We must pray with the heart!
September 22, 2023
Dear Family of Mary!
In Chapter 4, Father Shamon tells us “You must pray with your heart…”
Fr. Shamon wrote:
You must pray with the heart!
To pray well, prayer needs a proper setting. Soi many do not progress in prayer, because they never get ready to pray.
Athletes limber up before a game. Opera stars vocalize before a performance. Pray-ers need to prepare for prayer.
The first prop needed for prayer is a proper atmosphere: silence. How can on dialogue in a noise room or in a tumult? That is why Our Lady suggested we have a prayer corner in our home or a prayer room. When milk stands still, the cream rises to the top; when we are still, we are in the best position possible for the “cream” – to hear God speaking. Silence is simply the stilling of one voice to hear another.
You can sit or kneel, which ever suits you better. If your body is at rest and your muscles relaxed, you will have one less distraction in prayer.
Your heart, too, has to be at rest to pray. That is why Our Lady urges us to get rid of sins by confession and to dump worries through abandoning ourselves to God. We must be unhampered and unhindered by sins and worries when we pray. We must clear the decks, so to speak, when we engage in the action of prayer.
One caution: when you pray, pray slowly, not hastily. Pray like a child secure in its mother’s arms.
Once Fr. Vlasic asked Our Lady through Jelena: “Dear Mother, how was Jesus able to pray all night?”
Our Lady replied: “He had a great desire for God the Father and the salvation of souls.”
That is one key to prayer: desire! Do you want to pray? How strong is your wanting? Do you desire to meet God, to experience Him, as a hungry man desires food or a thirsting man drink? The strength of your desires will determine whether or not you will pray, how often you will pray, and how well you will pray. We might even define prayer as the expression of desire.
How can one best learn to pray?
There is no best way to learn. Just be yourself! Prayer cannot be learned by techniques, but only by praying. You learn to pray by praying. Isn’t this true of other skills? You learn to type by typing. To play an instrument, by playing it often. To speak a foreign language by speaking it. We learn to pray well by praying and praying often!
However, Our Lady did describe a best way to pray. She said: “Pray from your heart!” Again and again she asked for this kind of prayer. “Dear children…I invite you to prayer of the heart and not only by habit…”(5/2/85). “I am calling you again to prayer of the heart…” (5/30//85). Dear children, I invite you again to prayer of the heart…” (1/23/86) “I am calling you, dear children, to pray with your heart” (4/25/87). And so she pleads again and again.
What is Our Lady asking for? It is simply that our prayers be heartfelt. That we really mean them. It is the difference between “saying prayers-words, words, words; and “Praying -meaning what we say. The difference between lip-service and worship in spirit and in truth. Once when Jelena recited the rosary with Our Lady, she prayed it “as she was taught it in church.” Our Lady said; “This is not the rosary. You prayed only with your lips. You must concentrate. You must sit down without moving and enter inside.”
Our Lady further explained heart-prayer this way. She said in effect, “Don’t just stand before me or beside me. Take me into your hearts.”
Consider, for instance, Shakespeare’s great lovers, Romeo and Juliet. Just suppose I were standing right next to Juliet, I would not be so close to her as her Romeo, because, even if he were miles away, he would be closer, for he would be in her heart! So, Mary asks us not just to kneel before a statue, but to have her in our hearts. Unless love for the Madonna prompts us to pray and unless prayer is the expression of that love, then our prayer is but words: it comes not from the heart, but from a sense of duty.
Such prayer draws no one closer to God, nor deepens one’s love for Him. Unless prayer reaches the heart, it leaves on untouched. Our Lord warned against this kind of praying: “Unless your holiness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees you shall not enter the kingdom of God.” (Mt. 5:20)
A surgeon absorbed in his work sent his wife to a psychiatrist, because she was becoming hyper, tense, nervous. After examining her, the psychiatrist called the surgeon to explain what was wrong with his wife. It was very simple. “You don’t have any time for her,” the psychiatrist said. “She feels rejected, unwanted, frustrated. So I want you to set aside some time for her each week, to be with her. God to dinner and a movie together, or something else like that- but be with her.!”
Well the surgeon did just that. He gave his wife more time, went to dinner with her, then to a movie; but still there was no change in her. She did not get better.
The psychiatrist called the surgeon again. “You misunderstood me,” he said to the surgeon. “I did not tell you just to take your wife to dinner and a show every week. It isn’t the dinner or the show that she wants; she wants you. What is meant was that you must show your love for her by taking time for her, to be with her. You must enter into her life and let her enter into yours. Show her you really do care for her. Then she will get well.”
This time the surgeon got the message. He began loving his wife, taking her into his heart. And when he did, there was not further need for a psychiatrist.
Similarly, with prayer. It must be more than a duty or habit for you. It must be an encounter of love. It must come from your heart, be heartfelt- a dialogue between lovers.
Fr. Albert Shamon, “Our Lady teaches about prayer at Medjugorje.” p. 19-23!
I think this chapter is one of the most challenging for me. It will take some time to reach the point of prayer with the heart. But it is not impossible!!
Our Lady told us:
July 25, 1997 “Dear children! Today I invite you to respond to my call to prayer. I desire, dear children, that during this time you find a corner for personal prayer. I desire to lead you towards prayer with the heart. Only in this way will you comprehend that your life is empty without prayer. You will discover the meaning of your life when you discover God in prayer. That is why, little children, open the door of your heart and you will comprehend that prayer is joy without which you cannot live. Thank you for having responded to my call.”
Amen! Show us the way, dearest Mother!
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
(c) Mary TV 2023