PRAYER: Everyone Is Called To Inward Prayer by Jeanne Guyon

Everyone Is Called To Inward Prayer by Jeanne Guyon

From A Short and Easy Method of Prayer Which All Can Practice Very Easily and Through Which All Can Arrive in a Short Time to a High Perfection

1. Everyone is capable of inward contemplative prayer, and it is a terrible shame that almost all people have it in their heads not to do it.  We are all called to this prayer as we are all called to eternal life.  Contemplative prayer is nothing more than heartfelt affection and love.  What is necessary is to love God and to focus on him.  Saint Paul orders us to “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)  Our Lord says, “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch.” (Mark 13:33-37)  Everyone can, therefore, perform contemplative prayer and must do so.  But I understand that not everyone can meditate, and very few are ready for it.  Therefore, it is not this type of contemplative prayer that God asks of us or that is desirable for you.

2. Whoever you might be, wanting to be saved, come and practice inward prayer.  You should live for contemplative prayer as you live for love.  “I counsel you to buy from me gold tried in the fire, that you may be made “rich.” (Revelation 3:18)  It is very easy to have these kinds of riches, and even more than you can possibly imagine.  “And he that thirsts, let him come; and he that will, let him take the water of life, freely.” (Revelation 22:17), and do not amuse yourselves by digging “cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13)  Come, be filled.  Come, you who are overwhelmed with pain and suffering; you will be relieved.  Come, you who are sick, and do not fear approaching him because you are filled with disease.  Show him your hurt, and you will be relieved.  Come, children, to your Father; he will receive you with loving arms.  Come, poor lambs who have strayed and are lost; come to your shepherd.  Come, you who are uneducated and simple; you are all ready for contemplative prayer because you who believe yourselves incapable are indeed the most ready.  Come all without exception.  Jesus Christ calls all of you.  Let those without a heart not come because it takes a heart to love.  But who is truly without a heart?  Oh, come and give this heart to God and learn how to pray this way.

3. All who want to experience contemplative prayer can do so.  It is the key to perfection and ultimate happiness, to eliminating vice and acquiring virtue, because there is one simple thing to do: walk in the presence of God in order to be perfect.  God told us so: “Walk before me, and be perfect.” (Genesis 17:1)  Contemplation alone can afford you this presence and give it to you continually.

4. It is therefore necessary to learn how to pray contemplatively, which can be done at any time, and which does not depend on any particular walk of life.  This includes princes, kings, clergy, priests, lawyers, soldiers, children, craftsmen, workers, women, and the sick; indeed, everyone can perform this type of worship, my dear friends.

This is not a prayer stemming from the mind, but a prayer stemming from the heart.  This cannot be a mental prayer, friends, because the mind is so limited that if it is thinking about one thing, it cannot think of another at the same time.  However, prayer of the heart is not interrupted by the rumblings of the mind.  Nothing can interrupt prayer of the heart but uncontrollable feelings because once we have tasted God and the sweetness of his love, it is impossible to taste anything but him.

5. Nothing is easier than experiencing God and tasting him.  He is more a part of us than we are of ourselves.  He has a stronger desire to give himself to us than we have to possess him.  The only way to look for him is as easy and natural as breathing the air and is no more than that.

Yes, you who are so coarse, who believe that you are not good at anything, you can live in prayer and in God himself as easily and continually as you live from the air you breathe.  Would you then not be a criminal if you did not do this?  You will undoubtedly want to learn how, and learning how is the easiest thing in the world.

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