Each day we as Secular Carmelites are to spend half and hour in quiet prayer. At some point in our day we leave all our duties and earthly cares in order to place ourselves in intimate contact with God through prayer.
To begin this most precious time we must recollect ourselves and enter into the little heaven of our soul. Jesus exhorts all to this time of quiet prayer in the sixth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew.
“But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”
This does necessarily involve the physical withdrawal from exterior occupations and preoccupations. With everything temporarily laid aside we enter into solitude to be with God and to renew our spirit. This is a sacred time and shouldn’t be omitted lightly. During this time of prayer we are applying Jesus’ command to “Seek first the kingdom of God.” (Mt. 6:33)
This is a time for conversational prayer with the Lord. Here we speak to Him as to a friend. As St. Teresa of Jesus tells us in her autobiography, “mental prayer in my opinion is nothing else than intimate sharing with friends; it means taking time to be alone with Him who we know loves us.” (Life, 8:5) This is our time to speak to Him directly, without any set formula, simply telling Him all that we are thinking, feeling, and desiring.
This time for quiet prayer is a time of grace. “No human eye can see what God does in the soul during hours of inner prayer. It is grace upon grace. And all of life’s other hours are our thanks for them.” (The Hidden Life, ICS Publications, The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Vol. 4)