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Book: The Art of Praying
Author: Romano Guardini
Sophia Institute Press, Manchester, NH

Excerpt from opening chapter:

It is often asserted that true prayer cannot be willed or ordered, but must flow spontaneously, like water from the spring, from within. If this does not happen, if it does not well up from our innermost being, one had better not pray at all, for forced prayer is untrue and unnatural.

. . . . Prayer which springs from inner longing must, on the whole, be considered as the exception. Anyone proposing to build his religious life on this foundation would most probably give up prayer altogether. He would be like the person trying to base his life entirely on intuition and impressions, leaving aside order, discipline, and work. Such a life would be at the mercy of chance; it would become self-indulgent, arbitrary, fanciful; earnestness and steadfastness would vanish. The same would happen to prayer that relied exclusively on inner spontaneity. Anyone who takes his relationship with God seriously soon sees that prayer is not merely an expression of the inner life which will prevail on its own, but is also a service to be performed in faith and obedience. Thus it must be willed and practiced.

Table of Contents:

1. Preparation and Form

2. The Reality of God and the Basic Acts of Prayer

3. The Most Holy Trinity and Prayer

4. Oral Prayer

5. Inward or Contemplative Prayer

6. Divine Providence

7. Prayer to the Saints and to the Mother of God

8. Prayer in Times of Incapacity

9. The Overall Pattern of Christian Prayer Life