Saint Jane Frances de Chantal (1572-1641), whose Feast day is today (12th August), founded the Order of the Visitation, after the death of her husband.
In an era when formal methods of Prayer were much used, when ‘schools of prayer’ were seen as the ideal way of approaching God, Jane Frances said ‘Follow your own way of speaking to God sincerely, lovingly, confidently, and simply, as your heart dictates.’
She also made these observations about prayer:
- The great method of prayer is to have none. If in going to prayer one can form in oneself a pure capacity for receiving the spirit of God, that will suffice for all method.
- In prayer, more is accomplished by listening than by talking.
- With God there is no need for long speeches.
- In prayer one must hold fast and never let go, because the one who gives up loses all. If it seems that no one is listening to you, then cry out even louder. If you are driven out of one door, go back in by the other.
- There is no danger if our prayer is without words or reflection because the good success of prayer depends neither on words nor on study. It depends upon the simple raising of our minds to God, and the more simple and stripped of feeling it is, the surer it is.
What is your preferred definition or description of prayer?