Prayer in the Catechism of the Catholic Church #6

February 11, 1996
Brother John Raymond

	Having considered Moses who was a friend of God and a great
 intercessor, we now turn to King David, mentioned in the Catechism
 as a good pray-er. "David is par excellence the king 'after God's
 own heart. His submission to the will of God, his praise and his
 repentance will be a model for the prayer of the people.'" (#2579)
	Now I believe for many people the mention of David's name brings
 to mind the story of his defeat of the warrior-giant Goliath. (1
 Sam. 17,1ff) Just from this episode alone we see the great faith,
 trust and zeal David had for God even from his youth.
	There are various examples of David's intimate
 prayer-relationship with God. One of them can be found after King
 Saul's death. We are told that "David inquired of the Lord, 'Shall I
 go up into any of the cities of Judah?' And the Lord said to him,
 'Go up.' David said, 'To which shall I go up?' And He said, 'To
 Hebron.' So David went up there." (1 Sam. 2:1-2) Notice how David
 consults God before taking any action. Further, when God tells him
 what to do he does it.
	After David is anointed king, "His prayer, the prayer of God's
 anointed, is a faithful adherence to the divine promise and
 expresses a loving and joyful trust in God." (#2579) David's joy in
 God can be witnessed in the great festivities that took place,
 including his dancing in front of the Ark of the Covenant, when it
 was being transferred to the city of David. (2 Sam. 6,1ff) So
 unusual was his behavior for a king that his wife Michal expresses
 her displeasure. (2 Sam. 6,20) But David sees no problem in his
 behavior considering all that God had done for him. (2 Sam. 6,21)
	David did not maintain his fidelity to God when king, however. He
 went from adultery to murder. (2 Sam. 11,1ff) But when God confronts
 David, through Nathan the prophet, over his infidelity he at once
 repents. (2 Sam. 12,1ff) So deep is David's repentance that he
 allows a man to curse him, throw stones and dirt at him. He does
 this saying, "It may be that the Lord will look upon my affliction
 and that the Lord will repay me with good for this cursing of me
 today. (2 Sam. 16, 5-14) But David's sins still have their
 consequences, one being that discord rips through his family. One
 member kills another and his own sons try to usurp his reign. When
 he flees from his own son Absalom David goes up "the Mount of
 Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered." (2
 Sam. 15,30) Jesus chose this mount for His agony before His Passion.
 In this sorrow we see David with a certain prophetic mission, as a
 "type" of the Christ to come. Further, "In the Psalms David,
 inspired by the Holy Spirit, is the first prophet of Jewish and
 Christian prayer." (#2579) The Psalms mark the greatest legacy David
 has left us of his prayer life. These Psalms were an important
 element of Old Testament Liturgy and continue to be used by the
 Church is Her Liturgy. They also are a rich source of prophecy
 concerning the Messiah. Jesus from the Cross utters the first line
 of one of these Psalms, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?"
	David is certainly an important figure for both the Old and New
 Testament. Perhaps we can spend some time reading and meditating on
 his life as found in 1 & 2 Samuel in our Bible. We can certainly
 learn much from him about the life of prayer.