22. The first duty of all human beings, the first act which should mark the return to activity each day, is prayer. Most people pray, but only a very few really know how to pray! Of what importance to God are sentences which are mechanically linked together from habit, a duty to perform which weighs as heavily as any other duty?
The prayers of a Christian, of a Spiritist, or of whatever cult, must be made as soon as the Spirit returns to the fleshly yoke; it should be raised up to the feet of the Divine Majesty with humility and profundity, in an impulse of gratitude for all the many benefits received till that day; for the night just past during which it was permitted, although without knowing, to get close to friends and guides so as to be able to absorb new strength and more perseverance through this contact. You should lift yourself up humbly to the feet of the Lord, so as to offer up your weaknesses, plead for help, indulgence and mercy. This prayer should be profound, because it is your soul that should raise itself up to the Creator, and in doing so, it should become transfigured, as was Jesus on the mount when He showed the radiant splendour of His hope and love.
Your prayer should include a request for His blessings for all those things you really need. Therefore it is useless to ask the Lord to shorten your tests and trials, or to give you happiness and riches.
Preferably ask for more precious items, such as patience, resignation and faith. Do not say, as many do, "It is not worth praying because God does not answer my prayers." In most cases what do your ask Him for? Have you ever remembered to ask Him to help you with your own moral betterment? Oh no! Seldom have you done this. What you most remember to ask for is success in all your Earthly projects and then you complain that God does not bother about anyone and that if He did there would not be so many injustices! How foolish! How ungrateful! If you searched deep into your conscience you would almost always find the motive for your suffering. So then, before all else ask that you may become a better person and you will see that you are showered with consolations and blessings (See chapter 5, item 4).
You should pray constantly without seeking your chapel or falling on your knees in public. Daily prayer is the fulfillment of your duty without any exception of any kind whatsoever. Is it not an act of love towards God when you help your brothers and sisters in any moral or physical need? It is an act of gratitude to lift up your thoughts to Him when something happy occurs, when you avoid an accident, or even when some simple triviality grazes our soul. So do not forget to say: Blessed be my Father in Heaven! Is it not an act of contrition to humble yourself before the Supreme Judge when you feel yourself weakening, even if only by means of a fleeting thought, so as to say:
Forgive me, Father, for l have sinned (from pride, selfishness or lack of charity); give me the strength not to fail again and courage to make reparation for my fault!
This is quite apart from regular morning and evening prayer and those for sacred days. As you see, prayer can be for all moments without interrupting your activities. On the contrary, in this manner it sanctifies them. You can be sure that just one of these thoughts, if sent from the heart, is listened to by our Celestial Father even more than those long repetitious prayers said out of habit and almost always without any determined motive behind them only because the habitual hour is calling mechanically - V. MONOD (Bordeaux, 1862).