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
Likewise, doctrine and prayer go together. The heart is the
shrine of the Word and of Love. The heart links these gifts into one
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?