"He who prays to God ought to address Him as if He...

"He who prays to God ought to address Him as if He were present; for He is everywhere, ... Seek Him not therefore on the earth or in heaven, or elsewhere—seek for Him in your hearts; do as did the prophet who says, 'I will hear what God the Lord will speak.' In prayer, a man may be attending to the words, and this is a thing of a wholly material nature; he may be attending to the sense of the words, and this is rather study than prayer; and, lastly, his whole thought may be directed to God, and this alone is true prayer. It is unnecessary to be considering either sentences or language—the mind must be elevated above self, and must be wholly absorbed in the thought of God. Arrived at this state, the true believer forgets the world and its wants; he has attained almost a foreshadow of celestial happiness. To this state of elevation the ignorant may arrive as easily as the learned. It even frequently happens that he who repeats a psalm without understanding its words utters a much more holy prayer than the learned man who can explain its meaning. Words in fact are not indispensable to an act of prayer; when a man is truly rapt in the spirit, an uttered prayer becomes rather an impediment and ought to yield to that which is wholly mental. Thus it will be seen how great a mistake those commit who prescribe a fixed number of prayers. God does not delight in a multitude of words, but in a fervent spirit."

Savonarola, as quoted by Mrs. Oliphant in "The Makers of Florence" (p. 263).

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