57. Learning how to pray


   "Lord, teach us to pray!" (Luke 11,1), said the Apostles to Jesus one day. And He taught them the Lord’s prayer. The same thing happens to us, and many times we want to say Him: Jesus, teach me how to pray! Here, as with other skills, we need to learn. Usually, the Christian learn to pray in family, what is called the “household church”. Since a very early age, children are taught in the first prayers, dedicated to Go, Jesus, the Virgin, the angels or the saints. They are simple and touching prayers, transmited and maintained from fathers to sons. We could live that in our family like in the Church, which is a “prayer community”; if we live as good sons, our good mother the Church will teach how to pray and help us to be “souls of prayer”.

  A. Answer with one of these words: pray, talk, street, family, Creed and Lord’s prayer.

 Lord, teach us how to

 Usually, Christians learn how to pray in the

  Jesus taught the Apostles the

  Main ideas

1. Main sources of prayer

   The voice God wants to hear is our own voice, emerged from our heart, but He also wants to recognize in it his own word. For that, we say that the main source of pray is the Word of God. In the Holy Scripture, it is God-Christ- who speaks to us and teaches us how to pray. Those who learn to read the Scripture know how to pray.

    The Church’s liturgy announce, upgrade and inform about the mystery of salvation.The Church teaches how to pray, and it prays to us and with us.

    The teological virtues: faith, hope and charity, directly adressed to God and connected with Him in a trait of continuous praying when they are lived.

    And the events of each day: our work, the life with our families, friendship, rest... All of them are sources of pray and encounter with Christ, because, as St. Josemaria Escriva said: "My prayer’s theme is my life’s theme".

2. To whom is the prayer

   The liturgical prayer or public prayer of the Church is adressed to God Father, by intervention of Jesus, the Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. The Trinity is, then, the cornerstone of the Church’s prayer. The reference of God Father is then clear, because- as a beginning without beginning- He is the origin of grace and good. Jesus Christ intervention by his Holy Humanity is taught from his own words and from St Paul’s. The Holy Spirit intervention is stated when we read “And as well as this, the Spirit too comes to help us in our weakness, for, when we do not know how to pray properly, then the Spirit personally makes our petitions for us in groans that cannot be put into words. (Romans 8,26).

    On that way, the Church’s prayer is the basis for our own personal prayer, aiming for a true communication with God one and triune; that means an adressing to the prayer by God Father through His son Jesus Christ in the unity of the Holy Spirit. It is adressed to God and only to Him.

    But, due to our human condition, God is pleased when we ask for the intercession of angels and saints and specially of the Virgin, Mother of God along with St. Joseph, keeping in mind that they are secundary mediators, who help us in approaching God.

3. Praying with the Holy Mother of God

   Since the Canaan episode: the Virgin always give the clues to go to Jesus. That’s why, in Cana episode, she said: “Do whatever he tells you”. (John 2,5) The Virgin acts always in the same mood, taking us to Jesus. This is the reason why God wants to have her close, even although the mediation of Christ is the best one and his reedemer work save us. As a consequence, we pray God and Christ, but Mary is also an example and safe way of praying. The magnificat is an example of praying from humility to show gratitude for all the marvels He acted in Her, and we, along with Her, praise God. Apart for pray with Her, we also request Her our praises and petitions, praying for Mary and with Mary. She is very close to Her son, and her figure is similar to Christ’s, as St Augustin writes: “Ask for us as our priest, pray on us, as our head, to Him we directed our petitions, as our God”.

  B. There are 9 true sentences and 4 false ones. Choose the right ones.

 The main origin of pray is the Word of God

  Church’s Liturgy announces and upgrades the mistery of science

  Moral virtues are directly refered to God

  The events of each day are source of prayer

  We speak with God about our work, studies, friends or wathever we are worried about

  The objective of praying for the Church is the Virgin and saints

  The prayer of a Christian is directed to God Father by Jesus Christ in unity with the Holy Spirit

  The Virgin said in Capernaum: Do whatever he tells you

  The Virgin is a safe way for pray

  We must pray understanding what we are saying

  God speaks us through the Gospel

  When we offered our study it becomes prayer

  We must do what Jesus say

4. The Hail Holy Mary, the best prayer for the Virgin

   Being Mother of God and Our Mother, the Virgin constantly intercedes for us before her son Jesus Christ. For this reason, we turn to her with philial confidence, and we could do it in many ways, being the best of them praying the Hail Holy Mother, which remembers the salute of the Archangel when announced the mistery of Incarnation: Rejoice, you who enjoy God's favour! The Lord is with you.' Together with Isabel’s blessing: “Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” (Luke 1,28;42). The Church added this blessing: “Mother, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death”.

    Even knowing that the whole mercy is in the holy and sacred Hearth of Jesus and in the sweet Hearth of Mary, we use the intercession of saints and angels many times. They watch and be grateful to God, and have the providential job of look after us in our pilgrimage to Heaven.

    Being the Hail Holy Mother so beautiful- it was composed by God-, and being the Virgin involved in everything, we also plead the angels and saints by the Hail Holy Mother, not only by the Our Father.

5. La escuela de la piedad

   Christian family is the natural school to educate our sons in prayer, but piety is also favoured by the teachings of a priest, of nuns, in the catechism, in groups of prayer or in spiritual guidance.

6. Where do we pray?

   We always can talk to God, in every circumstance and in every place, because He sees, listens and is in everything. However, the most suitable place to pray is the temple, where He is present in a singular way. Jesus, true God and true man, along with his body, blood, soul and divinity, is in the Tabernacle. He is the one who bore in Bethlem, lived in Nazareth and died in the cross. However,it is in the temple where the Holy Mass is celebrated, which is the most sublime and effective prayer, because it is Christ’ one, the one of the Church of which He is Head.

    We must love the Mass and attending it whenever possible, because it is the moment when Christ offered himself in adoration and infinite thanksgiving, atoning human sins and asking for human necessities.

Curso de Catequesis. Don Jaime Pujol Balcells and Don Jesús Sancho Bielsa. EUNSA. Navarra. 1982. With permission from the authors.

  C. There are 6 true sentences and 3 false ones. Pick the correct ones.

  The Virgin intercedes to her son Jesus for each one of us

 We turn to the Virgin praying the Creed

 Isabel said: “Rejoice, you who enjoy God's favour! The Lord is with you”.

  The center of mercy is in the Hearths of Jesus and Mary

  We also turn ourselves to the angels and Saints’ intercession

 The school is the natural place to learn how to pray

  We can speak with God in every place every time

  The most suitable place for praying is the temple

  The most sublime and effective prayer is the Holy Mass

  Questions from the Catechism

1. Which are the main sources of praying?  The main sources of praying are the Word of God, the liturgy of the Church and the virtues of faith, hope and charity.

2. How the Holy Spirit acts in the prayer?  The Holy Spirit acts in prayer as a teacher of inner life.

3. And how the Holy Virgin intercede?  The Holy Virgin intercedes as a role model we try to imitate, presenting Jesus our requests.

4. Is it convenient to pray to angels and saints?  It is very convenient to pray to angels and saints, which are our intecessors in the presence of God.

  D. Choose the right answer. Options are below.  



  Which are the main sources of praying?

  How the Holy Spirit acts in the prayer?

  And how the Holy Virgin intercede?

  Is it convenient to pray to angels and saints?

 A  Como maestro de vida interior.
 B  Yes, because they are our intecessors in the presence of God.
 C  As a role model we try to imitate, presenting Jesus our requests.
 D  The Word of God, the liturgy of the Church and the virtues of faith, hope and charity.

  Intentions for a Christian life

- Meditate about the Hail Holy Mary for a better understanding of what are we praying.

- Vivir bien los detalles de cariño y de respeto cuando se está en la iglesia: uso del agua bendita, genuflexión ante el sagrario, inclinación de cabeza ante el Crucifijo o imagen de la Virgen, etc.

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®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of 29-IX-1999
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