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Rome Reports

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General Audience: Pope begins a new series of catechesis on prayer

The new series of catecheses which we begin today are devoted to prayer and, in particular, the prayer proper to Christians. Christians prayer is grounded in the girt of new life brought by Christ; it is an "art" in which Christ, the Son of God, is our supreme teacher. At the same time, prayer is a part of the human experience, as we see from the ancient cultures of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome. There we find eloquent expressions of a desire to see God, to experience his mercy and forgiveness, to grow in virtue and to experience divine help in all that we do. In these cultures there is also recognition that prayer opens man to a deeper understanding of our dependence on God and life?s ultimate meaning. The pagan religions, however, remain a plea for divine help, an expression of that profound human yearning for God which finds its highest expression and fulfilment in the Old and New Testaments. Divine revelation, in fact, purifies and fulfils man?s innate desire for God and offers us, through prayer, the possibility of a deeper relationship with our heavenly Father. With the disciples, then, let us ask the Lord: "Teach us to pray".