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,”
Holy Spirit teaches the children of God how to pray.
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.
AT THE WELLSPRINGS OF PRAYER
The Holy Spirit is the
“welling up to eternal life”
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
The Church “forcefully and specially exhorts all the Chris-
tian faithful . . . to learn ‘the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ’
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.’”
The spiritual writers, paraphrasing
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
3:8; St. Ambrose,
De officiis ministrorum
1, 20, 88: PL 16, 50.