Fidelity and Perseverence in Prayer
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Mental prayer is basically no more than an exercise in loving God. But there is no true love without fidelity. How could we claim to love God if we failed to keep the appointments we make with him for mental prayer?
- Time for God, p.17
This is very important. When we start doing mental prayer we are not saints, and the more we do it the more we realize that fact. People who never come face to face with God in silence are never really conscious of their infidelities and faults, but when we pray, such things become much more obvious. That may give rise to a lot of suffering and the temptation to stop praying. We should not be discouraged at that stage, but should persevere, convinced that perseverance will obtain for us the grace of conversion.
- Time for God, p.35
Our sinfulness, however grave, should never be an excuse to abandon prayer, contrary to what we may imagine or the devil may suggest. Just the opposite: the more wretched we are, the more motivated we should be to do mental prayer. Who will heal us of our infidelities and sins if not our merciful Lord? Where will we find health for our souls except in humble, persevering prayer? “It is not those who are healthy who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the just, but sinners” (Mt 9:13).
- Time for God, p.36
In an age as keen on freedom and authenticity as our own, an argument that comes up fairly often and may prevent people from being faithful to mental prayer goes like this: “Prayer is terrific, but I only pray when I feel an inner need. . . . To start praying when I don’t feel like it would be artificial, forced, even a sort of insincerity or hypocrisy. . . I pray when I feel a spontaneous desire for it. . . .”
The answer is that if we wait until we feel the spontaneous desire for prayer, we may end up waiting until the end of our days. That desire for prayer is very beautiful, and also unreliable. There is another motive for going to meet God in mental prayer that is equally meaningful and far deeper and more constant: he invites us to. The Gospel tells us to “pray always” (Lk 18:1). We should be guided by faith and not by our subjective mood.
- Time for God, p.31
Many people today are thirsty for God and feel a desire for an intense, personal prayer life that is deep and ongoing. But they encounter obstacles that prevent them from following the path seriously, and especially from persevering on it. Time for God was written with these desires and difficulties in mind.
In Time for God, author Jacques Philippe mainly concentrates on mental prayer: prayer that consists of facing God in solitude and silence for a time in order to enter into intimate, loving communion with him. Practicing this kind of prayer regularly is considered by all spiritual masters to be an indispensable path that gives access to genuine Christian life—a path to knowing and loving God that empowers us to respond to his call to holiness addressed to each individual.
Philippe draws on years of experience as a spiritual guide to illuminate the fundamental principles of mental prayer and describes some common mistakes and misconceptions that can lead it astray. With simplicity and clarity he explains the foundational principles for a healthy prayer life and gives advice for overcoming the various obstacles that arise when one sets off on the path of interior prayer.
Time for God has become an international bestseller in French and Spanish and is written by the bestselling author ofInterior Freedom, also published by Scepter.