Prayer Becoming Our Heartbeat


But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. (Mt 6:6)

Often, we associate prayer with gathering together in worship. We come to church for the Liturgy or for another sacrament and we pray together. Finding support in worship and prayer is important because collectively we feel more secure and stronger in prayer. We have the words there of prayer for us in the services. This is important for the community as a whole and for us as individuals.

However, prayer is not only communal and it is not only words, it is also private, as we hear in the gospel of Matthew. The call to, “go into your room”, sets the stage for personal prayer and developing a deeper personal relationship with God. Jesus tells us this and then provides us with the beautiful words of the ‘Lord’s Prayer’.

With these words we find ourselves at the starting point of prayer and the development of our relationship with God. Prayer is that conversation we have with God and that conversation, if truly personal, cannot be confined to written prayer. We must listen to God’s response and to do that we need to prepare our hearts to receive His direction.

In essence, prayer is not just speaking or saying words, but it is the means by which we prepare our hearts to receive His message, to become more intimate and personal in our relationship with Christ. Prayer is not just words, it is the softening of our hearts and allowing the words of Christ, the will of God, to become our heartbeat.

Let’s be honest. We often fumble with our words and try to make our prayer sound like we are in church. What Christ desires in our prayer, is that we open our hearts to him without speaking a word. When our hearts are open to Christ the grace of the Holy Spirit will give us the words. Until that time comes, and it may take a lifetime, follow the direction of Jesus and ‘go into your room’ without distractions and use His words in the Lord’s Prayer. With this prayer our hearts will be nourished into the good soil to receive Christ.