Finally, in this prayer Jesus reveals and gives to us the
“knowledge,” inseparably one, of the Father and of the Son,
which is the very mystery of the life of prayer.
Prayer presupposes an effort, a fight against ourselves
and the wiles of the Tempter. The battle of prayer is
inseparable from the necessary “spiritual battle” to act
habitually according to the Spirit of Christ: we pray as
we live, because we live as we pray.
In the battle of prayer we must confront erroneous
conceptions of prayer, various currents of thought,
and our own experience of failure. We must respond
with humility, trust, and perseverance to these temp
tations which cast doubt on the usefulness or even
the possibility of prayer.
The principal difficulties in the practice of prayer are
distraction and dryness. The remedy lies in faith, con
version, and vigilance of heart.
Two frequent temptations threaten prayer: lack of
faith and acedia—a form of depression stemming
from lax ascetical practice that leads to
Filial trust is put to the test when we feel that our
prayer is not always heard. The Gospel invites us to
ask ourselves about the conformity of our prayer to
the desire of the Spirit.
“Pray constantly” (
5:17). It is always possible
to pray. It is even a vital necessity. Prayer and Chris
tian life are inseparable.
The prayer of the hour of Jesus, rightly called the
“priestly prayer” (cf.
17), sums up the whole econ
omy of creation and salvation. It fulfills the great
petitions of the Our Father.
17:3, 6-10, 25.