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468 • Part IV. Prayer: The Faith Prayed

The first movement of the prayer of petition is asking forgiveness of

our sins as did the tax collector in the parable where he was compared

to the Pharisee whose prayer lacked humility (cf. CCC, no. 2631). The

tax collector begins his prayer with the words, “O God, be merciful to

me a sinner” (Lk 18:13). Humility and repentance characterize a prayer

that returns us to communion with Christ.


This is the prayer that we make on behalf of the needs of others. Jesus

Christ himself, our great High Priest, incessantly intercedes for us.

God calls us also to intercede for each other and even for our enemies.

Intercessions for others’ needs are part of the Mass and the Liturgy of

the Hours.


This form of prayer flows from the Church’s greatest prayer, the cele-

bration of the Eucharist. Every moment or event can become a thanks-

giving offering. We are called to thank God for all the gifts we have

received, including our joys and sorrows, all of which, through love,

work towards our benefit.


“Praise is the form of prayer which recognizes most immediately that

God is God. . . . It shares in the blessed happiness of the pure of heart

who love God in faith before seeing him in glory” (CCC, no. 2639).

Scripture is filled with outpourings of praise for God. When we exult in

him with simplicity and an open heart, we obtain a glimpse of the joy of

the angels and saints who glory in the ways of God.


We must do more than rely on an impulse for our prayer life. St. Paul

calls us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes 5:17). The will to pray in