“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6)
With these words the Lord Jesus indicates that prayer is marked by a personal relationship with God, that prayer has real life effects, and that the power of prayer is marked by loyalty and confidence.
Prayer carries the soul into the presence of God and there the Lord Himself moves, inspires, and transforms the soul.
We can go even further: to bolster our faith in prayer we may recall that the prayer of Abraham saved an entire city; the prayer of Joshua stopped the sun in its trajectory in the sky; the prayer of Moses brought about a miraculous feeding of the children of Israel in the wilderness; the prayer of Elijah raised the widow’s son from the dead; the prayer of Jesus miraculously fed five thousand men with two fish and five loaves.
But Jesus does much more than this. His whole life, death and resurrection is testimony to the fact that God has reached out to humankind, to answer its most urgent questions, and to bring it out of darkness and into the light of God’s life.
As God-made-man, Jesus enters into the spirit of prayer, enjoys unceasing communion with His heavenly Father and, by degrees, begins to assimilate the believing soul into His own life of prayer where, ultimately, the soul learns to listen to the silence of God.
To pray is to enter God’s presence and begin to be transformed by God’s secret influences.
“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
It is in this stillness, this interior silence, when the powers of the soul are quiet and recollected, that the soul is well disposed to hear the “still small voice” of the Spirit of God. (1 Kings 19:12)