Article

Prayer

Brian Davies

in The Oxford Handbook of Aquinas

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780195326093
Published online May 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195326093.013.0036

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Prayer

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The article focuses on Aquinas's view on prayer. Aquinas had an understanding of God according to which everything created is at all times made to be what it is by God. Aquinas thought that God's omni-causality does not act as a rival to the causality of creatures, since it actually empowers it or makes it to exist. He thought that prayer is an expression of trust in God and an act of religion. He argued that the purpose of religion is offering reverence and honor to God through the prayers. Aquinas also insisted that prayer is an act of charity. He was clear that prayer should be directed to union with God and should be offered by human beings as seeking to achieve this. Aquinas held that human beings can specify what they want in their prayers such as particular temporal things, forgiveness of specific sins, or the well-being of their neighbors. Aquinas avoided high-minded generalities and he did not suggest that one should only vaguely ask for what is good. Aquinas argued that it is lawful to pray for what it is lawful to desire.

Keywords: prayer; God's omni-causality; Christian practice; mental prayer

Article.  4399 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Religion

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