“O Lord hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.” – Ps. 102:2

The practice of contemplative prayer is the discipline by which we begin to see God in our heart. It is a careful attentiveness to him who dwells in the center of our beings [and] through the recognition of his presence we allow him to take possession of all our senses. Through the discipline of prayer, we awaken ourselves to the God in us and let him enter into our heartbeat and our breathing, into our thoughts and emotions, our hearing, seeing, touching, and tasting. It is by being awake to this God in us that we can see him in the world around us.

The great mystery of the contemplative life is not that we see God in the world, but that God within us recognizes God in the world. God speaks to God, Spirit speaks to Spirit, heart speaks to heart. Contemplation, therefore, is a participation in this divine self-recognition. It is the divine Spirit praying in us who makes our world transparent and opens our eyes to the presence of the divine Spirit in all that surrounds us. It is with our hearts that we see the heart of the world.

Lord, when I become frustrated in my prayers, help me to remember that it is your Spirit who intercedes for me by sentiments deeper than words. (Rm. 8:26)

Adapted from Henri Nouwen