Jan 21, 2013

Call to Prayer

Pillar Focus other: The Revelation of Prayer

This sampling comes from Part IV of the Catechism titled: "Christian Prayer," section 1: Prayer in the Christian Life, ch. 1 The Revelation of Prayer-The Universal Call to Prayer.

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, 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 (CCC 2567). 
Following the introduction to prayer in this chapter, the Catechism goes on to talk about how God revealed prayer to us in the Old Testament and in the New. In the Old Testament, we see Abraham, Moses, King David, and the Prophets as models of prayer. We also see the Psalms as being the "summit of prayer in the Old Testament" where "the prayer of God becomes the prayer of man" (we have a Psalm read or sung at every mass). In the New Testament, we are taught how prayer is fully realized in Jesus. We also see the prayer of his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. This chapter concludes with the types of prayer we use in "The Age of the Church," which is how we pray today.
When God calls him, Abraham goes forth "as the Lord had told him";8 Abraham's heart is entirely submissive to the Word and so he obeys. Such attentiveness of the heart, whose decisions are made according to God's will, is essential to prayer, while the words used count only in relation to it. Abraham's prayer is expressed first by deeds: a man of silence, he constructs an altar to the Lord at each stage of his journey. Only later does Abraham's first prayer in words appear: a veiled complaint reminding God of his promises which seem unfulfilled.9 Thus one aspect of the drama of prayer appears from the beginning: the test of faith in the fidelity of God (CCC 2570).
The prayer of Moses responds to the living God's initiative for the salvation of his people. It foreshadows the prayer of intercession of the unique mediator, Christ Jesus (CCC 2593).
The Psalms constitute the masterwork of prayer in the Old Testament. They present two inseparable qualities: the personal, and the communal. They extend to all dimensions of history, recalling God's promises already fulfilled and looking for the coming of the Messiah (CCC 2596).
Prayed and fulfilled in Christ, the Psalms are an essential and permanent element of the prayer of the Church. They are suitable for men of every condition and time (CCC 2597).
Jesus' filial prayer is the perfect model of prayer in the New Testament. Often done in solitude and in secret, the prayer of Jesus involves a loving adherence to the will of the Father even to the Cross and an absolute confidence in being heard (CCC 2620).
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 (CCC 2621). 
Types of prayer
What are the essential forms of Christian prayer?
They are blessing and adoration, the prayer of petition and intercession, thanksgiving and praise. The Eucharist contains and expresses all the forms of prayer (CCCC 550)

What is “blessing”?
The prayer of blessing is man’s response to God’s gifts: we bless the Almighty who first blesses us and fills us with his gifts (CCCC 551).

How can adoration be defined?
Adoration is the humble acknowledgement by human beings that they are creatures of the thrice-holy Creator (CCCC 552).

What are the different forms of the prayer of petition?
It can be a petition for pardon or also a humble and trusting petition for all our needs either spiritual or material. The first thing to ask for, however, is the coming of the Kingdom (CCCC 553).

In what does the prayer of intercession consist?
Intercession consists in asking on behalf of another. It conforms us and unites us to the prayer of Jesus who intercedes with the Father for all, especially sinners. Intercession must extend even to one’s enemies (CCCC 554).

When is thanksgiving given to God?
The Church gives thanks to God unceasingly, above all in celebrating the Eucharist in which Christ allows her to participate in his own thanksgiving to the Father. For the Christian every event becomes a reason for giving thanks (CCCC 555).

What is the prayer of praise?
Praise is that form of prayer which recognizes most immediately that God is God. It is a completely disinterested prayer: it sings God’s praise for his own sake and gives him glory simply because he is (CCCC 556).

Read the Catechism
For the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, read #534-556
For the "In Brief" sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, click one of the following:
     In the Old Testament (Old Testament figures as models)
     In the Fullness of Time (Jesus and Mary as models)
     In the Age of the Church (Types of Prayer)
For the full Catechism of the Catholic Church, begin here.