Marie Pauliat

Comparing Mt 6,7-8 with Mt 7,7 and Lc 18,1. Augustine of Hippo’s Sermo 80 on Prayer in the Patristic Tradition

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In his Sermo 80, commenting on a text probably related to an old African Latin text, Augustine of Hippo raises two questions: why pray if God knows what is necessary for man (Mt 6,8), how to pray in few words (Mt 6,7) when one must ask, seek and strike (Mt 7,7), and pray ceaselessly (Lk 18,1). The solution of these questions, the second of which is a priori unique in the patristic tradition, is part of a well-established tradition: prayer aims not to inform God, but to transform the praying person; the recommendation in Mt 6,7 would thus be qualitative (asking for spiritual goods), not quantitative.


  • Augustine of Hippo
  • Preaching
  • Patristic Exegesis


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