Monday, July 23, 2012

The Language of Heaven

There's nothing sweeter than listening to the babbling of a baby. A bit later, we smile and encourage their attempts to speak. Even though their words at first are not clear and sound a bit like nonsense to our ears we nonetheless praise them, understanding that human language takes time to learn. Eventually their words become clearer and clearer and soon words turn into sentences.

Next comes the terrible twos. Every third word seems to be "no" and we often say, "You need to listen and obey Mommy and Daddy, sweetheart." We know what's best for them and seek to protect them from danger and to teach them that listening and obeying are important to their safety.

So it is with prayer. Most of us begin our prayer lives with endless babbling to the Lord. No doubt He is proud of these early attempts to communicate with Him and like a proud parent, even encourages it.  As we grow in Christ our words become clearer but we are still very wordy and the conversation tends to be a bit one-sided at best. Like toddlers, we have learned to speak but have not learned to listen as of yet. Still, God seems to like the sound of our voices and seems pleased with our prayers. We are filled with consolations of every kind and blessed abundantly.

And then comes the silence. With our tendency toward verbosity this silence terrifies us. What did we do wrong? Why does it feel as if God no longer hears our prayers? Where is the leaping of the spirit we have come to expect during prayer?

During this time God is teaching us to simplify our prayer, to pray with our hearts and not just our mouths and minds. He is also teaching us to listen. Listening and obeying are two of the most important part of prayer. God speaks to every heart but it is hard to hear the sound of his voice if we don't shut up from time to time. Between the noise of the world and our own inner "yak, yak, yakking" sometimes His voice is drowned out by the cacophony of  interior wordiness, sometimes by the shouting of the world that surrounds us.

We know by faith that God knows all souls intimately. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Certainly, He hears the whisper of a silent heart that beats like a drum for Him. Our prayer is taken over by His words rather than our own for His thoughts are far above our own.

 The Heart of God gathers the hearts of men into Himself  and when we accept this "gathering" our hearts begin to beat in unison with His. 


  1. Great post Mary. I also believe and it is stated in the Bible to go "bodly" to God in prayer. Apparently He appreciates bold prayers from us. Amen!

  2. In silence we learn what to pray for, too. Thanks, Mary. I'm going to try to bask in silence today --after I bloghop, of course (cause God speaks to me there, too)

  3. Hi Grace,
    Boldly meaning with great trust. It's the complete surrender He is looking for. I still need work in this area. God says to me "cease your useless inner striving". He means the areas where I interfere with His work. I do this and I know I do this. My desires and His desires for me don't always line up, unfortunately.

    Still, I know what He wants for me is far greater than I want for myself. I guess we are always learning, right? We are works in progress!


  4. Hi Anabelle,
    Yes, that too :)

    I don't do well without "quiet time". It makes my spirit restless and I need it every day.

    God bless!

  5. I think I've reached the stage that when I pray God says:

    "Oh God (that's Me) not Victor again. Pass Me the headaches tablets someone before he starts!"

    I can almost see Him putting a pillow over His head and hiding below the bed covers.

    I mean ... I'm only making suggestions as to how things could be better down here on earth.

    May He bless you and listen to you better than He does me.

  6. "...when we accept this gathering, our hearts begin to beat in unison with His." I think this is when we learn to be quiet, when we realize and accept that we are in Him~no longer need for babbling.
    I am reading St Teresa's The Way of Perfection and while this was written for her nuns, there is so much the lay person can take from her writings on prayer in all its forms.
    Thanks for another excellent post, Mary.

  7. Hi Victor,
    Lol...yeah, we all do this I think :)
    Maybe it's a good thing He ignores some of our requests - we are like backseat drivers always thinking we know the right direction. Let's face it, sometimes God's ways make no sense to us (but it does to Him)! Good thing He leads us despite ourselves ;)

  8. Hi Karin,
    Funny you should say that because I was thinking of the passage "In Him we live and move and have our being" so many times yesterday.

    St Teresa definitely knew her stuff! I just wish I had heeded her good advice years ago during my six months of sainthood ;)Prayer is an area where the saints excelled and we can learn a lot from them.

  9. You're welcome, Nancy :) I was reminded of your post on only seeing small pieces of the puzzle when I was commenting to Victor. I loved that post.

    God bless.

  10. Hi Anne,
    Thank you :) I hope you and your family are well! Do you remember which month in your archives you wrote about the formal Enthronement of The Sacred Heart in your home?

    I'll e-mail you this week about it, if you don't see this comment.

    God bless!