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Christian Prayer

619

question that the Lord confides his ineffable name, which will be re­

vealed through his mighty deeds.

2576

“Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a

man speaks to his friend.”

21

Moses’ prayer is characteristic of

contemplative prayer by which God’s servant remains faithful to

his mission. Moses converses with God often and at length, climb­

ing the mountain to hear and entreat him and coming down to the

people to repeat the words of his God for their guidance. Moses “is

entrusted with all my house. With him I speak face to face, clearly,

not in riddles,” for “Moses was very humble, more so than anyone

else on the face of the earth.”

22

2577

From this intimacy with the faithful God, slow to anger

and abounding in steadfast love,

23

Moses drew strength and deter­

mination for his intercession. He does not pray for himself but for

the people whom God made his own. Moses already intercedes for

them during the battle with the Amalekites and prays to obtain

healing for Miriam.

24

But it is chiefly after their apostasy that Moses

“stands in the breach” before God in order to save the people.

25

The arguments of his prayer—for intercession is also a mysterious

battle—will inspire the boldness of the great intercessors among

the Jewish people and in the Church: God is love; he is therefore

righteous and faithful; he cannot contradict himself; he must re­

member his marvellous deeds, since his glory is at stake, and he

cannot forsake this people that bears his name.

David and the prayer of the king

2578

The prayer of the People of God flourishes in the shadow

of God’s dwelling place, first the ark of the covenant and later the

Temple. At first the leaders of the people—the shepherds and the

prophets—teach them to pray. The infant Samuel must have

learned from his mother Hannah how “to stand before the Lord”

and from the priest Eli how to listen to his word: “Speak, Lord, for

your servant is listening.”

26

Later, he will also know the cost and

consequence of intercession: “Moreover, as for me, far be it from

me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you;

and I will instruct you in the good and the right way.”

27

21

Ex

33:11.

22

Num

12:3, 7-8.

23 Cf.

Ex

34:6.

24 Cf.

Ex

17:8-12;

Num

12:13-14.

25

Ps

106:23; cf.

Ex

32:1-34:9.

26

1 Sam

3:9-10; cf. 1:9-18.

27

1 Sam

12:23.

555

210

2635

214