and undivided; Noah, like Enoch before him, ‘walks with God’.6 This kind of prayer is lived by many righteous people in all religions. In his indefectible covenant with every living creature,7 God has always called people to prayer. But it is above all beginning with our father Abraham that prayer is revealed in the Old ~ Testament.

God’s promise and the prayer of faith

2570 When God calls him, Abraham goes forth ‘as the Lord had told him’;8 Abraham’s heart is entirely submissive to the Word and 145 so he obeys. Such attentiveness of the heart, whose decisions are made according to God’s will, is essential to prayer, while the words used count only in relation to it. Abraham’s prayer is expressed first by deeds: a man of silence, he constructs an altar to the Lord at each stage of his journey. Only later does Abraham’s first prayer in words appear: a veiled complaint reminding God of his promises which seem unfulfilled.9 Thus one aspect of the drama of prayer appears from the beginning: the test of faith in the fidelity of God. 2571 Because Abraham believed in God and walked in his presence and in covenant with him,’° the patriarch is ready to wel— come a mysterious Guest into his tent. Abraham’s remarkable hospitality at Mamre foreshadows the annunciation of the true 494 Son of the promise.’1 After that, once God has confided his plan, Abraham’s heart is attuned to his Lord’s compassion for men and he dares to intercede for them with bold confidence.’2 2635

2572 As a final stage in the purification of his faith, Abraham, ‘who had received the promises’,’3 is asked to sacrifice the son God had given him. Abraham’s faith does not weaken (‘God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering’), for he ‘considered that God was able to raise men even from the dead.”4 And so the father of believers is conformed to the likeness of the Father who will not 603 spare his own Son but will deliver him up for us all.’5 Prayer restores man to God’s likeness and enables him to share in the ower of God’s love that saves the multitude.’6