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To Aim First for Prayer That Is Persevering and Faithful

The passages below are from the book Time for God by Fr. Jacques Philippe.

Someone who sets out on a life of prayer should aim in the first place at fidelity. What matters not is whether our mental prayer is beautiful, or whether it works, or whether it is enriched by deep thoughts and feelings, but whether it is persevering and faithful. Our first concern, if I may put it that way, should be faithfulness in praying, not the quality of our prayer. The quality will come from fidelity. Time spent faithfully every day in mental prayer that is poor, arid, distracted, and relatively short is worth more, and will be infinitely more fruitful for our progress, than long, ardent spells of mental prayer from time to time, when circumstances make it easy.

—from Chapter 1, Part 4


Sometimes, though, one must be careful not to be overly ambitious in deciding how much time to devote to prayer. There is a risk of taking on more than one could handle and end up discouraged. A relatively short time (twenty minutes or a half an hour), spent faithfully on mental prayer every day, is better than two hours now and then.


This is all the more important because experience shows that it is often in the last five minutes that our Lord visits us and blesses us, after we have spent all the rest of the time working “without catching anything” like St. Peter and his fishing.

—from Chapter 4, Part 1

Both passages above, with regard to prayer, remind me a bit of this quote from J.R.R. Tolkien about receiving Communion.


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