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492 • Part IV. Prayer: The Faith Prayed

ground of encounter with God. Unlike the busy-ness of mental life, the

heart is a zone of silence.

The heart is the environment where our most serious dedication

takes place. As the setting for meeting God, whether at liturgy or in

meditation, the heart is the place for enjoying our covenant with him.

It can be an awesome moment, as the author of the Book of Revelation

tells us: “I fell down at his feet as one dead” (Rev 1:17).

Understanding the heart as the source of prayer should also help

us realize how it affects our commitment to Christian teaching. If we

treat doctrine simply as an academic study, we will have a tendency

to miss its connection with our union with God. Jesus said, “I am the

truth” (Jn 14:6). He also said, “Whoever loves me will keep my word”

(Jn 14:23). Jesus never divorced his teaching from his person. The two

went together.

Likewise, doctrine and prayer go together. The heart is the

shrine of the Word and of Love. The heart links these gifts into one

satisfying unity.

This focus on our efforts need not distract us from the humble real-

ization that the prayer of the heart is prompted by the Holy Spirit. It is

he who presides over our study of doctrine and our life of prayer.We will

always find ourselves weaving between dependence on God and reliance

on ourselves. But ultimately we will find ourselves echoing the saints

who so often say, “All is grace.”


1. What is the link between belief and prayer? How do the teachings of

Christ and his Church enrich our prayer?

2. How do we develop our dependence and reliance upon God in a

world that promotes self-reliance?

3. What is the importance of the heart in prayer? How might one bal-

ance the intellectual and the intuitive approaches to God in prayer?

How could you help others be open to the prayer of the heart?