PART IV: CHRISTIAN PRAYER
Section One: Prayer in the Christian Life
Chapter 1: The Revelation of Prayer
The Universal Call to Prayer
§ 2566 Man is in search of God. In the act of creation, God calls every being from nothingness into existence. “Crowned with glory and honor,” man is, after the angels, capable of acknowledging “how majestic is the name of the Lord in all the earth” (Psalm 8:5; 8:1). Even after losing through his sin his likeness to God, man remains an image of his Creator, and retains the desire for the One who calls him into existence. All religions bear witness to men’s essential search for God (cf. Acts 17:27).
§ 2567 God calls man first. Man may forget his Creator or hide far from His face; he may run after idols or accuse the Deity of having abandoned him; yet the Living and True God tirelessly calls each person to that mysterious encounter known as prayer. In prayer, [for] the faithful God’s initiative of Love always comes first; our own first step is always a response. As God gradually reveals Himself and reveals man to Himself, prayer appears as a reciprocal call, a covenant drama. Through words and actions, this drama engages the heart. It unfolds throughout the whole history of salvation.
Article 1, In the Old Testament
§ 2568 In the Old Testament, the revelation of prayer comes between the fall and the restoration of man, that is, between God’s sorrowful call to His first children: “Where are you? …What is this that you have done?” (Genesis 3:9, 13), and the response of God’s Only Son on coming into the world: “Lo, I have come to do your will, O God” (Hebrews 10:5-7). Prayer is bound up with human history, for it is the relationship with God in historical events.
Creation – source of prayer
§ 2569 Prayer is lived, in the first place, beginning with the realities of creation. The first nine chapters of Genesis describe this relationship with God as an offering of the first-born of Abel’s flock, as the invocation of the Divine Name at the time of Enosh, and as “walking with God” (cf. Gen 4:4, 26; Gen 5:24a). Noah’s offering is pleasing to God, who blesses him and through him all creation, because his heart was upright and undivided; Noah, like Enoch before him, “walks with God” (Gen 6:9c; 8:20-9:17). This kind of prayer is lived by many righteous people in all religions.
In his indefectible [flawless and lasting] covenant with every living creature (Gen 9:8-16), God has always called people to prayer. But it is above all beginning with our father Abraham that prayer is revealed in the Old Testament.
Tomorrow – God’s promise and the prayer of Faith
(Part IV, Section 1, Chapter 1, Article 1 – to be continued)
[Editor’s Note: The abbreviation in today’s posting is noted below.]
- “cf.” – “confer [compare or refer to]”
A Sunday Blessing
May the Lord bless you and keep you!
May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you!
May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace! †(cf. Numbers 6:24-26)