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Jesus’ fundamental teachings on prayer

Jesus Sermon on the mount
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Reconciling with others before praying, being bold, and not using empty phrases make a world of difference.

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Among the most important of all of Jesus’ teachings we find his approach to prayer, and his intimate understanding of it. In the Gospels, we find Jesus not only teaching his disciples how to pray but, most importantly, giving clear guidelines on what prayer is, often describing it as a personal relationship not only with God, but also with other human beings, and with Creation as a whole. The Gospels are full passages regarding personal and communitarian prayer that ultimately call for a re-evaluation of one’s own prayer life. Here are five fundamental lessons on prayer, taken straight from the Gospels, that anyone can start practicing today.

Pray without a desire to be seen

And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:5-6)

Reconcile with others before praying

[I]f you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24)

Pray before making any important decisions

In these days he went out into the hills to pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called his disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles. (Luke 6:12-13)

Do not pray with empty phrases

And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. (Matthew 6:7)

Be bold and believe God will answer your prayer

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will. (Mark 11:24)

Make sure to visit the slideshow below to learn what 20 Catholic saints have said about prayer. 

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