Chapter 36. Jesus Taught Us to Pray • 483
who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles
himself will be exalted. (Lk 18:10-14)
Jesus gave us not only the gift of the Lord’s Prayer, but also the context
in which it should be understood and prayed. With this in mind, we offer
the following reflection on this, the greatest of prayers.
THE CENTRAL PRAYER OF SCRIPTURE
The Lord’s Prayer is the most perfect of prayers. . . . In it
we ask, not only for all the things we can rightly desire,
but also in the sequence that they should be desired. This
prayer not only teaches us to ask for things, but also in
what order we should desire them.
—CCC, no. 2763, citing St. Thomas Aquinas,
, II-II. 83, 9
The Our Father is called the “Lord’s Prayer” because Jesus, our Lord
and model of prayer, is its author. There are two versions of the Lord’s
Prayer in the Gospels. St. Luke’s account of the event contains five
petitions. St. Matthew’s lists seven. The Church’s liturgy follows
St. Augustine wrote seven commentaries on the Our Father. So
moved was he by its depth that he wrote, “Run through all the words
of holy prayers [in Scripture], and I do not think you will find anything
in them that is not contained in the Lord’s Prayer” (
, 130, 12, 22).
The Our Father is an integral part of sacramental liturgies (Baptism,
Confirmation, and the Anointing of the Sick) and of the Eucharist itself.
At Mass, it comes after the Eucharistic Prayer, summing up the interces-
sions of that prayer and preparing us for Holy Communion when we
receive Jesus Christ, who is the Bread of Life. It is at the heart of every
individual and communal prayer (cf. CCC, no. 2776).