Presenter Information

Bernard Quinn C.M.


This article examines the importance of prayer in ministry. It describes Vincent de Paul’s spiritual development and Francis de Sales’s influence on him, particularly on his view and method of prayer. Vincent saw prayer as “the ordinary means to acquire the motivation to do God’s loving will and therefore cooperate with God in renewing the earth.” Furthermore, “only the love of God and neighbor, learned and appropriated through regular prayer, could sustain a life committed to the loving service of them.” Prayer enables personal transformation by helping us to become more self-aware. Mental prayer is defined and the method for it is detailed. Although Vincent wanted daily prayer to be strictly observed, he also knew flexibility was sometimes necessary: if some people did not respond to particular forms of prayer, they were to try something else. Sometimes, too, the poor’s needs had to be met first. He therefore saw service as a type of prayer, especially if it was done in a devotional manner. Repetition of prayer is also discussed.