

12:4.

9 Cf.

Gen

15:2 f.

10 Cf.

Gen

15:6; 17:1 f.

11 Cf.

Gen

18:1-15;

Lk

1:26-38.

12 Cf.

Gen

18:16-33.

288

58

59

145

494

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