Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  510 / 665 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 510 / 665 Next Page
Page Background

482 • Part IV. Prayer: The Faith Prayed

reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door

and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in

secret will repay you. In praying, do not babble like the pagans,

who think that they will be heard because of their many words.

Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you

ask him.

This is how you are to pray:

Our Father in heaven, / hallowed be your name, / your king-

dom come, / your will be done, / on earth as in heaven. / Give us

today our daily bread; / and forgive us our debts, / as we forgive

our debtors; / and do not subject us to the final test, / but deliver

us from the evil one. (Mt 6:5-13)

The Gospel of Luke also offers counsel about prayer:

And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find;

knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who

asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who

knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would

hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a

scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked,

know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will

the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit to those who ask him. (Lk


It is clear, therefore, that Jesus framed his gift of the Lord’s Prayer with

guidance to help us pray more effectively.

St. Luke records another of Christ’s instructions on prayer in the par-

able of the self-important Pharisee and a humble tax collector:

Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a

Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up

his position and spoke this prayer to himself, “O God, I thank you

that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulter-

ous—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay

tithes on my whole income.” But the tax collector stood off at a

distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat

his breast and prayed, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.” I tell

you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone