Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Penitential Prayer

Luke is the gospel of prayer. This statement is often made. Luke does mention on a number of occasions that Jesus and his disciples observed the customary times of prayer. The fact that there are specific times for prayers indicates there may have been a movement toward institutionalization. The ninth hour, mentioned by Luke, may have been an established or prescribed time. The prayers in Daniel 9, Nehemiah 9, Baruch 1:15-3:8 and 4Q504 are connected to specific prayer times, either festivals or daily times of prayer.

In his dedication speech for the newly finished Temple in Jerusalem, King Solomon announces that this Temple, this central place of the presence of God, is to serve primarily as a place of prayer. In Isaiah 56:7, we read: “for my house shall be called a house of prayer.”

It seems to me that it would be helpful to discuss the biblical development of penitential prayer with the hope I can better understand the origin of Luke’s theology of prayer. I do so recognizing that it is a difficult and formidable undertaking.

Copyrighted 2006


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