St. Jane Frances de Chantal used to say, “The best method of prayer is not to have one, because prayer is not obtained by artifice”—by technique, we would say today—“but by grace.” There is no “method” of praying, in the sense of a set of instructions or procedures that we merely have to apply in order to pray well. Though true contemplative prayer is a gift that God gives freely, we do need to understand how to receive it.
- Time for God, p.9
Remember: the value of mental prayer is not measured by how many things we do. On the contrary: the closer prayer comes to that simple act of love, the more it is worth. Normally, too, prayer becomes more simple the further we progress in the spiritual life.
- Time for God, p.57
The life of prayer is the source of infinite riches. It transforms us within, sanctifies us, heals us, helps us to know and love God, makes us fervent and generous in love of neighbor. Provided they persevere, those who commit themselves to a life of prayer can be absolutely sure of receiving all this and more.
- Time for God, pp.15-16
The life of prayer is not static. It develops in stages and makes progress—progress that is not always in a straight line but sometimes even seems to fall back.
- Time for God, p.66
Experience shows that to pray well and to be brought to the state of passive prayer in which God and the soul communicate in depth, the heart must be pierced—pierced, that is, by the love of God, wounded by thirst for the Beloved.
- Time for God, p.72
We should not measure the value of our mental prayer by how much we do during the time allotted to it, thinking it good and profitable to say and think many things, and getting upset if we haven’t been able to do anything.
- Time for God, p.51
In starting to pray, alone, facing God, in our room, or in an oratoy before the Blessed Sacrament, we must believe with our whole heart that God is present. Regardless of what we may or may not eel, the preparation we have or haven’t made, how good we are or aren’t at stringing beautiful thoughts together— regardless of our whole inner state—God is there, with us, looking at us and loving us.
- Time for God, p.14
We sometimes let ourselves be overtaken by excessive noise—not so much physical noise as the ceaseless whirlwind of thoughts, imaginations, and words that we’ve heard or said—and all this merely feeds our worries, fears, and frustrations, and ob viously leaves the Holy Spirit little chance of making himself heard.
- In the School of the Holy Spirit, p.38-39