544. How does Jesus teach us to pray?

Jesus teaches us to pray not only with the Our Father but also when he prays. In this way he teaches us, in addition to the content, the dispositions necessary for every true prayer: purity of heart that seeks the Kingdom and forgives one’s enemies, bold and filial faith that goes beyond what we feel and understand, and watchfulness that protects the disciple from temptation.


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2608. From the Sermon on the Mount onwards, Jesus insists on conversion of heart: reconciliation with one's brother before presenting an offering on the altar, love of enemies, and prayer for persecutors, prayer to the Father in secret, not heaping up empty phrases, prayerful forgiveness from the depths of the heart, purity of heart, and seeking the Kingdom before all else.64 This filial conversion is entirely directed to the Father.

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2609. Once committed to conversion, the heart learns to pray in faith. Faith is a filial adherence to God beyond what we feel and understand. It is possible because the beloved Son gives us access to the Father. He can ask us to "seek" and to "knock," since he himself is the door and the way.65

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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."66 Such is the power of prayer and of faith that does not doubt: "all things are possible to him who believes."67 Jesus is as saddened by the "lack of faith" of his own neighbors and the "little faith" of his own disciples68 as he is struck with admiration at the great faith of the Roman centurion and the Canaanite woman.69

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2611. The prayer of faith consists not only in saying "Lord, Lord," but in disposing the heart to do the will of the Father.70 Jesus calls his disciples to bring into their prayer this concern for cooperating with the divine plan.71

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2612. In Jesus "the Kingdom of God is at hand."72 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.73 In communion with their Master, the disciples' prayer is a battle; only by keeping watch in prayer can one avoid falling into temptation.74

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2613. Three principal parables on prayer are transmitted to us by St. Luke:

- the first, "the importunate friend,"75 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,"76 is centered on one of the qualities of prayer: it is necessary to pray always without ceasing and with the 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,"77 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!

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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."78 Faith in the Son introduces the disciples into the knowledge of the Father, because Jesus is "the way, and the truth, and the life."79 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.80

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2621. In his teaching, Jesus teaches his disciples to pray with a purified heart, with lively and persevering faith, with filial boldness. He calls them to vigilance and invites them to present their petitions to God in his name. Jesus Christ himself answers prayers addressed to him.


Acesse nossos estudos biblicos:

What is the criticism against relying on military force instead of God in Amos 2:14-16?

What does the statement “God is just and faithful to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” in 1 John 1:9 mean?

How is the humility and grace of God manifested in the Christian’s life, according to Psalm 138:6-7?

Why did God judge the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and what can we learn from this, according to Genesis 18:16-33 and 19:1-29?

The Dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem: Analysis of the Ceremony (1 Chronicles 22-29)

What does the Bible say about the importance of honesty and integrity in Ecclesiasticus 20:1-11?

What does it mean to love your neighbor as yourself according to James 2:8, and why is it important?

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