Scrolling through social media I recently came across a video of babies who were born deaf and being fitted with implants. Words can’t adequately express the look of pure delight on the faces of these children when their ears were opened to the sound of their parent’s voices for the first time.

If, like these children, we can delight so joyfully in the voices of those God has gifted to us, imagine our delight in hearing the voice of our Heavenly Father. Throughout Scripture we are taught that God delights in us in just this way. Not only does He delight in us, but He considers us “gifts to Him”. “Father, they are your gifts to me”. (John 17:24)

It seems that this reminder of how precious we are to God is a good place to begin when considering prayer.

While these young children  had never heard the voices of their mothers or fathers, they knew them in their hearts.  Similarly, the Catechism teaches us that “Prayer is a remembrance of God often awakened by the memory of the Heart”. (CCC 2697) Therefore, prayer is nothing other than seeking God with your heart and there is no official “right” or “wrong” way to do that. In fact, prayer can be as easy as keeping a conversation going with God all throughout the day.

We’re taught that “the habitual difficulty in prayer is distraction”. (CCC 2729) Jesus surely knew this, too, because he often went off in solitude to pray. If  knowing how to pray troubles you, or you want to strengthen your prayer life, a good place to start is following Jesus’s example to seek moments of solitude.

I regret that I have forgotten and therefore can’t acknowledge the person who gave me the following good advice: “before you drift off to sleep, let the last thought on your heart be God”. That alone is prayer. Nothing profound, no eloquent words, just a recognition and a calling on God from the heart.

There’s no doubt we live in a society that values productivity and efficiency making it easy to conclude that “going off to find solitude” is most often out of the question. But solitude is not so much a place, but a “state of mind”. Finding solitude can be as quick as looking out the window of your home or office and making the sign of the cross in remembrance and love for the Trinity. It can be a simple thank you to God for the warm water in your sink, the pillow under your head, the spouse by your side or the ears that hear the voices of those you love. “How can the Holy Spirit be our life if our heart is far from Him?” (CCC 2744)

When it comes to prayer it never hurts to be reminded of the forces that work against us. The devil can trick us into believing that we can’t pray properly or that our words are “not good enough”. This same force often compels us to believe we are too busy to pray, adding distractions and complications to interrupt us from delighting in our Father’s voice.

“My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow Me”. (John 10:27)  During this Year of Discipleship, may we increase our moments of solitude in order to recognize and hear His voice.  Prayer strengthens our faith, keeps us in relationship, and allows us to delight in the God who delights in us.

With Love,