Original Document
Original Document
Johannes Kelpius, Excerpt from A Short, Easy, and Comprehensive Method of Prayer, circa 1700.

I have long ago very well conceived how necessary it is not to suffer any Thought to enter into the Mind, neither good nor bad, and to be free from all Figures and Images, in order to perform the inward Prayer.

We ought not to believe, that such a State of inward Silence is Indolence or Loss of Time;  by no means:  on the contrary, the Soul is then more active than ever, since she is practising Faith, Hope and Love;   Faith, in that she believes in God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and is resigned to him, who is so truly present in her as he is in Heaven;  Hope, since she would by no means abide in this State of inward Silence and Prayer, if she did not hope thereby to please God;  but she practises still better the Virtue of Love, in that she is all this while resigned and given up to the Will of God.

 Let this then henceforth be our Prayer:  because in such a reverential Silence the great Virtues are so nobly practised, but chiefly for the sake of pure Love.

 As God is a pure Spirit, he requires a Worship agreeable to his Nature:  and although the other Sorts of Worship are good and holy, yet they are not so properly adapted, and there is no such Affinity between them and his Essence:  as a Spirit, a spiritual Worship belongs to him:  we cannot worship in Spirit, without worshiping in Truth; since the Spirit of the self-existent Word is Truth, and the Spirit of Truth; and all other Methods of Worship are creaturely, and often performed through Selfishness and directed by Self-interest.

 We deceive ourselves in our Ideas and Conceptions of God:  and therefore that Adoration which is formed according to our Ideas can never agree or be similar with what God really is.  Let us then acknowledge, that the Adoration which is performed in Spirit and Truth only, is acceptable to God.

 And it is this Worship which the self-existent Word, Jesus Christ, by his Spirit worketh in us:  as St. Paul attests, saying, that the Spirit prays within us.  But the Spirit prays within us according to what he himself is, that is, after a pure spiritual Manner.

 Hence it is clear and manifest, that the true inward Prayer cannot be performed in us than by the Operation of the Holy Ghost.  For, since we are not able to pronounce with any Piety or due Reverence the dearest Name of JESUS, or call JESUS LORD in Truth, without the particular Assistance of the Holy Ghost;  how much less can we of ourselves with our whole Heart, pray in such a Manner as may be acceptable to him? and not knowing what we shall pray, nor how to pray as we ought;  must not the Spirit then pray for us with unutterable Sighs? and must not the same that searcheth the Hearts, that is God, since he knows what the Holy Ghost in the Spirit of the inward Man desireth, must he not therefore cause him to pray in us?

 Now where the Spirit of God is, there is Freedom, and none may be so insolent, or bestow unnecessary Labours, to prescribe Rules and Limits for such an one. Therefore there must be no compelling to any particular Degree of Prayer, but to open the Heart to the Holy Spirit, and resign it wholly to him, that so he may according to the Strength and Power of his gracious Drawings, incline the Heart in all Freedom, either to speak or to be silent, either to call upon God, or to hearken to him, either to pray for some particular Grace, or to pray for nothing; but to do nothing more than to admire and love, to discover something, or to partake of some sensible Evidence of Grace, or to perceive nothing:  either to be in Fervency, or in Dryness: either in Strength, or in Weakness; either in Light, or in Darkness:  either full of Comfort and Sweetness, or Peevishness and Irksomeness:  either in a secret incomprehensible Way, or in Sensibility.   Whereby it is not difficult to discern this divine Drawing, by the Sweetness and the Purity of its Working, and on the Impossibility to do otherwise:  On the contrary, what is done or performed through the Self-working of our own Spirit, is hard, inconvenient, contrary, unfruitful, unpleasant, and what cannot well be done, or kept without Violence.

 The Scripture calls the Lord the JEHOVAH, the Eternal God, to give us to understand that he is always God, and as God is always to be prayed to, and called upon, and that thereon must all our Service to God, and all our Prayers be forever founded:  therefore Jesus Christ himself saith, that we should pray always, and not faint or be weary; and St. Paul wills, that we pray without ceasing…

Credit: Johannes Kelpius, A Short, Easy, and Comprehensive Method of Prayer. Philadelphia: Henry Miller, 1761.
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