We start today with the beginning of the story of my favorite patriarch, Abraham (at this point he’s Abram and later gets changed to Abraham). In the previous chapter Abraham leaves the city of Ur, in modern day Iraq, and travels to Haran. At the beginning of this chapter he is called by God to travel “to a land I will show you” and he leaves on a journey from Haran in what is now southern turkey to Canaan. Abraham walks by faith, quite literally, and travels to this new land, and very importantly he wasn’t promised the land until after he arrived in it. So it wasn’t like he was even traveling there to take possession of what was promised to him, he went on faith and then afterwards received that promise.
Not long after his arrival a famine hits the land and Abraham leaves to Egypt. This journey to Egypt is a prefigurement of the later exodus centuries later; Abraham flees a famine, is drove from Egypt because of a plague, and returns to Canaan with riches obtained in Egypt.
On his return he splits up with his nephew Lot, and we all know where his story is headed. The point here is that Lot leaves the land of promise because he’s allured by the sinful cities down in the valley. How often do we depart from God’s friendship by choosing the allure and glamor of sin when what we have with God is far better? Many storylines in the Old Testament should be read through this lens of familiarity, because it’s often like looking in a mirror.
Psalm 6 is David’s lament at an illness, but like most of his psalms in the depth of his despair he still believes that God will deliver him. Even in the darkest of psalms there’s often a hint of the hope for deliverance that will come.
Mathew 6 has some very powerful warnings against hypocrisy. There’s hardly anything else that Jesus calls out as much as hypocritical religious practices. These passages shouldn’t be read as a condemnation of public prayer or public worship, but if the goal of said prayer and worship isn’t directed at God and is an attempt to impress people with your religiosity then you are doing what Jesus condemned.
Jesus then teaches His disciples the perfect prayer, and the model for our own prayers. https://nowthatimcatholic.com/2018/02/20/the-perfect-prayer/
The catechism has these words to say about this model of prayer:
Jesus teaches us how to pray
2607 When Jesus prays he is already teaching us how to pray. His prayer to his Father is the theological path (the path of faith, hope, and charity) of our prayer to God. But the Gospel also gives us Jesus’ explicit teaching on prayer. Like a wise teacher he takes hold of us where we are and leads us progressively toward the Father. Addressing the crowds following him, Jesus builds on what they already know of prayer from the Old Covenant and opens to them the newness of the coming Kingdom. Then he reveals this newness to them in parables. Finally, he will speak openly of the Father and the Holy Spirit to his disciples who will be the teachers of prayer in his Church.
2608 From the Sermon on the Mount onwards, Jesus insists on conversion of heart: reconciliation with one’s brother before presenting an offering on the altar, love of enemies, and prayer for persecutors, prayer to the Father in secret, not heaping up empty phrases, prayerful forgiveness from the depths of the heart, purity of heart, and seeking the Kingdom before all else. This filial conversion is entirely directed to the Father.
2609 Once committed to conversion, the heart learns to pray in faith. Faith is a filial adherence to God beyond what we feel and understand. It is possible because the beloved Son gives us access to the Father. He can ask us to “seek” and to “knock,” since he himself is the door and the way.