Three Methods of Prayer
St. Ignatius of Loyola
THIRD METHOD OF PRAYER
Pray by the rhythm of breathing.
Before entering on the prayer, let the spirit rest a little, the person being seated or walking about, as may seem best to him, considering where he is going and to what.
A Preparatory Prayer, as, for example, to ask grace of God our Lord that I may be able to know in what I have failed as to the Ten Commandments; and likewise to beg grace and help to amend in future, asking for perfect understanding of them, to keep them better and for the greater glory and praise of His Divine Majesty.
With each breath in or out, one has to pray mentally, saying one word of the Our Father, or of another prayer which is being recited: so that only one word be said between one breath and another, and while the time from one breath to another lasts, let attention be given chiefly to the meaning of such word, or to the person to whom he recites it, or to his own baseness, or to the difference from such great height to his own so great lowness. And in the same form and rule he will proceed on the other words of the Our Father; and the other prayers, that is to say, the Hail Mary, the Soul of Christ, the Creed, and the Hail, Holy Queen, he will make as he is accustomed.
First Rule. The First Rule is, on the other day, or at another hour, that he wants to pray, let him say the Hail Mary in rhythm, and the other prayers as he is accustomed; and so on, going through the others.
Second Rule. The second is that whoever wants to dwell more on the prayer by rhythm, can say all the above-mentioned prayers or part of them, keeping the same order of the breath by rhythm, as has been explained.