PART IV: CHRISTIAN PRAYER
Section One: Prayer in the Christian Life
Chapter 1: The Revelation of Prayer
Article 2, In the Fullness of Time
Jesus teaches us how to pray (cont’d)
§ 2610 Just as Jesus prays to the Father and gives thanks before receiving His gifts, so He teaches us filial boldness: “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will” (Mark 11:24). Such is the power of prayer and of faith that does not doubt: “all things are possible to him who believes” (Mk 9:23b; cf. Matthew 21:22). Jesus is as saddened by the “lack of faith” of His own neighbors and the “little faith” of His own disciples (cf. Mk 6:6; Mt 8:26), as He is struck with admiration at the great faith of the Roman centurion and the Canaanite woman (cf. Mt 8:10; 15:28).
§ 2611 The prayer of faith consists not only in saying “Lord, Lord,” but in disposing the heart to do the will of the Father (cf. Mt 7:21). Jesus calls His disciples to bring into their prayer this concern for cooperating with the Divine plan (cf. Mt 9:38; Luke 10:2; John 4:34).
§ 2612 In Jesus, “the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Mk 1:15). He calls His hearers to conversion and faith, but also to watchfulness. In prayer, the disciple keeps watch, attentive to Him Who Is and Him Who Comes, in memory of His First Coming in the lowliness of the flesh, and in the hope of His Second Coming in glory (cf. Mk 13; Lk 21:34-36). In communion with their Master, the disciples’ prayer is a battle; only by keeping watch in prayer can one avoid falling into temptation (cf. Lk 22:40, 46).
§ 2613 Three principal parables on prayer are transmitted to us by St. Luke:
- The first, “the importunate [persistent] friend” (cf. Lk 11:5-13), invites us to urgent prayer: “Knock, and it will be opened to you.” To the one who prays like this, the Heavenly Father will “give whatever he needs,” and above all the Holy Spirit who contains all gifts.
- The second, “the importunate widow” (cf. Lk 18:1-8), is centered on one of the qualities of prayer: it is necessary to pray always without ceasing and with patience of faith. “And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
- The third parable, “the Pharisee and the tax collector” (cf. Lk 18:9-14), concerns the humility of the heart that prays. “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” The Church continues to make this prayer its own: Kyrie eleison [Lord, have mercy]!
§ 2614 When Jesus openly entrusts to His disciples the mystery of prayer to the Father, He reveals to them what their prayer and ours must be, once He has returned to the Father in His glorified humanity. What is new is to “ask in his name” (Jn 14:13). Faith in the Son introduces the disciples into the knowledge of the Father, because Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6).
Faith bears its fruit in love: it means keeping the Word and the Commandments of Jesus, it means abiding with Him in the Father who, in Him, so loves us that He abides with us. In this new covenant, the certitude that our petitions will be heard is founded on the prayer of Jesus (cf. Jn 14:13-14).
Tomorrow – Jesus teaches us how to pray (to be continued)
(Part IV, Section 1, Chapter 1, Article 2 – to be continued)
[Editor’s Note: The abbreviation in today’s posting is noted below.]
- “cf.” – “confer [compare or refer to]”