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Chapter 35. God Calls Us to Pray • 467

awaited him, but also praying with acceptance of and obedience to the

mission the Father had given him.

Jesus also taught his disciples to pray. In the Gospel of Matthew, for

example, he instructed them to pray with simplicity of words and confi-

dence in the Father (cf. Mt 6:5-15; 7:7-11).

Prayer in the New Testament Church

At Pentecost, after nine days of prayer in the Upper Room, the disci-

ples experienced the gift of the Holy Spirit for the manifestation of the

Church. The first community of believers in Jerusalem devoted them-

selves to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the

bread, and to prayers (cf. Acts 2:42). The infant Church was born in

prayer, lived in prayer, and thrived in prayer.

The Letters of St. Paul show him to be a man of intense prayer.

Throughout his Letters, there are prayers of praise to God for blessings

the Church and he himself have received. There are also prayers of inter-

cession as he seeks God’s grace for the communities he has evangelized.

And he describes his own personal prayers to God, especially in times

of difficulty.

The Holy Spirit taught the Church the life of prayer and led her to

deeper insights into basic ways of praying: adoration, petition, interces-

sion, thanksgiving, and praise.


This form of prayer flows from an attitude that acknowledges we are

creatures in the presence of our Creator. It is an act by which we glorify

the God who made us. We adore God from whom all blessings flow.


This is a prayer that takes many forms: to ask, to implore, to plead, to

cry out. In each case, it acknowledges how much we depend on God for

our needs, including forgiveness and persistence in seeking him. We need

to practice the prayer of petition, remembering Christ’s call to ask in

order to receive, to seek in order to find, and to knock in order that the

door may be opened (cf. Mt 7:7).