464 • Part IV. Prayer: The Faith Prayed
every chapter in this text includes a meditative section and a liturgical or
This chapter on prayer has four sections: Scripture, the sources and
manner of praying, guides for prayer, and expressions of prayer.
Scripture reveals the relationship between God and his people as a
dialogue of prayer. He constantly searches for us. Our restless hearts
seek him, though sin often masks and frustrates this desire. God always
begins the process. The point where his call and our response intersect is
prayer. The event is always grace-filled and a gift.
Old Testament People at Prayer
The Role of Faith in Prayer
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob witnessed the role of faith in prayer. God’s
call came first. These patriarchs responded in faith, but not without a
struggle. Essential to their prayer was trust in God’s fidelity to his prom-
ises. Centuries later, God called Moses to be his instrument for the salva-
tion of Israel from slavery. Moses dramatized the value of intercessory
prayer as he vigorously begged God for mercy and guidance for the
people making their journey to the Promised Land.
After the people had settled in the Promised Land, there were many
powerful witnesses to the importance of faith in prayer. One example
is the holy woman Hannah, who longed for a child. Year after year, she
made a pilgrimage to the shrine at Shiloh, where she prayed to the Lord
and made him a vow that if he would give her a child, she would dedi-
cate the child to God. The Lord answered her prayer, and she conceived
and bore a son, whom she called Samuel. He grew up to be a prophet
and a judge, a religious leader of God’s people. Her song of joy at the
dedication of her son to God is a canticle of praise.
My heart exults in the Lord, . . .
The Lord makes poor and makes rich,
he humbles, he also exalts.