VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The more people love Jesus, the more they will want to spend time with him in prayer; and the more they pray, the more they will resemble him, Pope Benedict XVI said.

While God always listens to people’s pleas for help and is always ready to respond, “our prayer must first be an act of listening to God who speaks to us,” the pope said Sept. 5 at his weekly general audience.

Traveling by helicopter from the papal summer villa at Castel Gandolfo, about 18 miles southeast of Rome, Pope Benedict returned briefly to the Vatican for his first general audience there since late June.

The audience marked the beginning of a series of papal audience talks on prayer in the Book of Revelation, which the pope said was “a difficult book, but one that contains a great richness” because it presents readers with the prayer life of the earliest Christian communities.

In the opening chapter of Revelation, God reveals himself as “the Alpha and the Omega,” which, the pope said, means God shows himself to be “the beginning and end of history. He takes to heart the requests of the assembly. He was, is and will be present and active with his love in the midst of the events of humanity.”

But the Book of Revelation also teaches that priority in prayer must be given to listening to God’s word and responding with “praise to God for his love (and) for the gift of Jesus Christ, who brings us strength, hope and salvation.”

“Submerged under so many words, we are not used to listening,” nor do people seem to know how to make the time and find a quiet place where they can “be attentive to what God wants to say,” the pope said.

“The more we know, love and follow Christ,” he said, “the more we’ll want to meet him in prayer.”

“The more we pray with constancy and intensity, the more we will resemble him and he truly will enter into our lives and guide them, giving us joy and peace. And the more we know, love and follow Jesus, the more we will feel the need to encounter him in prayer,” the pope said.