of the past, it still possesses such direct simplicity that it can be prayed in truth by men of all times and conditions. 2589 Certain constant characteristics appear throughout the Psalms: simplicity and spontaneity of prayer; the desire for God himself through and with all that is good in his creation; the distraught situation of the believer who, in his preferential love for the Lord, is exposed to a host of enemies and temptations, but who waits upon what the faithful God will do, in the certitude of his


love and in submission to his will. The prayer of the Psalms is

always sustained by praise; that is why the title of this collection as handed down to us is so fitting: ‘The Praises’. Collected for the assembly’s worship, the Psalter both sounds the call to prayer and sings the response to that call: Hallelu-Yah! (‘Alleluia’), ‘Praise the Lord!’ What is more pleasing than a psalm? David expresses it well: ‘Praise the Lord, for a psalm is good: let there be praise of our God with gladness and grace!’ Yes, a psalm is a blessing on the lips of the people, praise of God, the assembly’s homage, a general acclamation, a word that speaks for all, the voice of the Church, a confession of faith in song.4°


2590 ‘Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God’ (St John Damascene, Defide orth. 3, 24: PG 94, io89C). 2591 God tirelessly calls each person to this mysterious encounter with Himself. Prayer unfolds throughout the whole history of salvation as a reciprocal call between God and man.

2592 The prayer of Abraham and Jacob is presented as a battle of faith marked by trust in God’s faithfulness and by certitude in the victory promised to perseverance. 2593 The prayer of Moses responds to the living God’s initiative for the salvation of his people. Itforeshadows the prayer of intercession of the unique mediator, Christ Jesus. 2594 The prayer of the People of God flourished in the shadow of the dwelling place of God’s presence on earth, the ark of the covenant and the Temple, under the guidance of their shepherds, especially King David, and of the prophets.