PART IV: CHRISTIAN PRAYER
Section One: Prayer in the Christian Life
Chapter 1: The Revelation of Prayer
Article 3, In the Age of the Church
III. Prayer of Intercession (cont’d)
§ 2635 Since Abraham, intercession – asking on behalf of another – has been characteristic of a heart attuned to God’s Mercy. In the age of the Church, Christian intercession participates in Christ’s, as an expression of the communion of saints. In intercession, he who prays looks “not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others,” even to the point of praying for those who do him harm (Philippians 2:4; cf. Acts 7:60; Luke 23:28, 34).
§ 2636 The first Christian communities lived this form of fellowship intensely (cf. Acts 12:5; 20:36; 21:5; 2 Corinthians 9:14). Thus, the Apostle Paul gives them a share in his ministry of preaching the Gospel (cf. Ephesians 6:18-20; Colossians 4:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 5:25), but also intercedes for them (cf. 2 Thess 1:11; Col 1:3; Phil 1:3-4). The intercession of Christians recognizes no boundaries: “for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions,” for persecutors, for the salvation of those who reject the Gospel (1 Timothy 2:1; cf. Romans 12:14; 10:1).
IV. Prayer of Thanksgiving
§ 2637 Thanksgiving characterizes the prayer of the Church which, in celebrating the Eucharist, reveals and becomes more fully what she is. Indeed, in the work of salvation, Christ sets creation free from sin and death to consecrate it anew and make it return to the Father, for His glory. The thanksgiving of the members of the Body participates in that of their Head.
§ 2638 As in the prayer of petition, every event and need can become an offering of thanksgiving. The letters of St. Paul often begin and end with thanksgiving, and the Lord Jesus is always present in it: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”; “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving” (1 Thess 5:18; Col 4:2).
V. Prayer of Praise
§ 2639 Praise is the form of prayer which recognizes most immediately that God is God. It lauds God for His own sake and gives Him glory, quite beyond what He does, but simply because HE IS. It shares in the blessed happiness of the pure of heart who love God in faith before seeing Him in glory.
By praise, the Spirit is joined to our spirits to bear witness that we are children of God (cf. Rom 8:16), testifying to the Only Son in whom we are adopted and by whom we glorify the Father. Praise embraces the other forms of prayer and carries them toward Him who is its Source and Goal: the “one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist” (1 Cor 8:6).
Tomorrow – Prayer of Praise (to be continued) & In Brief
(Part IV, Section 1, Chapter 1, Article 3 – to be continued)
[Editor’s Note: The abbreviation in today’s posting is noted below.]
- “cf.” – “confer [compare or refer to]”