The gift of prayer is often taken for granted. The access we have to the Father in Jesus Christ is often presumed as the status quo, but it’s a singular and unique inheritance. As fallen human beings, inclined to sin, we do not have a right to a relationship with the living God.

In Jesus Christ, the broken relationship we had with the Father was healed and reconciled. In Christ, we were restored the family of God. We now once again have an open relationship with God the Father. We are once again given passage to the Father. The gift of prayer is restored to us.

In his Paschal Mystery, the Lord Jesus returned humanity to the Father. The Lord’s human nature is always the path for us to follow. It is the way to salvation, holiness, and a sharing in God’s own glory. When the Lord Jesus re-established a life of prayer between ourselves and God the Father, therefore, he showed us what prayer is, what it’s supposed to be, and what prayer can accomplish in us if we cooperate with his grace.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains: “When Jesus openly entrusts to his disciples the mystery of prayer to the Father, he reveals to them what their prayer and ours must be, once he has returned to the Father in his glorified humanity.”

Since the Lord’s human nature is our path, the Lord taught us to pray in his name. We cannot know who we are or who God the Father is without the revelation and guidance of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God and our Older Brother. The Lord Jesus is the way.

The Catechism further teaches: “What is new is to ‘ask in [Jesus] name.’ Faith in the Son introduces the disciples into the knowledge of the Father, because Jesus is ‘the way, and the truth, and the life.’”

In entrusting prayer to us, the Lord calls us to faith. Faith in the Lord, however, must be manifested in faithful love, a love that is willing to serve selflessly. Prayer is not empty words, but the means and the nurturing of a filial relationship with God in Jesus Christ.

Without Jesus Christ, we can do nothing. We need his grace if we are to pray as the children of God.

Again the Catechism helps us: “Faith bears its fruit in love: it means keeping the word and the commandments of Jesus, it means abiding with him in the Father who, in him, so loves us that he abides with us.”

When we abide in Jesus Christ, we live in his love. When we abide with the Father in Jesus Christ, we know of his love for us. We know that we are members of his family by his own sacred covenant with us. In the new and everlasting covenant, we have a filial boldness in Jesus Christ. Our prayers have a power unknown to previous generations and to former times.

In Jesus Christ, we have a certainty that God cares for us and listens to us. We are his beloved sons and daughters. We have been chosen and adopted. We have been given an inheritance that abounds in countless spiritual gifts. Out task is to accept these gifts and actively exercise them by faith and love.

The Catechism explains: “In this new covenant the certitude that our petitions will be heard is founded on the prayer of Jesus.”

Since the Lord Jesus, meditator of the new and everlasting covenant, was a man of prayer, his prayer becomes the foundation and to source of all prayer within the covenant. The prayer of the Lord is the basis of our hope and our certitude that God is present to us and hears our prayers.

Such certitude gives us the strength to accept whatever answer God gives to our prayers. We can trust his providence, which is good and compassionate, when things do not go as we asked, or desired, or petitioned. We can have confidence that the answer that is given is the best answer and the one that best serves the working out of our salvation in Jesus Christ.

The prayer of the Lord Jesus was constant and sincere, and yet his life was not easy. Although filled with sufferings, the Lord’s life accomplished the greatest good in human history. In a shared way, our lives – however comfortable to difficult – are so designed to help us share in the redemption offered to us in Jesus Christ.