Let’s admit it. At times we all feel like prayer is a duty. We know we should pray more than we do, but sometimes it feels like a chore that wearies us.
But prayer can be drinking in an unceasing flow of divine life!
Madame Jeanne Guyon says this is true in seasons of consolation or desolation.
She woos us into a more heart-felt way of prayer so we can “Experience the Depths of Jesus Christ.” This is the present day title of Jeanne Guyon’s mega best-selling 17th Century devotional book, originally titled “A Short and Very Easy Method of Prayer.”
Recently Kristi and I visited Paris and southern France, places that Jeanne Guyon lived. While there we read her classic devotional book. It helps us to plunge into Scripture like a bee in a flower!
“If you read [the Bible] quickly, it will benefit you little,” Guyon cautions. “You will be like a bee that merely skims the surface of a flower. Instead, in this new way of reading with prayer, you must become as the bee who penetrates into the depths of the flower. You plunge deeply within to remove its deepest nectar.”
She goes on to explain that reading the Bible for scholarship is important, but by itself it won’t help us receive and release the Christ life. But if you pray the Scripture then you can “Plunge into the very depths of the words we read until revelation, like a sweet aroma, breaks out upon you.” (Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ, p. 8)
In southern France we enjoyed walking through vineyards and flower fields.
We also enjoyed the flower garden in the castle we stayed in. Yes, we actually stayed in part of an ancient French castle! (It’s amazing what you can find for cheap on Air B & B.) This picture was taken on “Princess Kristi’s” birthday!
In France we were blessed to meet Jeanne Guyon’s bees! Even Kristi, who normally runs at the sight of a bee, enjoyed watching these bees — from a safe distance!
I had fun writing in my journal:
I see bees buzzing up to lovely flowers. They hover from flower to flower, searching for the sweetest scent. Finding a delectable and nourishing nectar, they land lightly on a flower.
I enjoy seeing this bee gently plunge inward. It almost disappears inside the flower as it keeps sucking up more and more sustenance. Finally it emerges, seemingly with a smile! It buzzes along happily in a bobbling flight onto the next flower!
I feel like I’ve met the ancestors of the bees that Jeanne Guyon admired and modeled her Bible reading after.
Dear Lord, in my Bible reading help me to be more like these French bees. Teach me to pray Lord Jesus, even as you taught Jeanne Guyon. Amen.
Do you ever buzz over the Bible like a bee?
To help us pray Scripture with our heart Jeanne Guyon offers her inspiring heart-felt reflections on the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13).
But even readers of her classic devotional miss the full thrust of her meditations on Jesus’ model prayer because they’re scattered throughout her book. I’ve gathered them into one prayer to help us receive the Madame’s spiritual direction as we ponder and pray with Christ Jesus.
Let’s suck up the sweet nectar of Jesus’ model prayer! It’s heaven’s flower!
Jeanne Guyon’s Meditations on the Lord’s Prayer
Praying the Lord’s Prayer with Jeanne Guyon
Excerpts from Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ
What is Jeanne Guyon’s “A Short and Very Easy Method of Prayer”? Why is this one of the best-selling books in world history?
It’s her delightful method of “Praying the Scripture.” It’s also her way of life as we see in her autobiography. (I recommend Jan Johnson’s condensed and modernized version.)
“I give you an invitation,” Jeanne Guyon offers. “If you are thirsty, come to the living waters. Do not waste your precious time digging wells that have no water in them (John 7:37; Jeremiah 2:13).
“If you are starving and can find nothing to satisfy your hunger, then come. Come and you will be filled…
“Let no one feel left out. Jesus Christ has called us all!” (p. 2)
(What follows are the words of Jeanne Guyon in Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ.)
“Our Father who art in heaven.”
Jesus invites the simple and the child-like to approach their Father. He’s a Father who delights in seeing the humble confidence of his children and is grieved by their distrust.
Dear child of God, your Father has His arms of love open wide to you. Throw yourself into his arms. You who have strayed and wandered away as sheep, return to your Shepherd. You who are sinners, come to your Savior. (pp. xi, 2)
Appreciate that you are in the Lord’s presence, be still and quiet before Him…
And now, there in His presence, simply begin to repeat the Lord’s Prayer. (p. 16)
“Hallowed be Thy name.”
Begin with the precious name, “Father.” Let the full meaning of that word touch your heart.
Believe that the God who lives inside you is indeed so willing to be your Father. Pour out your heart to Him as a little child pours out their heart to their father. Never doubt your Lord’s deep love for you. Never doubt His desire to hear you.
Call on His name and remain before Him silently for a little while. Remain there, waiting to have His heart made known to you. (p. 16)
“Thy Kingdom come.”
As you speak the words, “They Kingdom come” call upon your Lord, the King of Glory, to reign in you.
Give yourself up to God. Give yourself to God so that He may do in your heart what you have so long been a failure in trying to do.
Acknowledge before Him His right to rule over you.
At some point in this encounter with your Lord, you will feel deep within your spirit that it is time to simply remain silent before Him. When you have such a sense, do not move on to the next word — not as long as this sense of His presence continues with you.
You see, it is the Lord Himself, your loving heavenly Father, who is holding you tenderly and quietly. When that sense of waiting before Him has passed, go on. (p. 17)
“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Praying these words, humble yourself before the Lord, earnestly asking Him to accomplish His whole will in you and through you. Surrender your heart into His hands. Surrender your freedom into his hands. Yield to your Lord His right to do with you as He pleases.
Do you know what God’s will is?
His will is that His children love Him. Therefore, when you pray, “Lord, Your will be done,” you are actually asking the Lord to allow you to love Him. So begin to love Him! And as you do, beseech Him to give you His love.
This takes place very sweetly, very peacefully. (p. 17)
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
Come to the Lord as your Shepherd.
Come to Him as a sheep who is looking to his shepherd for his real food. As you come to Him, utter something like this: “Oh, loving Shepherd, You feed Your flock with Yourself, and You are really my daily bread.”
It is proper for you to bring all your needs to your Lord. But whatever you do, do it believing one thing: God is found within you. (p. 18)
“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.”
As you come to [your Father], come as a weak child, one who is soiled and badly bruised — a child that has been hurt from falling again and again. Come to the Lord as one who has no strength of your own, no power to cleanse yourself. Humbly lay your needy condition before your Father’s gaze.
Look to Him as your Physician. Bring to Him all your sicknesses so that He can heal them. But as you come to Him, do not come with anxiety or restlessness. Pause from time to time. Continually yield to God’s working within you.
Lay your entire soul open before God. You can be certain that the Lord will not fail to enlighten you concerning your sin. Your Lord will shine as a light in you; and through His shining, He will allow you to see the nature of all your faults.
This brilliant light is the Sun of Righteousness, Christ Himself. He is shining on you and in you. His divine beams make even your smallest faults visible. Simply remain peaceful and calm before Him as He carries out this examination.
Depend upon your Lord, not on yourself, to expose your sin and to show you the extent of your sin.
Trying by your own effort to produce a contrite heart causes you to lose genuine repentance. Real, genuine repentance is a deep feeling of love pouring itself out within you. (pp. 16, 19, 73-74, 76)
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
What do little children do when they see something that frightens or confuses them? They don’t stand there and try to fight the thing. They will hardly look at what scares them. Rather, children will quickly run into the arms of their mother.
There in Your Father’s arms you are safe.
Turn from the dangers of temptation and run to your God!
You and I are weak. At our best we are very weak. If you, in your weakness, attempt to attack your enemies, you will often find yourself wounded.
So in times of temptation and distraction, remain by faith in the simple presence of Jesus Christ. You will find an immediate supply of strength.
This was David’s resource and support: “I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore, my heart is glad and I rejoice!” (Psalm 16:8-9)
The Lord shall fight for you while you keep silent (Exodus 14:14). (pp. 85-86)
“For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever! Amen”
You should not burden yourself with rituals or memorized prayers [that don’t engage your heart with the Lord’s presence].
If you simply repeat the Lord’s Prayer as I have here described, it will produce abundant fruit in your life! (p. 18)
(These excerpts are gathered from different portions of Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ by Jeanne Guyon, published in 1981 by SeedSowers Publishing. This book was originally published as “A Short and Very Easy Method of Prayer” in 1685. In a few places I did some minor paraphrasing.)