By Beth Lema
“For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love; embracing both reality and joy”. St. Therese of Lisieux
These very words made me wonder just what a pray filled heart, or as St. Therese said, “a surge of the heart,” meant to me. This past winter and Lent were times of prayer-filled reflection for me personally. It was a time as St. Therese said, a surge of the heart.
Going into 2022, I had high expectations that it would be a better, healthier year, but to my surprise, God had other plans for me. An unexpected illness that required a longer recovery time surfaced and I faced another quarantine of sorts. God was drawing me in during this time. This was a time of intimate conversation with God. Lent had not begun yet, but it certainly felt like it had. I drew on these words of St. Therese and began reflecting on them. I took the time to sit with and imagine my heart resting in God’s Hands. God’s strong, firm, hand gently supporting my beating heart, and I imagined that my prayers were the sound of the beats. Sometimes fast and sometimes slow, strong and in rhythm as my prayers were connecting to God’s love… I felt that God was listening intently to me through this intimate connection. There were no pretenses, no agenda, no pre-conceived ideas of what the conversation would be. That is not to say that what I may be struggling with deep within did not surface in the dialogue. But I knew I must be open to what the dialogue will stir within me. Divine dialogue is a gift that is to be treasured, freely given and filled with unconditional love. God nourished me during that time. My heart was indeed surging in prayer as my recovery was progressing. Truly Lent was upon me now in a totally different way.
I believe we all have come to understand that prayer is the breath of Christ breathed into our heart by the Holy Spirit, and that words are but a small part of real prayer. The prayer that the Spirit breaths into one’s heart is too great for words. “It’s with groaning’s which cannot be uttered”. (Romans 8:26-27)
Just as I was called to experience this intimate conversation with God, each of you are called too. It’s not about the liturgical time of the year when we should feel the need to dialogue with God. God is always present just waiting for us to open our hearts to Him. God is right here just waiting to warp His arms around each of you to listen to you and to love you unconditionally. Taking the time to find the silence within is tapping into the root of our prayer lives. It prepares us to receive the gift of God’s presence in our hearts. Yes… it is a surge of our hearts, so to speak, of Gods’ unconditional love for me and you. As brothers and sisters in Christ we share this great gift.
A praying heart will accomplish more for God with ten words than would a prayer of a thousand words which is less from the heart. So, praying hearts must be specially yielded to the praying Lord and be the highest and most Christ-like expression of our faith. For our love for God is a real life’s ministry of prayer; indeed a surge of the heart….A praying heart.