Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Lord, Listen to our Hearts...

One of the blessings that I find in the Catholic faith is the wide variety of ways we have to pray. Some (many) without words. Some focused on listening instead of 'saying' anything. At the same time, "talking" with God is something that is always close to my heart. Sometimes in "petition". Often, in "praise".

Sometimes when I'm praying like this - and its been this way all my life - I get to a point where my words fail me. Either there's so much I'm trying to express - the idea is so big - that it just won't come out. Or, there's so many aspects to what I'm trying to say, that I can't get the words to fit together right. Or, sometimes I find the words, or the ideas, or the thoughts - but they come together too fast for me to feel like I've communicated them.

Since I was a teenager, I can remember being thankful for the scriptural promise from Romans 8 that "We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express". In my prayer time when I find my - words, ideas, thoughts, whatever - not being sufficient, I sort of 'throw up my hands'. Not really out of disgust, but more out of surrender. I smile sheepishly at God and say, "I'm not doing a very good job of getting this across. YOU know what's on my heart and mind right now - YOU know what I'm trying to say. Take it, please. I offer it - in faith - knowing that in my imperfection with this you can 'hear it' perfectly."

As I pray the Liturgy of the Hours, I often pause between psalms or other sections... sometimes because there seems to be something to hear... other times because there's something I want to say. This limitation of mine with words that I've been talking about - it comes up with these 'pause' times in the LOTH also.

This morning, I'd paused. I'd been trying to communicate something to God. I threw up my hands and smiled. The idea I was trying to offer God was too complicated for me to get out. And so I said my "I'm not getting this across, God. Take it. I offer it." And on the radio (I often listen to music in the background during my prayer time) began to play a song that I remembered from my college years. I began to sing with it... with tears in my eyes, I let the words form part of my prayer:

How do you explain...
how do you describe...
A love that goes from the east to west,
And runs as deep as it is wide?
You know all our hopes
Lord, you know all our fears
And words cannot express the love we feel
But we long for You to hear!

So listen to our hearts.
Hear our spirits sing
A song of praise that flows
From those you have redeemed.
We will use the words we know
To tell you what an awesome God You are.
But words are not enough
To tell you of our love,
So listen to our hearts.

If words could fall like rain
From these lips of mine,
And if I had a thousand years
I would still run out of time.
So if You'll listen to my heart
Every beat will say,
"Thank You for the Life,
Thank You for the Truth,
Thank You for the Way."


So listen to our hearts.
Hear our spirits sing
A song of praise that flows
From those you have redeemed.
We will use the words we know
To tell you what an awesome God You are.
But words are not enough
To tell you of our love,
So listen to our hearts.

(Geoff Moore And The Distance - from A Friend Like You)

Lord - when words are not enough to tell you of my love, please listen to my heart. Amen.

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