A Guide to Prayer
Father Jacques Philippe
Pauline Books & Media
This is the second book by Father Jacques Philippe that I have read. It is just as good as the first and I must state that it is a must read for growth in the spiritual life.
Father Philippe writes a wonderful little book about the life of prayer and how to pray, and he goes through a number of the Saints of the church and their writings on prayer. He gives some amazing advice. First and foremost, he states that all forms and types of prayers in the Christian life should not become so ritualistic that they lose their spiritual benefits. He tells us that most spiritual practices in our lives are for a season, and what is fruitful and amazing now, may need to be changed in the future.
Philippe tells us that we are responsible for 5 attitudes in our approach to prayer. We must have faith, fidelity, purity of intention, humility and perseverance. If we are persistent in pursuing these 5 things, we will grow in the spiritual life.
Fr. Jacques also gives us 4 principles to remember in our practice of prayer: the primacy of God's action, the primacy of God's love, the humanity of Jesus, and God's indwelling in our heart.
Fr. Philippe is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors for spiritual reading. He touches upon that practice in this book as a tool for prayer. Spiritual reading is different from other forms of reading; rather than reading for the purpose of reviewing, or academic reading, spiritual reading is slowly digesting a book, stopping to pray when inspired, or stopping to meditate - reading something again and again if it really catches your attention. Its main purpose is to grow deeper.
Some samples of the gems in this book are:
"Prayer, no matter how brief, is very pleasing to God. Far from causing us to lose courage in perilous situations, prayer strengthens us." P.125"The truth is everyone who sets off on the spiritual journey seeks God, but also in part, herself or himself." P.22"It follows that all we have to do in prayer is to seek love and to strengthen it. This is the only criterion for judging whether we are doing badly or well in prayer." P.61
"There is no doubt that if we give God our time, we will be able to find time for others, too. By paying attention to God, we learn to pay attention to others." P.30
"Therefore, we do not pray because of the pleasure or benefits drawn from it - even if these are immense - but primarily because we want to please God, who asks us to pray. We pray not for our own delight, but for God's." P.21
"Moreover, the Mass in itself is more important than personal prayer. This may be true, but without a prayer life, the sacraments would have a limited effect." P.27
"Nevertheless, in this life, those who pray become increasingly capable of loving and spontaneously doing good, which initially required great effort. Thanks to the action of the holy spirit, it becomes easier and more natural to practice virtue." P.27
Those are just a few of the passages I underlined in this book. I randomly flipped through and picked out a few passages to share with you. I hope they will intrigue you enough to pick up the book and give it a try.
Other Books By Fr. Jacques Philippe
Called to Life
Time For God
In the School of the Holy Spirit
The Way of Trust and Love - A Retreat Guided By St. Therese of Lisieux
Thirsting for Prayer
Real Mercy: Mary, Forgiveness, and Trust
Fire and Light: Learning to Receive the Gift of God
St Paul's Alba House:
Searching for and Maintaining Peace
Discerning Your Vocation: A Catholic Guide for Young Adults (Forward)
Pauline Books and Media:
Time For God
Time For God
I Choose to be Free: the Power of Faith Hope & Charity (a different edition of Interior Freedom)
(These are all his books I have been able to find in English; if you know of any others or how to get them, let me know please.)