God alone can teach us how to pray
Quote of the Day
excerpt from chapter 3, How to Pray by Father Jean Nicolas Grou
The third quality of prayer is that it must be loving.
God wishes to be no less loved than respected, and the Holy Ghost who is the eternal love of the Father and the Son, inspires no prayer that is not all love, or that does not tend to produce it. Love it is, or at least the desire of love, that should lead the Christian to pray: love should be the final object or the very subject-matter of prayer; and an increase of love should be its fruit. Even when the fear of the judgments of God is the determining motive of the prayer of either the sinner or the just man, still love must always be the end we aim at, and if love does not in some measure enter into our prayer, either as a motive or end, it is not inspired by the Holy Ghost.
This comes back to what I have just said; namely, that it is the heart that prays, and consequently that loves, or aspires to love.
When a sinner asks for the grace of conversion is it not the same thing as asking God the grace to love Him? If his heart be really touched, will he not experience a certain feeling which is a beginning of love? There will be warmth, soul, life in his prayer; if it were cold or indifferent the Holy Ghost would have no part in it. If a just man prays from an impulse to pray, with much greater reason will his prayer be loving, for it is nothing but charity carried out in practice. If his heart were cold and insensible, it would be a sign that grace was not working in him at that moment.
Prayer of the Day
Alas! Lord, I have but too much reason to reflect on my own way of prayer, that so I may condemn and reform it. I do not find in my prayers any of the qualities essential to prayer. Scarcely do I say a single prayer with proper attention; I bring to it a dissipated mind and a cold heart. I show Thee too little respect, either interior or exterior, and still less love. My confidence is weak and wavering, I always have a secret fear that Thou wilt not grant my prayer, I do not do justice to Thy bounty, nor approach Thee as the best of Fathers. Hence comes the want of patience and perseverance. I want to obtain what I ask for, all at once, and without any delay; I give up correcting my faults, practicing virtue and imploring Thy help for this end, because I am not all of a sudden as perfect as my self-love would wish me to be. How can I become good if I pray so badly?
O my Savior! teach me to pray, no longer in my own way nor according to any human methods, but according to the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. May He animate my prayer, and ask in me with the unspeakable groanings mentioned by Thy apostle! Amen.
[chapter 3, How to Pray, Grou]