Catechism of the Catholic Church

Christian Prayer 637 C hapter T wo T he T radition of P rayer 2650 Prayer cannot be reduced to the spontaneous outpouring of interior impulse: in order to pray, one must have the will to pray. Nor is it enough to know what the Scriptures reveal about prayer: one must also learn how to pray. Through a living transmission (Sa- cred Tradition) within “the believing and praying Church,” 1 the Holy Spirit teaches the children of God how to pray. 2651 The tradition of Christian prayer is one of the ways in which the tradition of faith takes shape and grows, especially through the contemplation and study of believers who treasure in their hearts the events and words of the economy of salvation, and through their profound grasp of the spiritual realities they experience. 2 A rticle 1 AT THE WELLSPRINGS OF PRAYER 2652 The Holy Spirit is the living water “welling up to eternal life” 3 in the heart that prays. It is he who teaches us to accept it at its source: Christ. Indeed in the Christian life there are several wellsprings where Christ awaits us to enable us to drink of the Holy Spirit. The Word of God 2653 The Church “forcefully and specially exhorts all the Chris- tian faithful . . . to learn ‘the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ’ ( Phil 3:8) by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. . . . Let them remember, however, that prayer should accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture, so that a dialogue takes place between God and man. For ‘we speak to him when we pray; we listen to him when we read the divine oracles.’” 4 2654 The spiritual writers, paraphrasing Matthew 7:7, summa- rize in this way the dispositions of the heart nourished by the word of God in prayer: “Seek in reading and you will find in 1 DV 8. 2 Cf. DV 8. 3 Jn 4:14. 4 DV 25; cf. Phil 3:8; St. Ambrose, De officiis ministrorum 1, 20, 88: PL 16, 50. 75 94 694 133 1100