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Christian Prayer

627

Jesus teaches us how to pray

2607

When Jesus prays he is already teaching us how to pray.

His prayer to his Father is the theologal path (the path of faith,

hope, and charity) of our prayer to God. But the Gospel also gives

us Jesus’ explicit teaching on prayer. Like a wise teacher he takes

hold of us where we are and leads us progressively toward the

Father. Addressing the crowds following him, Jesus builds on what

they already know of prayer from the Old Covenant and opens to

them the newness of the coming Kingdom. Then he reveals this

newness to them in parables. Finally, he will speak openly of the

Father and the Holy Spirit to his disciples who will be the teachers

of prayer in his Church.

2608

From the

Sermon on the Mount

onwards, Jesus insists on

conversion of heart:

reconciliation with one’s brother before present­

ing an offering on the altar, love of enemies, and prayer for perse­

cutors, prayer to the Father in secret, not heaping up empty

phrases, prayerful forgiveness from the depths of the heart, purity

of heart, and seeking the Kingdom before all else.

64

This filial

conversion is entirely directed to the Father.

2609

Once committed to conversion, the heart learns to pray in

faith.

Faith is a filial adherence to God beyond what we feel and

understand. It is possible because the beloved Son gives us access

to the Father. He can ask us to “seek” and to “knock,” since he

himself is the door and the way.

65

2610

Just as Jesus prays to the Father and gives thanks before

receiving his gifts, so he teaches us

filial boldness:

“Whatever you

ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will.”

66

Such is

the power of prayer and of faith that does not doubt: “all things are

possible to him who believes.”

67

Jesus is as saddened by the “lack

of faith” of his own neighbors and the “little faith” of his own

disciples

68

as he is struck with admiration at the great faith of the

Roman centurion and the Canaanite woman.

69

2611

The prayer of faith consists not only in saying “Lord,

Lord,” but in disposing the heart to do the will of the Father.

70

Jesus

64 Cf.

Mt

5:23-24, 44-45; 6:7, 14-15, 21, 25, 33.

65 Cf.

Mt

7:7-11, 13-14.

66

Mk

11:24.

67

Mk

9:23; cf.

Mt

21:22.

68 Cf.

Mk

6:6;

Mt

8:26.

69 Cf.

Mt

8:10; 15:28.

70 Cf.

Mt

7:21.

520

541

1430

153

1814

165

2827