- Posted by Fr. Jeremiah Shryock, CFR
- On April 24, 2017
- 1 Comments
Danielle Knight attended the first Into the deep retreat in August 2016. She lives and works in Houston, TX.
Jesus longs for us. He is the lover and we are His beloved. For me, understanding, believing, and accepting this reality is at the heart of praying without words.
But how do we do this? It seems so simple but so complex at the same time.
My prayer over the years has evolved and has included many things. During this time the most significant fruit I have received is a growing awareness of God’s love for me. The best moments of my time in prayer now rests on a simple awareness and belief of His true and constant love. I can respond to that love in silence without words, because the peace and joy of being loved by God is enough, or it could be an expressive response in the form of words such as journaling, drawing, praising, conversing, etc.
Deep and intimate prayer, the kind where words are not necessary, arises when our desire for God meets God’s desire for us. We enter into a place where we know that He loves us and we in turn have fallen in love with Him. Being with Him fills us with peace, contentment and joy, so much so that words are not always necessary.
If someone were to ask me, how do I learn to pray without words, I must admit, I don’t exactly know how to answer? To me, it sounds something like, “How do I sit next to my friend without talking?” or “How do I dance with my significant other, gazing into their eyes, without saying anything?” We’d agree these don’t sound like difficult things. The same is true between us and God. It’s not that complicated. God loves us. He created us to love Him.
So what do we do?
Unfortunately, I don’t believe there’s one perfect method that can be applied to each one of us. God loves us personally and each one of us is unique. But I believe one good place we can start is desire. What do we want and what does God want? Jesus tells us in the Gospel, “If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.” (Mt 7:11). We can ask God to teach us to pray. If deep silent prayer, the kind where words aren’t needed, is what He wants for us, I believe He will grant us the grace for this in His own time, and in His own way. Asking how do we pray without words is like asking how do we love? If we learn to love and be loved, we will know how to pray without words.