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  • Writer's pictureFr. Scott Haynes

Noetic Prayer

Fr. Scott A. Haynes

The winds of temptation cannot topple you when you nurture prayer in your heart. When the spirit of prayer is daily cultivated, the strength of temptation is much weakened. Prayer is a barrier in the storm—a defense, and an armor for you. Patience must intermingle with prayer. It is essential if we are to live a virtuous life and follow the paths of holiness. Our hearts must become like thuribles, from which our prayers ascend to God's throne like incense.

No matter how many waves of temptation come, they will not harm us when we sit on the high rock of prayer; yet, if we dwell in a pit, they quickly cover us. This prayer of which we speak is noetic prayer. Noetic prayer is a type of prayer that is inspired by the Holy Spirit and is spiritual prayer or prayer of the heart.

Noetic prayer sanctifies, integrates, and unites us with the Lord. All that is dry is burned up and vanishes when the fire of prayer ignites the soul. Perfection starts with noetic prayer, because such prayer is the initial step on the path of spiritual ascent. When you pray, you first experience joy, then sweetness, and lastly, like a fruit, tears come out. As our hearts are soaked in prayer, Jesus dwells with us all the more. When we are immersed in prayer, our spirits are refreshed. Without prayer our souls dry up.

The crisis of faith that we see all around us is due to the loss of the practice of noetic prayer among God's people. Therefore, we must cultivate the spirt of prayer anew. It has brought so many holy souls into Paradise. Noetic prayer is an indispensable method of sanctification and purification.

While we praise God in our worship together, singing Psalms of praise to our Heavenly King, we must also learn to secretly whisper our prayers in the King's ear. When we chant our Psalms in the court of the King, this rejoices His heart, but when we draw near to His throne and whisper our prayers secretly in His ear, we speak directly to Him. “Give ear, O Lord, to my words, understand my cry. Hearken to the voice of my prayer, O my King and my God.” (Psalm 5:2-3). If we vest our lives in prayer, it will be a lifejacket for us, keeping us safe, so that we sail fearlessly over the rough seas of this life.  

Through prayer, we learn to come before the Lord with childlike trust. It transports us to the state of innocence and purity that Adam enjoyed in Paradise before the fall. It ends the disparities we have with others. Immersed in prayer, we develop a holy dispassion for acquisition of wealth, which the materialists cannot understand. The devil is angry when we have recourse to prayer to combat him. He will attempt to divert our attention in a multitude of ways. But we must understand that every temptation we face is an attempt to keep us from prayer. Fortified by the frequent and fervent reception of Holy Communion, we ought to pray from the bottom of our hearts. If we exercise patience, we will perceive God's powerful hand supporting us. Above all, we ought to maintain childlike humility like unto Christ, for this utterly disarms the devil.

When we nurture noetic prayer, we will become like children in the palace of the King who understand the language of His Kingdom. As our hearts are more perfectly conformed to the Heart of God, we will rise to holiness as we keep our eyes ever on Him. At His slightest nod, seek to fulfill His holy will. If we persistently nurture our life of prayer, we will follow the narrow road into Paradise. We will experience heaven's delight and be able to perceive God's grace with our own eyes. Let us beg the Lord to bestow upon us the ability to pray, and to grant us the grace to be open to all the desires of His Sacred Heart. 

Blessedness comes to us through prayer. By prayer, mankind is illuminated, sanctified, and cleansed. Inhale the pure air of prayer in Christ. Let us breathe this prayer into our lungs, so that true joy can arise. Let us ask God to grant us holy endurance, ardent prayer, and a steady advance towards Him, so that we may surpass every obstacle. With prayer, we will shed the heavy weight of worldliness and receive the ability to soar heavenward.

When we are in union with God, we are careful in how we speak. We long for the secret conversation with the King and we are tired by those who do know this language, by those who revel in worldly talk.  

May we keep a vigil of prayer in the sanctuary of our souls and let the voice of the Lord be audible within our minds. May we come the Lord's throne through the secret recesses of prayer and may our spiritual life be flooded with joy.  

Let us become childlike, filled with God’s simplicity. Let us be trusting souls, who walk on the waters of the sea, not fearfully looking at the depths beneath us, but keeping our eyes fixed on Our Lord Jesus Christ who is before us. By prayer, everything becomes possible. It changes our hearts. It cast away fear and makes us brave. It removes frustration and makes us patient. When we follow the ways of prayer, study, and quiet, we will experience Christ residing within us.

When we foster the life of interior prayer, we participate in the heavenly banquet, and are seated at the table of the King. Our heavenly bridegroom communes with us in the depths of our hearts. We are changed by God's grace, because the transformative spiritual union He has wrought in our hearts through the gift of prayer.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.



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