A definition – Silent prayer is, quite simply, the practice of sitting in silence, quieting one’s own thoughts, and making oneself present to God. It isn’t unlike meditation or yoga — but instead of having the goal of mindfulness or activation, its purpose is to create space in the mind and in the heart for God — to allow Him to speak to us in the silence.
From the Franciscans
“Entering into silent prayer takes work. It takes discipline and courage to cut through all the little things that distract our minds and hearts to arrive at a sacred and productive silence.
“One of the richest forms of prayer can occur when the heart is absolutely quiet. As the psalmist says, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
“Several years ago, Dominican Sister Sylvia Rosell, from the Stillpoint House of Prayer in Albany, New York, explained it to me this way: “If you still your mind, you can hear your own heart. And at the core of your heart is the indwelling of God. It’s just like when you love someone, you just sit there and you look at each other. You just silently stare, and there is a terrible presence between you. It’s an awesome thing. God is present and you are present—to each other. It’s a matter of just being there.”
A Prayer of Silent Union With God
“You may find it rewarding to try this simple prayer exercise:
“Just sit down and, keeping your back straight but free, begin quieting your mind and your body by taking a few relaxing, deep breaths. Close your eyes if you wish. Center your awareness on the silent and infinite presence of God within your heart.
“Let the Spirit lead you beyond the noisy world of space and time and into the silent realm where God dwells as the source and ground of your being. Center your attention on that hushed point within you where the human touches the divine, where the branch (you) intersects with Jesus, the vine—where you and God are one and dwell in each other.
“Let yourself sink into the silent immensity of God. Simply let your prayer be a silent being there with God. Without any need for thoughts and words, exchange quiet love with God for as long as you feel inspired to do so.
At St. Peter’s
In 2015, in a series called “Lenten Prayer Practices, Catherine used praying with a candle which she related to life. The candle wax burns down as does life fade away. The candle as fragile as it life and can be snuffed away. The flame illuminates the darkness and provides focus. There is the Isaiah 42:3 passage about “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;” We think about God’s presence as we are enveloped in prayer with God. It is persistent prayer. She recommended spending 10 minutes a day with a candle as a spiritual practice.