Today’s Catechism sections discuss prayer of petition. Supporting material comes from St. Augustine’s “Exposition on Psalm 62”.

II. Prayer of Petition

2629 The vocabulary of supplication in the New Testament is rich in shades of meaning: ask, beseech, plead, invoke, entreat, cry out, even "struggle in prayer."102 Its most usual form, because the most spontaneous, is petition: by prayer of petition we express awareness of our relationship with God. We are creatures who are not our own beginning, not the masters of adversity, not our own last end. We are sinners who as Christians know that we have turned away from our Father. Our petition is already a turning back to him.

2630 The New Testament contains scarcely any prayers of lamentation, so frequent in the Old Testament. In the risen Christ the Church's petition is buoyed by hope, even if we still wait in a state of expectation and must be converted anew every day. Christian petition, what St. Paul calls {"groaning," arises from another depth, that of creation "in labor pains" and that of ourselves "as we wait for the redemption of our bodies.
For in this hope we were saved."103 In the end, however, "with sighs too deep for words" the Holy Spirit "helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words."104

2631 The first movement of the prayer of petition is asking forgiveness, like the tax collector in the parable: "God, be merciful to me a sinner!"105 It is a prerequisite for righteous and pure prayer. A trusting humility brings us back into the light of communion between the Father and his Son Jesus Christ and with one another, so that "we receive from him whatever we ask."106 Asking forgiveness is the prerequisite for both the Eucharistic liturgy and personal prayer.

2632 Christian petition is centered on the desire and search for the Kingdom to come, in keeping with the teaching of Christ.107 There is a hierarchy in these petitions: we pray first for the Kingdom, then for what is necessary to welcome it and cooperate with its coming. This collaboration with the mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit, which is now that of the Church, is the object of the prayer of the apostolic community.108 It is the prayer of Paul, the apostle par excellence, which reveals to us how the divine solicitude for all the churches ought to inspire Christian prayer.109 By prayer every baptized person works for the coming of the Kingdom.

2633 When we share in God's saving love, we understand that every need can become the object of petition. Christ, who assumed all things in order to redeem all things, is glorified by what we ask the Father in his name.110 It is with this confidence that St. James and St. Paul exhort us to pray at all times.111


2646 Forgiveness, the quest for the Kingdom, and every true need are objects of the prayer of petition.

St. Augustine discusses the prayer of repentance in his “Exposition on Psalm 62”.

15. That thirst of the Church, would fain drink up that man also whom you see. At the same time also, in order that you may know how many in the mixed multitude of Christians with their mouth do bless, and in their heart curse, this man having been a Christian and a believer returns as a penitent, and being terrified by the power of the Lord, turns him to the mercy of the Lord. For having been led astray by the enemy when he was a believer, long time he has been an astrologer, led astray, leading astray, deceived, deceiving, he has allured, has beguiled, many lies he has spoken against God, That has given to men power of doing that which is good, and of not doing that which is evil. He used to say, that one's own will did not adultery, but Venus; one's own will did not manslaying, but Mars; and God did not what is just, but Jupiter; and many other blasphemous things, and not light ones. From how many Christians do ye think he has pocketed money? How many from him have bought a lie, to whom we used to say, Sons of men, how long are you dull of heart, wherefore love ye vanity, and seek a lie? Now, as of him must be believed, he has shuddered at his lie, and being the allurer of many men, he has perceived at length that by the devil he has himself been allured, and he turns to God a penitent. We think, brethren, that because of great fear of heart it has come to pass. For what must we say? If out of a heathen an astrologer were converted, great indeed would be the joy: but nevertheless it might appear, that, if he had been converted, he was desiring the clerical office in the Church. A penitent he is, he seeks not anything save mercy alone. He must be recommended therefore both to your eyes and hearts. Him whom you see in hearts love ye, with eyes guard ye. See ye him, mark ye him, and wherever he shall have gone his way, to the rest of the brethren that now are not here, point him out: and such diligence is mercy; lest that leader astray drag back his heart and take it by storm. Guard ye him, let there not escape you his conversation, his way: in order that by your testimony it may be proved to us that truly to the Lord he has been turned. For report will not be silent about his life, when to you he is thus presented both to be seen and to be pitied. You know in the Acts of the Apostles how it is written, that many lost men, that is, men of such arts, and followers of naughty doctrines, brought unto the Apostles all their books; and there were burned so many volumes, that it was the writer's task to make a valuation of them, and write down the sum of the price. Acts 19:19 This truly was for the glory of God, in order that even such lost men might not be despaired of by Him that knew how to seek that which had been lost. Therefore this man had been lost, is now sought, found, Luke 15:32 led hither, he brings with him books to be burned, by which he had been to be burned, so that when these have been thrown into the fire, he may himself pass over into a place of refreshment. Know ye that he, brethren, once knocked at the Church door before Easter: for before Easter he began to ask of the Church Christ's medicine. But because the art wherein he had been practised is of such sort as that it was suspected of lying and deceit, he was put off that he might not tempt; at length however he was admitted, that he might not more dangerously be tempted. Pray for him through Christ. Straightway today's prayer pour out for him to the Lord our God. For we know and are sure, that your prayer effaces all his impieties. The Lord be with you.


101 Cf. St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 62,16: PL 36, 757-758.
102 Cf. ⇒ Rom 15:30; ⇒ Col 4:12.
103 ⇒ Rom 8:22-24.
104 ⇒ Rom 8:26.
105 ⇒ Lk 18:13.
106 ⇒ 1 Jn 3:22; cf. ⇒ 1:7- ⇒ 2:2.
107 Cf. ⇒ Mt 6:10, ⇒ 33; ⇒ Lk 11:2, ⇒ 13.
108 Cf. ⇒ Acts 6:6; ⇒ 13:3.
109 Cf. ⇒ Rom 10:1; ⇒ Eph 1:16-23; Phil 1911; ⇒ Col 1:3-6; ⇒ 4:3-4, ⇒ 12.
110 Cf. ⇒ Jn 14:13.
111 Cf. ⇒ Jas 1:5-8; ⇒ Eph 5:20; ⇒ Phil 4:6-7; ⇒ Col 3:16-17;  ⇒ 1 Thess 5:17-18.