Jesus teaches us how to pray
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.
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.
conversion is entirely directed to the Father.
Once committed to conversion, the heart learns to pray in
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.
Just as Jesus prays to the Father and gives thanks before
receiving his gifts, so he teaches us
ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will.”
the power of prayer and of faith that does not doubt: “all things are
possible to him who believes.”
Jesus is as saddened by the “lack
of faith” of his own neighbors and the “little faith” of his own
as he is struck with admiration at the great faith of the
Roman centurion and the Canaanite woman.
The prayer of faith consists not only in saying “Lord,
Lord,” but in disposing the heart to do the will of the Father.
5:23-24, 44-45; 6:7, 14-15, 21, 25, 33.