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Christian Prayer

637

C

hapter

T

wo

T

he

T

radition of

P

rayer

2650

Prayer cannot be reduced to the spontaneous outpouring

of interior impulse: in order to pray, one must have the will to pray.

Nor is it enough to know what the Scriptures reveal about prayer:

one must also learn how to pray. Through a living transmission (Sa-

cred Tradition) within “the believing and praying Church,”

1

the

Holy Spirit teaches the children of God how to pray.

2651

The tradition of Christian prayer is one of the ways in which

the tradition of faith takes shape and grows, especially through the

contemplation and study of believers who treasure in their hearts the

events and words of the economy of salvation, and through their

profound grasp of the spiritual realities they experience.

2

A

rticle

1

AT THE WELLSPRINGS OF PRAYER

2652

The Holy Spirit is the

living water

“welling up to eternal life”

3

in

the heart that prays. It is he who teaches us to accept it at its source:

Christ. Indeed in the Christian life there are several wellsprings where

Christ awaits us to enable us to drink of the Holy Spirit.

The Word of God

2653

The Church “forcefully and specially exhorts all the Chris-

tian faithful . . . to learn ‘the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ’

(

Phil

3:8) by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. . . . Let them

remember, however, that prayer should accompany the reading of

Sacred Scripture, so that a dialogue takes place between God and

man. For ‘we speak to him when we pray; we listen to him when

we read the divine oracles.’”

4

2654

The spiritual writers, paraphrasing

Matthew

7:7, summa-

rize in this way the dispositions of the heart nourished by the

word of God in prayer: “Seek in reading and you will find in

1

DV

8.

2 Cf.

DV

8.

3

Jn

4:14.

4

DV

25; cf.

Phil

3:8; St. Ambrose,

De officiis ministrorum

1, 20, 88: PL 16, 50.

75

94

694

133

1100