The Hidden Beauty of Silent Prayer

July 24, 2019 | Fr. Claude Lombardo, MC

In the first book of Kings we read how the prophet Elijah went to the mountain to encounter the Lord. There he could perceive a strong and violent wind, but the Lord was not there. Then, an earthquake, but the Lord was not there. After that, there was a fire, but the Lord was not there either. Finally, the prophet could hear a light silent sound, and there he could find the presence of the Lord (1 Kings 19:11-13).

God can communicate with His creatures in many ways. We can often understand His Will in circumstances, through the advice of a priest, in the good example of a friend, by reading an inspiring book, and so forth. However, the most common way to listen to the voice of the Lord is in silent prayer, which is also called “meditation”. That is the means He most prefers to reach out to us.

The language of God is a mysterious silent language. To be able to understand it we have to learn it, as we do with any other language in the world. If I don’t know Chinese, for example, I won’t be able to comprehend a person who speaks that language. It is crucial for us to learn the way in which the Lord speaks to us! How can we do that?

It is much easier than we can imagine. Since God eagerly wants to communicate with us—moreover, the Holy Spirit is always surrounding us with His inspirations—it is enough to allow Him to do His work in us. In the book of Revelation we read: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me” (3:20). If we open the door of our heart to Him, we will enjoy His friendship!

Try it and you will see! Find the appropriate place and time. Set apart fifteen minutes or so from your busy and noisy day, and with a strong act of faith, tell Him that you are available just for Him. Grab the Scripture or a spiritual book—there are many such books with abundant ideas for meditation—and read slowly trying to find what the Lord wants to tell you. Reflect on that quietly. Then move your heart, and with your own words speak to the One who loves you more than anyone. Be open to Him. Be yourself. Tell Him about your fears, worries, hopes, and desires. Tell him that you would like to be better, to love Him more. Just follow what the Holy Spirit inspires in you at that moment.

In silent prayer, do not expect an audible answer. But be sure that while you are in silence trying to communicate with God, He will be transforming you and helping you, without you even realizing it.

It is impossible to relate to a person without communication. I cannot have a friend that I do not speak with. The Lord is a living Person and He wants to be our closest friend. Let us try with all our strength to learn His language of silence. With faith, patience and perseverance, God will not deny us the grace to experience the hidden beauty of silent prayer.