Madam Guyon wrote her Classic book on “Experiencing Union With God Through Inner Prayer and The Way and Results of Union With God.” It was formerly titled, A Short and Easy Method of Prayer.
The writer would highly recommend it to be an excellent book on prayer and meditation for those who want to seek the deeper life and ultimate union of your soul with God. In one of the chapters that are revised in modern English by Harold J. Chadwick she teaches that:
There are two ways of introducing your soul to prayer, which should be pursued for some time. One is meditative reading, and the other is meditation. [Though closely linked, these two are not the same.] [To do] meditative reading, choose [a passage of Scripture from the Bible], or some important practical or speculative truth [from a truly spiritual book], always preferring the practical [from the latter], and proceed in the following way. Whatever passage you have chosen, read only a small amount of it. [Then mentally chew on it], doing your best to taste and digest it- to get all the strong meat (Hebrews 5:14) and nourishment out of it.
Do not go any further while any [spiritual] taste of flavor remains in the passage—[that is, while you are still getting something spiritual out of it]. Then take up your book again and do as before, seldom reading more than half a page at a time. It is not how much we read that benefits us, but the way we read it. Meditation should be done during times that you set aside especially to meditate, not to read. I believe the best way to meditate is as follows:
By faith come into presence of God, then read [or bring to mind] some truth or Bible verse in which there is solid spiritual food. Now think quietly about it, not to reason it out but merely to focus your mind. You use the Bible verse to help you focus your mind so that you will begin to be aware of the presence of God within you, so do not concentrate on the verse itself or try to reason it out.
Because God is found within you, by an active faith in God in your soul, eagerly [and expectantly] sink into yourself—[into your inner most being], preventing all your senses from wandering about [by continuing to focus on your Bible verse]. Doing this will keep you from numerous distractions, remove your thoughts from external things, and draw you near to God. For He is only to be found in your innermost center, which is the Holy of Holies in which He dwells (see 1 Corinthians 6:19, Philippians 2:13). He has even promised to come and make His abode with those who do His will (John 14:23). St. Augustine blamed himself for the time he had lost in not having sought God in this manner of prayer from beginning.
When you have fully withdrawn your thoughts into yourself, you will sense within you the warm presence of God. When your senses are all gathered together and withdrawn from the external to the internal, let your soul linger sweetly and silently on the Scripture verse you have read. Do not try to reason out the truth in it, just let your soul feed on it. Encourage and strengthen your will to do it this by your love for God, rather than tiring your mind with constant study. Now when your affections warmly sense the presence of God within you-which is a state that may appear difficult at first, allow them to rest lovingly [upon the truth] and to absorb or swallow what they have tasted.
For we may enjoy the flavor of delicious food when chewing it, yet we will get no nourishment from the food if we do not stop chewing and swallow it. In the same way, if we try to stir up our affections even more when they are aroused, we extinguish the flame and soul is deprived of its nourishment. We should, therefore, in a restful state of love, full of respect and confidence, swallow the blessed [spiritual] food we have received. This method is highly effective, and will advance the soul more in a short time than any other [method] will in years.
Jeanne narrates that God opened her heart to the glories of the mystery, “which is, Christ in you.” Of that moment, she wrote in her autobiography:
Focus all your thoughts and senses inward on God’s presence, “I had often spoken to my confessor about the great anxiety it gave me to find I could not meditate, nor exert my imagination in order to pray. Subjects of prayer which were too extensive and were useless to me. Those which were short and pithy suited me better.
“At length, God permitted a very religious person……to pass by my father’s dwelling. At my father’s urging……I spoke to him of my difficulties about prayer. He replied, ‘It is, Madame, because you seek without what you have within. Accustom yourself to seek God in your heart, and you will find Him” (see Acts 17:22-28). Having said these words, he left me. They were to me like a stroke of a dart, which penetrated through my heart. I felt a very deep wound, a wound so delightful that I desired not to be cured. These words brought into my heart what I had been seeking so many years. Rather they discovered to me what was there, and which I had not enjoyed for want of knowing it.
Love poured from her heart with a new purity. “The taste of God was so great,” she wrote. “so pure unblended and uninterrupted, that it drew and absorbed the power of my soul into a profound recollection without act or discourse. I had now no sight but of Jesus Christ alone. All else was excluded in order to love with the greatest extent, without any selfish motives or reasons for loving.
Remain Silent in God’s Presence:
First, as soon as the soul by faith places itself in the presence of God, and becomes focused upon Him, let it remain that way for a little time in respectful silence. If at the beginning, however, when you are starting to exercise your faith, your souls feel even a small pleasing of the Divine presence, let it remain there without being concerned about a subject [for prayer]. Do not go any further, but carefully cherish this sensation while it continues. When it begins to lessen, it may stir up some tender emotion in you and immediately return your soul to a feeling of sweet peace. If it does, let your soul remain there quietly. The fire must be gently fanned, but as soon as it is kindled we must stop our efforts, lest we put it out by our activity.
Pray to Please God.
I warmly recommend that you never finish prayer without remaining for a while afterward in a respectful silence. It is also very important for the soul to go to prayer with courage, and to bring with it a pure and disinterested love that seeks nothing from God but to please Him and to do His will. For servants who only work in proportion to their wages, are unworthy of any payment. Pray, therefore, not because you desire spiritual delights, but just to please God. This will keep your spirit tranquil in dry seasons as well as in seasons of comfort, and prevent your being surprised at what appears to be the rejection or absence of God.
In a harsh age of hardships and persecution, Jeanne Guyon found and lived in “the peace of God that passeth all understanding. Today in our hyperactive society and sometimes hyperactive religion, her teachings in this book could well bring a fresh oasis of peace and contentment in the midst of an often stormy and dry desert.