466 • Part IV. Prayer: The Faith Prayed
of Mass. They also form the heart and soul of the Liturgy of the Hours,
that public daily prayer of the Church which prolongs the Eucharistic
celebration and gives praise to God.
The Canticle of Judith belongs to the genre of psalms and memorial-
izes the vivid story of how God delivered his people through the leader-
ship of the valiant woman Judith. The Book of Judith cites her example
as a way to help God’s people trust in the divine presence among them.
Despite all the troubles the people of ancient Israel faced, they had
trusted in him as the Lord of history.
This book describes how the Assyrian army besieged the Jewish
people. Judith developed a successful plan to defeat the Assyrians. The
emphasis in the narrative is on God’s intervention to save his people.
Judith led her people in a prayer of praise that has many features of the
Psalms and was meant to be a prayer of the whole assembly:
Strike up the instruments,
a song to my God. . . .
A new hymn I will sing to my God.
O Lord, great are you and glorious,
wonderful in power and unsurpassable.
Let your every creature serve you,
for you spoke, and they were made. (Jdt 16:1, 13-14)
Prayer in the New Testament
The Prayer of Jesus
As a child, Jesus first learned to pray from Mary and Joseph. As he grew
in age, he also joined in prayer at the synagogue and at the Temple. But
he also had his heavenly Father as the source of his prayer. It was a filial
prayer he revealed when he was twelve: “I must be in my Father’s house”
(Lk 2:49). Jesus addressed his Father by the name “
,” which in the
language of his day was used by children to speak to their fathers.
The Gospels also describe the numerous times Jesus went away
from the crowds and his disciples to pray by himself. In the Garden of
Gethsemane, he prayed in agony to the Father knowing the Cross that