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Learn to pray as monks pray
For nearly a thousand years, monks of the Carthusian Order have withdrawn from the world so they can place themselves in the presence of God.
Alone in their cells, they pray, work, and take their meals, freed from worldly distractions and the cacophony of thoughts that course through your mind and mine, when, at the end of busy days, we finally kneel down to pray.
A thousand years’ silence has enabled the Carthusians to perfect a way of praying suited for the cloister, but it’s also right for those of us whose obligations force us to work and pray in the rush and hurry of the world.
In these pages, the monk Augustin Guillerand reveals the secret of the Carthusian’s remarkable prayer of the presence of God. Obviously, this way of praying excludes quick Our Father’s and hasty Hail Mary’s, but it also requires that we do more than pause and say our prayers slowly.
In fact, the Carthusians know that the prayer of the presence of God isn’t primarily a question of speed . . . or even of speech. Like love, it’s not so much a deed as an attitude— a habit of tranquil listening that allows God to enter our souls by all paths and to establish His presence there.
Failure to listen poisons love in marriages; and failure to listen poisons love of God. That’s why the prayer of the presence of God is essential not just for monks, but for all of us, no matter what our circumstances may be.
Yet how can we listen in a way that allows God to enter our souls?
How can we even hear Him in the noise of our days and ways?
A thousand years of Carthusian experience provide sure answers to these questions. Though this is no step-by-step manual (listening can’t be reduced to steps), you’ll learn where you must begin and how to proceed if you’re finally to bring to maturity in your own soul the habit of tranquil listening that’s essential for all those who would know God and love Him as they ought.
1. Turn toward God in prayer
2. Rely on prayer as your soul's defense
3. Recognize your dependence on God
4. Pray for an awareness of sin's horror
5. Reflect continuously on the need to pray
6. Use forms of prayer that draw you toward God
7. Let prayer refresh your soul
8. Rejoice that God answers prayers
9. Ask for God alone
10. Assist your prayer with various means
11. Practice almsgiving and humility
12. Detach yourself from earthly things
13. Unite your will with God's
14. Revere God
15. Pray with attention
16. Guard your heart
17. Place yourself in God's presence
18. Persevere in prayer
19. Have confidence in God
20. Understand why God makes you wait
21. Pray with persistence
22. Avoid lengthy prayers
23. Ponder God's greatness
24. Understand the power of humility
25. Pray with your heart
26. Be sorry for your sins
27. Reflect on what Christ suffered because of sin
28. Prepare yourself to pray
29. Enter your "inner chamber"
30. Rejoice in God's attentiveness to you
31. Let prayer bring peace to your soul
32. Develop a filial relationship with God
33. Meet God in the silence of your soul
34. Speak to God as a child to his father
35. Remember that God acts for your good
36. Strive for a proper attitude of soul
37. Persist in prayer when God seems absent
38. Let your praise be a foretaste of eternity
39. Praise of man's powerlessness
40. Praise of God's goodness
41. Praise of God's wisdom
42. Praise of God's truth
43. Praise of God's mercy
44. Praise of God's justice
45. Praise of God's life
46. Praise of all the divine perfections
47. Praise of creation
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