Transcribed by E.T.H. III from A Treatise of Prayer and of the Fruits and Manner of Prayer by the most Reverend Father in God John Fisher Bishop of Rochester, Priest and most eminent Cardinal of the most holy Catholic Church, of the title of S. Vitalis. Translated into English by R.A.B. Printed at Paris by Will Baudry. MDCXXXX.
Of Premeditation, before Prayer.
When you intend to offer the Sacrifice of prayer, & praises, to almighty God, and prepare you to prayer.
First, recall your Senses, and gather together your wits, & with an humble, attentive, and devout mind, lift up your heart to almighty God : Reverently standing upright, with your hands joined before your breast, and lifted up.
Pause then a little while yourself wherefore you come, whereabout you go, & what business you now take in hand.
Also, before whom you are present, the petitions you will ask, and the offering you mean to make.
Remember you are now, before a most mighty & divine Majesty ; The Creator and Redeemer of yourself, and all Mankind, whom infinite number of Angels, and all the Celestial multitude do continually adore and worship, with fear and trembling.
And yourself, a most wretched & unworthy creature, frail, unstable, falling from him : dull, and unapt to call upon him. And yet his mercy is so much, and his goodness so great, that he is ever, ready to hear, and graciously to grant your lawful requests, and to receive you when you come unto him : and also to forgive you all your offenses, when you are heartily sorry and ask mercy for them.
Likewise, he is one that hath, and doth most bountifully bestow upon you, all things necessary for body and soul : and hath and doth defend and keep, feed and nourish you, and all creature.
Then think, that it is before this divine Presence, before the which you presume to enter, and to present yourself : to intreat, beseech, and require mercy, and forgiveness of sins, for yourself and all others : and to offer the sacrifice of Praise, and Thanksgiving unto him.
Therefore with all humility and reverence prostrate yourself at the feet of his mercy : and endeavor with devotion, to accomplish that you come for. But before you begin your prayers, that you may the rather offer them with cleanness of heart, and give thanks to God, not only for his benefits, but chiefly for his goodness in himself, make it fully known to your heart, as true, that it is uncertain whether you shall live to the end of your Prayers or not : Endeavor therefore that they may be such, as if it should so happen before you had ended them, that so, through the mercy of God, they may be acceptable unto him, for the full forgiveness of your offenses, and the receiving you into his grace and favour.
And that you may the more perfectly begin, continue, and end, all your prayers, and other good actions, in the Name, and to the honour, and glory of God, the most holy and blessed Trinity : and have in mind his great goodness towards you, and give thanks for them : and also that the Passion of our Lord, may take the more effect, the benefit of it may be imparted, the fruit thereof enjoyed : and in all spiritual practices, remembered : You may, if it please you, begin your Prayers, in manner as followeth. Meekly falling on your knees, your heart and joined hands being elevated to God.