Joan Chittister is a Benedictine nun, author, speaker, international leader for peace and justice, and a Living Spiritual Teacher on this website. In this brief but enlightening book, Chitttister sheds light on 42 attitudes which prepare us for prayer: "It is an examination of what we ourselves must bring to the discipline of prayer whatever forms it takes in order to make prayer as authentic and real, a deep and profound part of our lives."
Most of us are used to thinking of prayer as just consisting of adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, and dependence on God. Here Chittister expands the circle of meaning. Each chapter in the book offers a reflection on a way into prayer, a mantra to be used to make sure that the attitude sinks into our consciousness, and a passage from Scripture.
Here are some of the qualities she covers: enthusiasm, discipline, humility, gratitude, acceptance, patience, awareness, purpose, simplicity, trust, integrity, and attention (see the excerpt). We found the mantras (short sentence prayers) to be especially helpful. Here are a few examples:
• "God, give me the grace to 'till and keep' the part of the world you have given into my care."
• "God grant me the gift to live with enthusiasm, to accept life with open, trusting arms."
• "Give me the grace to be quiet, to listen for your voice in my heart."
• "Give me a heart as broad as your own so that I might see You in everyone, everywhere and respond with love and service."