Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Monday, September 01, 2008

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.”

Two years ago I discussed the penitential prayer but did not derive any good ideas on the origin of Luke’s theology of prayer. I thought I would try again.

Judith Newman introduces Praying by the Book, The Scripturalization of Prayer in Second Temple Judaism with her “observation that the literature of the exile and post-exilic period reflects a great interest in prayer.” “Long prayers appear in Ezra-Nehemiah, the books of Daniel, Judith, and Tobit, as well as pseudepigraphical works like Jubilees and Pseudo-Philo.” Luke has clearly made use of Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel and Jubilees.

Copyrighted 2008


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