Simple Steps in Prayer from St. Teresa of Avila

“The sound of my lover! here he comes springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills.” // Song of Songs 2:8

We celebrate the feast of Saint Teresa of Avila, one of the four female Doctors of the Church, on October 15th. Teresa was instrumental during the Counter-Reformation and her treatises on prayer and the Christian life remain one of the greatest treasures in Christian spirituality.

So what does Saint Teresa say about prayer? A lot, of course, but it boils down to a handful of simple tenets. We will look at just a few today. Perhaps you find prayer difficult in this season and you’re not sure how to begin or reconnect with the Creator.

If you’ve been struggling with prayer, start with this advice from Saint Teresa of Avila:

  • Pay attention // Saint Teresa warns against mindless prayer. She insists that attention on the Beloved is necessary for productive prayer. Teresa definitely understands the distractions we endure as humans and speaks to those as well, but she encourages us to always bring our minds back to the Lord. How can we draw our attention to Him again and again today?
  • Treat Him with intimacy // Saint Teresa emphasized true intimacy with Jesus in prayer. She spoke to Him as a dearest friend, a spouse, and shared that level of commitment and communion with Him. She spoke with Him about everything, knowing that He cares about the smallest details of our lives. How can we bring everything to Jesus, even what we deem silly or inconsequential?
  • Be authentic // To this end, Saint Teresa was always authentic with Our Lord. She held nothing back. Part of the reason she was able to reach such heights of mysticism was because she was willing to be vulnerable and allow the Lord into every part of her heart. She was honest with Him and faithful to Him no matter the cost. How can we be more honest in prayer?

Saint Teresa gives us a wonderful guide to deeper intimacy with God in prayer. It starts small and simple. Let’s choose one of the tips above to focus on and watch how the Holy Spirit moves!


This post courtesy of Blessed is She.

Image: Deposit Photos

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