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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