“Let us speak the truth in our hearts and not practice treachery with our tongues, so that by pouring forth charity more and more in our hearts, the Spirit of truth may teach us recognition of all truth.”–St. Bede the Venerable (CE 672-735 )
I remember once telling a group of Lutheran bishops that their job–and the job of their churches–was not to raise more Christians but to shape and form true human beings. We had an interesting conversation out of that! Merton’s quote below reminds me that “prayer” at it’ most essential is an impulse of the human heart, not part of an equation of dogmatic exchange.
What is the purpose of meditation in the sense of “the prayer of the heart?” In the “prayer of the heart” we seek first of all the deepest ground of our identity in God. We do not reason about dogmas of faith, or “the mysteries.” We seek rather to gain a direct existential grasp, a personal experience of the deepest truths of life and faith, finding ourselves in God’s truth. …Prayer then means yearning for the simple presence of God, for a personal understanding of [God’s] word, for knowledge of [God’s] will and for capacity to hear and obey him.–Thomas Merton
Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton (Image Books, 1996, p.67)