Minute Meditations

Prayer Changes Our Hearts

“The Bible says that Moses spoke to the Lord face-to-face, like a friend, and this is how prayer must be: free, insistent, with arguments, even reproving the Lord a little: ‘But you promised me this and you didn’t do it!’ Prayer is like speaking with a friend: in prayer one opens one’s heart. Following his face-to-face with God, Moses went down the mountain reinvigorated, saying, ‘I got to know the Lord better.’ And that strength allowed him to resume his work of leading the people to the Promised Land.”—Pope Francis

During Lent, most of us decide to pray more. We begin the season with a fresh new plan for improving our prayer lives. We might decide we’re going to say the rosary every day or pray the Liturgy of the Hours. We might plan to go to daily Mass more often. We find a new prayer book and commit to using it at a set time during the day. These are all worthy goals, but as we come to the end of the fourth week of Lent, we have to admit that our intentions are often defeated by our inertia or simply by the day-to-day realities of life. Pope Francis reminds us that prayer is not about us and the things we do, it’s about our relationship with God. He describes for us a very vivid image of talking to God as we would talk to a friend, a lover, a trusted confidante, a caring parent. He reminds us not to keep God at a distance, not to behave as though God doesn’t know our innermost thoughts and feelings. Too often our prayer is what we think God wants to hear. And sometimes we do that to keep ourselves detached from our deepest needs as well. Sometimes it takes talking to a close friend to discover what’s really bothering us. Pope Francis reminds us that God can be that close friend, as he was to Moses, to Abraham, to Noah, to Jesus, to all the saints through the ages. 

Set aside your formal prayers today and bring before God the deepest desires and fears that you hold close in your heart. Talk to God the way you would talk to your closest friend. And then take time to sit in silence with God. Let yourself be held in God’s love, listening to the divine heartbeat in the world around you and in the depths of your own heart.

— from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis

by Diane M. Houdek

The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis


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