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Christian Prayer

653

praying to his Father and teaching the Our Father to

his disciples.

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Meditation is a prayerful quest engaging thought,

imagination, emotion, and desire. Its goal is to make

our own in faith the subject considered, by confronting

it with the reality of our own life.

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Contemplative prayer is the simple expression of the

mystery of prayer. It is a gaze of faith fixed on Jesus,

an attentiveness to the Word of God, a silent love. It

achieves real union with the prayer of Christ to the

extent that it makes us share in his mystery.

A

rticle

2

THE BATTLE OF PRAYER

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Prayer is both a gift of grace and a determined response on

our part. It always presupposes effort. The great figures of prayer of

the Old Covenant before Christ, as well as the Mother of God, the

saints, and he himself, all teach us this: prayer is a battle. Against

whom? Against ourselves and against the wiles of the tempter who

does all he can to turnman away fromprayer, away fromunion with

God. We pray as we live, because we live as we pray. If we do not

want to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ, neither canwe

pray habitually in his name. The “spiritual battle” of the Christian’s

new life is inseparable from the battle of prayer.

I.

O

bjections

to

P

rayer

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In the battle of prayer, we must face in ourselves and

around us

erroneous notions of prayer.

Some people view prayer as a

simple psychological activity, others as an effort of concentration

to reach a mental void. Still others reduce prayer to ritual words

and postures. Many Christians unconsciously regard prayer as an

occupation that is incompatible with all the other things they have

to do: they “don’t have the time.” Those who seek God by prayer

are quickly discouraged because they do not know that prayer

comes also from the Holy Spirit and not from themselves alone.

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