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Pope Francis on vocal prayer: The prayer of our hearts and of our lips cannot be separated

Pope Francis discussed the value and need for vocal forms of prayer during his general audience. He said that spoken prayer is an embodiment of our “deepest thoughts, emotions and experiences,” and that “The prayer of the heart and the prayer of our lips can never be separated.”

The Pope then reflected on the Book of Psalms as a model for vocal prayer, and which he says “gives us the words to bring our joys, fears, hopes and needs to God.”


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In our continuing catechesis on Christian prayer, we now consider the importance of vocal prayer. In our dialogue with God, he first spoke to us through his own Word made flesh. He invites us in turn to speak to him in words that embody our deepest thoughts, emotions and experiences.

Words do not only express our ideas, they also shape us and often reveal us to ourselves. In the inspired words of the Book of Psalms, we find a model of vocal prayer. The Psalmist gives us the words to bring our joys, fears, hopes and needs to God and to share with him every aspect of our lives.

The prayer of the heart and the prayer of our lips can never be separated. As the Catechism tells us, “vocal prayer is an essential element of the Christian life” (No. 2701). Through our spoken or chanted prayer, alone or in common, we find the words that enable us to grow daily in our relationship with God.

Prayer thus quietly becomes an essential part of our lives, like the air we breathe. When the disciples asked Jesus to show them how to pray, he responded by teaching them, and us, the words of the Our Father.

I cordially greet the English-speaking faithful. In the joy of the Risen Christ, I invoke upon

you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father.

May the Lord bless you all!