Are silent prayers heard by God?



Question: I am an 88-year-old Korean War veteran with a question that is not earth-shattering, but one that bothers me almost every day. I talk and pray to God, to Jesus and to the Blessed Virgin Mary out loud — every morning and at night before I go to bed. (I live alone.)

But there are also times when I pray silently — just in my head — especially if I wake up during the night. So what I need to know is whether those prayers — the silent ones — are heard. (Georgia)

Answer: Please relax and be at peace. The Lord (and Mary, too) hears all our prayers, including the silent ones. In fact, the Bible speaks directly to that. The Letter to the Hebrews says: “The word of God is living and effective . . . penetrating even between soul and spirit . . . able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart” (4:12).

Even when we are burdened and find prayer difficult, the Lord is there to help us. Paul’s Letter to the Romans says that the Spirit “comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings” (8:26).

So God can hear our thoughts just as easily as he can hear our words. (This may serve as a helpful reminder; even our thoughts should be kind and prayerful, too.)

Questions may be sent to Father Kenneth Doyle at askfatherdoy[email protected] and 30 Columbia Circle Dr., Albany, New York 12203.