Jeanne Guyon discovers the great difference between praying to God and experiencing God through prayer. In this inspirational book she shares secrets of this. Madame Jeanne Guyon discovered the great difference between praying to God, and experiencing God through prayer. She shares the secrets of this higher. Lisa Donovan’s thoughts and quotes from. Experiencing God through Prayer. By Madame Jeanne Marie Guyon (). Although her writings must be read.
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E-Text Copyright renews with each published update. Reference Note to Modern Readers: The scripture references shown as Eccles within the text of this piece, refer sometimes to the Old Testament Book guyln Ecclesiasteswhich appears after the Proverbs, but at other times to the Old Testament Book of Ecclesiasticuswhich in the Douay Rheims Version, appeared just before Isaias.
T HIS little treatise, conceived in great simplicity, was not originally intended for publication. Ecperiencing was written for a few individuals, who were desirous of loving God with all their heart. Many, however, because of the profit they received in reading the manuscript, wished to obtain copies, and, on this account alone, it was committed to the press.
It still remains in its original simplicity. It contains no censure on the various divine leadings of others; on the contrary, it enforces the received teachings. The whole is submitted to the judgment of the learned and experienced; requesting them, however, not to stop at the surface, but to enter into the guyom design of the author, which is to induce the whole world to macame God, and to serve Him with comfort and success, in a simple and easy manner, adapted to those little ones who are unqualified for learned and deep researches, but who earnestly desire to be truly devoted to God.
An unprejudiced reader will find, hidden under the most common expressions, a secret ghyon, which will excite him to seek after that happiness which all praydr wish to rhrough. In asserting that perfection is easily attained, the word facility, is used; madaem God is, indeed found with facility, when we seek Him within ourselves. But some, perhaps, may urge that passage in St. John “Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me,” vii. It is true, indeed, that he who would seek God, and is yet unwilling to forsake his sins, shall not find him, because he seeks Him where He is not; and, therefore, it is added, “Ye shall die in your sins.
A life of piety appears so frightful eexperiencing many, and prayer of such difficult attainment, that they are discouraged from taking a single step towards it. But as the experiencong difficulty of an undertaking often causes despair of succeeding and reluctance in commencing, so its desirableness, and the idea that it is easy to accomplish, induce us to enter upon its pursuit with pleasure, and to pursue it with vigor.
The advantages and facility of this way are therefore set forth in the following treatise. O were we once persuaded of the goodness of God toward his poor creatures, and of his desire to communicate Himself to them, we should not create ideal monsters, nor so easily despair of obtaining that good which He is so earnest to bestow: It needs only a little courage and perseverance; we have enough of both in our temporal concerns, but none at madaem in the one thing needful, Experienncing x.
If any think that God is not easily to be found in this way, let them not on my testimony alter their minds, but let them try it, and their own experience will convince them, that the reality far exceeds all my representations of it. Beloved reader, puruse this little tract with a sincere and candid spirit, in lowliness of mind, and not with an inclination rpayer criticize, and you will not fail to reap profit from it. It was written with a desire that you might wholly devote yourself to God; receive it then madwme a like desire: With a sincere desire, therefore, for your salvation, seek nothing from the unpretending method here proposed, but the love thriugh God, and you shall assuredly obtain it.
Without setting up our opinions above those of others, we mean only with sincerity to declare, from our own experience and the experience of others, the happy effects produced by thus simply following after the Lord.
As this treatise was intended only to instruct in prayer, nothing is said of many things which we esteem, because they do not immediately relate to our main subject. It is, however, beyond a doubt, that nothing will be found herein to offend, provided it be read in the spirit with which it was written.
And it is still more certain, that those who in right earnest make trial of the way, will find we have written the truth. It is Thou alone, O holy Jesus, who lovest simplicity and innocence, “and whose delight is to dwell with the children of men,” Prov.
They lose these advantages by their own fault. But it belongeth unto thee, Experiencingg child Almighty! Thou canst do it; and I know Thou wilt do it by this little work, which belongeth entirely to Thee, proceedeth wholly from Thee, and tendeth only to Thee!
Experiencing God Through Prayer
A LL are capable of prayer, and it is a dreadful misfortune that almost all the world have conceived the idea that they are not called to prayer.
We are all called to prayer, as we are all called to salvation. Paul has enjoined us to “pray without ceasing;” 1 Thess. I grant that meditation is attainable but by few, for few are capable of it; and therefore, my beloved brethren who are athirst for salvation, meditative prayer is not the prayer which God requires of you, nor which we would recommend.
This is very easily obtained, much more easily than you can conceive. Come all ye that are athirst to the living waters, nor lose your precious moments in hewing out cisterns that will hold no water.
Come ye famishing souls, who find nought to satisfy you; come, and ye shall be filled! Come, ye poor afflicted ones, bending beneath your load of wretchedness and pain, and ye shall be consoled! Come, ye sick, to your physician, and be not fearful of approaching him because ye are filled with diseases; show them, and they shall be healed!
Children, draw near to your Father, and he will embrace you in the arms of love! Come ye poor, stray, wandering sheep, return to your Shepherd! Come, sinners, to your Saviour! Come ye dull, ignorant, and illiterate, ye who think yourselves the most incapable of prayer! Yet let not those come who are without a heart; they are excused; for there must be a heart before there can be love. But who is without a heart? O come, then, give this heart to God; and here learn how to make the donation.
All who are desirous of prayer, may easily pray, enabled by those ordinary graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit which are common to all men. P RAYER is the key to perfection, and the sovereign good; it is the means of delivering us from every vice, and obtaining us every virtue; for the one great means of becoming perfect, is to walk in the presence of God. He himself hath said, “Walk before me, and be thou perfect.
It is by prayer alone that we are brought into his presence, and maintained in it without interruption.
You must, then, learn a species of prayer which may be exercised at all times; which does not obstruct outward employments; which may be equally practised by princes, kings, prelates, priests and magistrates, soldiers and children, tradesmen, laborers, women, and sick persons; it is not the prayer of the head, but OF THE HEART.
Nothing can interrupt this prayer but disordered affections; and when once we have enjoyed God, and the sweetness of his love, we shall find it impossible to relish aught but himself. Nothing is so easily obtained as the possession and enjoyment of God. He is more present to us than we are to ourselves. He is more desirous of giving Himself to us than we are to possess Him; we only need to know how to seek Him, and the way is easier and more natural to us than breathing.
Will it not then be highly sinful to neglect prayer? But doubtless you will not, when you have learnt the method, which is the easiest in the world. T HERE are two ways of introducing a soul into prayer, which should be pursued for some time; the one is meditation, the other is reading accompanied by meditation.
Meditative reading is the choosing some important practical or speculative truth, always preferring the practical, and proceeding thus: It is not the quantity that is read, but the manner of reading, that yields us profit. Those who read fast, reap no more advantage, than a bee would by only skimming over the surface of the flower, instead of waiting to penetrate into it, and extract its sweets.
Much reading is rather for scholastic subjects, than divine truths; to receive profit from spiritual books, we must read as I have described; and I am certain that if that method were pursued, we should become gradually habituated to prayer by our reading, and more fully disposed for its exercise.
Meditation, which is the other method, is to be htrough at an appropriated season, and not in the time of reading. I believe that the best manner of meditating is as follows: When by an act of lively faith, you are placed in the presence of God, read some truth wherein there is substance; pause gently thereon, not to employ the reason, but merely to fix the mind; observing that the principal exercise should ever be the presence of God, and that the subject, therefore, should rather serve to stay the mind, than madamf it in reasoning.
Then let a lively faith in God immediately present in our inmost souls, produce an eager sinking into ourselves, restraining all our senses from wandering abroad: He has even promised to come and make his abode with him that doeth his will.
Augustine blames himself for the time he had lost in not having sought God, from the first, in this manner of prayer. When we are thus fully entered into ourselves, and warmly penetrated throughout with a lively sense of the Divine presence; when the senses are all recollected, and withdrawn from the circumference to the centre, and the soul is sweetly and silently employed on the truths we have read, not in reasoning, but in feeding thereon, and animating the will by affection, rather than fatiguing the understanding by study; when, I say, the affections are in this state, which, however difficult it may appear at first, is, as I shall hereafter show, easily attainable, we must allow them sweetly to repose, and, as it were, swallow what they have tasted.
For as a person may enjoy the flavor of the finest viands in mastication, yet receive no nourishment from them, if he does not cease the action and swallow the food; so when our affections are enkindled, if we endeavor to stir them up yet more, we extinguish the flame, and the soul is deprived of its nourishment.
We should, therefore, in a repose of love, full of respect and confidence, swallow the blessed food we have received.
This method is highly necessary, and will advance the soul more in a short time, than any other in years. But as I have said that our direct and principal exercise should consist in the contemplation of the Divine presence, we should be exceedingly diligent in recalling our dissipated senses, as the most easy method of overcoming distractions; for a direct contest only serves to irritate and augment them; whereas, by sinking within, under a view by faith, of a present God, and simply recollecting ourselves, we wage insensibly a very successful, though indirect war with them.
It is proper here to caution beginners against wandering from truth to truth, and from subject to subject; the right way to penetrate every divine truth, to enjoy its full relish, and to imprint it on the heart, is to dwell upon it whilst its savor continues. Though recollection is difficult in the beginning, from the habit the soul has acquired of being always abroad, yet, when by the violence it has done itself, it becomes a little accustomed to it, the process is soon rendered perfectly easy; and this partly from the force of habit, and partly because God, whose one will towards his creatures is to communicate himself to them, imparts abundant grace, and an experimental enjoyment of his presence, which very much facilitate it.
T HOSE who cannot read books, are not, on that account, excluded from prayer. The great book which teaches all things, and which is written all over, within and without, is Jesus Christ himself.
The method they should practice is this: It is as incumbent on the clergy to instruct their parishioners in prayer, as in their catechism.
Book Review: “Experiencing God through Prayer” by Madame Guyon (The Prayer Foundation)
It is true they tell them the end of their creation; but they do not give them sufficient instructions how they may attain it. They should be taught to begin by an act of profound adoration and annihilation before God, and closing the corporeal eyes, endeavor to open those of the soul; they should then collect themselves inwardly, and by a lively faith experiwncing God, as dwelling within them, pierce into the divine presence; not suffering the senses to wander abroad, but holding them as much as may be in subjection.
They should then repeat the Lord’s prayer in their native tongue; pondering a little upon the meaning of the words, and the infinite willingness of that God who dwells thrrough them to become, indeed, “their father.
Again, the Christian, beholding himself in the state of a feeble child, soiled and sorely bruised by repeated falls, destitute of strength to stand, or of power to cleanse himself, should lay his deplorable situation open to his Father’s view in humble confusion; occasionally intermingling a word or two of love and grief, and then again sinking into silence before Him. Then, continuing the Lord’s prayer, let him beseech this King of Glory to reign in him, abandoning himself to God, that He may do it, and acknowledging his right to rule over him.
If they feel an inclination to peace and silence, let them not continue the words experiebcing the prayer so long as this sensation holds; and when it subsides, let them go on with the second petition, “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven! When they find expdriencing the will should be employed in loving, they will desire to love, and will implore Him for his LOVE ; but all this will take place sweetly and peacefully: But they should not burthen themselves with frequent repetitions of set forms, or studied prayers; for the Lord’s prayer once repeated as I have just described, will produce abundant fruit.
At other times, they may place themselves vuyon sheep before their Shepherd, looking up to Him for their true food: O divine Shepherd, Thou feedest thy flock with Thyself, and art indeed their daily bread. They may also represent to him the necessities of their families: All our imaginations of God amount to nothing; a lively faith in his presence is sufficient.
For we must not form any image of the Deity, though we may of Jesus Christ, beholding him in his birth, or his crucifixion, or in some other state or mystery, provided the soul always seeks Him in its own centre. On other occasions, we may look to him as a physician, and present for his healing virtue all our maladies; but always without perturbation, and with pauses from time to time, that the silence, being mingled with action, may be gradually extended, and our own exertion lessened; till at length, by continually yielding to God’s operations, He gains the complete ascendancy, as shall be hereafter explained.
When the divine presence is granted us, and we gradually begin to relish silence and repose, this experimental enjoyment of the presence of God introduces the expeirencing into the second degree of prayer, which, by proceeding in the manner I have described, is attainable as well by the illiterate as by the learned; some privileged souls, indeed, are favored with it even from the beginning. I shall here use this latter appellation, as being more just than that of contemplation, which implies a more advanced state than that I am now treating of.
When the soul has been for some time exercised in througg way I througg mentioned, it gradually finds that it is enabled to approach God with facility; that recollection is attended with much less difficulty, and that prayer becomes easy, sweet, and delightful: The method must now be altered, and that which I describe must be pursued with courage and fidelity, without being disturbed at the difficulties we may encounter in the way.
First, as soon as the soul by faith places itself in the presence of God, and becomes recollected before Him, let prayet remain thus for a little time in respectful silence.