“The only way to pray is to pray . . .”

From a letter by Dom Chapman on prayer:

My dear . . .

As to advice, I can only tell you what I think.

I recommend you pray, because it is good for everybody, and our Lord tells us to pray.  As to method, do what you can do, and what suits you.  It seems obvious that most spiritual reading and meditation fails to help you; and the simplest kind of prayer is the best.  So use that.

But prayer, in the sense of union with God, is the most crucifying thing there is.  One must do it for God’s sake; but one will not get any satisfaction out of it, in the sense of feeling “I am good at prayer”, “I have an infallible method”.  That would be disastrous, since what we want to learn is precisely our own weakness, powerlessness, unworthiness.  Nor ought one to expect “a sense of the reality of the supernatural” of which you speak.  And one should wish for no prayer, except precisely the prayer that God gives us–probably very distracted and unsatisfactory in every way!

On the other hand, the only way to pray is to pray; and the way to pray well is to pray much.  If one has no time for this, then one must at least pray regularly.  But the less one prays, the worse it goes.  And if circumstances do not permit even regularity, then one must put up with the fact that when one does try to pray, one can’t pray–and our prayer will probably consist of telling this to God.

. . .

What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s