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  • Writer's pictureAugustinian Vocations

10 Augustinian Tips to Cultivate Your Prayer Life

By: Fr. Carlos Medina, OSA

Anicia Proba, a Roman noblewoman (who corresponded with Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Augustine) asked Augustine how she ought to pray. In his answer to her we can find the following ten helpful tips for our prayer life.


1. Consider yourself desolate in this world even if you have many possessions and even if you have many friends and a large family, because all goods on this earth are temporary, and we are but pilgrims on this earth. Keeping this reality in mind will help you recognize the need to always pray: “no matter how many comforts surround us, no matter how many companions on the way we may have, you well know how uncertain all these delights are. And compared to the promised happiness to come, to what could anything on this earth amount, even if it were not uncertain?” (Letter 130:2.5)

2. Pray always for the blessed life of heaven: “Having told you how to pray, I will tell you in two words for what to pray: eternal life.” (Letter 130:4.9)

3. The exercise of desiring heaven helps you to grow in that desire, and in the capacity to receive such a gift: “that much greater our capacity will be, in how faithfully we believe it, how firmly we await it, and how ardently we desire it.” (Letter 130:4.17)

4. During set times of the day, it is good to pray out loud the Our Father, the Psalms, and other vocal prayers for three reasons: “one to put before us symbols of what we desire; two, to see how much progress we have made in meaning the words we pray; and three, to animate and grow in our zeal for God.” (Letter 130:9.18)

5. When you are free from your obligations, make time for more prolonged prayer, and not so much with “long discourses, but with sustained affection.” (Letter 130:10.19)

6. The one who prays believes in, hopes in, and loves God. (Letter 130:13.24)

7. While being careful not to harm your health, fasting aids our prayer life. So does almsgiving. (Letter 130:13.24)

8. If you do not receive what you ask, tolerate such a response with patience since Jesus himself prayed, “Father, not what I want, but what you will. (Matthew 26:39).” (Letter 130:14.26)

9. Pray with these virtues: “hope, fidelity, and love; also with perseverance and patience.” (Letter 130:16.29)

10. Do not judge the prayer life of others: “Each one of you, do what you can to pray. If you cannot do what another one does, but you love what she does, in a sense you also do it through her. The one who is more limited to pray ought not to hinder the one who can pray more, and the one who can pray more ought not to demand more of the one who is more limited. You all owe God your conscience and you owe each other charity.” (Letter 130:16.31)

Learn more about what it means to be an Augustinian by checking out our other blog posts here


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