My Favorite Prayers

Prayer is simply and profoundly conversation with God.  When I can’t quite find the words to say, sometimes I pray words others have already written.  I’ve  included some prayers here which I have found helpful.  I hope you find them useful to you when you need a helping hand in talking to God as well.

Prayer by Thomas Merton

This particular prayer, from Thomas Merton, has been my favorite for years.  It touches my heart at the deepest level.  Perhaps that is because this prayer has been a source of strength to me when wrestling with my ever-present questions about God’s will.   Perhaps it is because this prayer shows Merton’s own humble wrestling with a God Merton clearly loves, but Who sometimes seems so far away?  Whatever it is, may this prayer encourage you today, and may it become the prayer of a people in endless formation.

 

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Jeff Hunter (Creative Commons)

 

Dear God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that my desire to please you does in fact please you. I hope that I have that desire in everything that I do.  I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.  I will not fear, for you are always with me, and you will never leave me to face my troubles alone.  Amen.   ~Thomas Merton

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Peace Prayer by St. Francis de Sales

I came across this prayer written by St. Francis de Sales which I think is beautiful:

Be at peace.
Do not look forward in fear to the changes and chances of this life;
Rather, look to them with full confidence that, as they arise,
God, to whom you belong will in His love enable you to profit by them.
He has guided you thus far in life,
and He will lead you safely through all trials;
and when you cannot stand it,
God will bury you in His arms.

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
the same everlasting Father who cares for you today
will take care of you then and everyday.
He will either shield you from suffering,
or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace, then, and put aside all
anxious thoughts and imaginations.  Amen.
~St. Frances de Sales

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Anne Lamott’s Three Short Prayers

Best selling author, speaker and progressive political activist, Anne Lamott writes using self-deprecating humor and openness.  Anne’s writings cover such subjects as alcoholism, single motherhood, depression and Christianity.  Anne’s three favorite prayers are:

“Help, help, help.”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

“Wow!”

That pretty much sums it all up, doesn’t it?!

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The Serenity Prayer

Written on a plaque hanging on the wall in our downstairs hallway growing up were beautiful words I mulled over and over again as a child.  The prayer is called by some, The Serenity Prayer, though untitled when it was written by the twentieth century American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr.  Though much longer in its original form it goes pretty much like this:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

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The ‘Archbishop Oscar Romero Prayer: A Step Along The Way’

This prayer was composed by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, drafted for a homily by Cardinal John Dearden in November 1979 for a celebration of departed priests. In a reflection book written for the anniversary of the martyrdom of Bishop Romero, Bishop Untener included a passage titled “The mystery of the Romero Prayer.”  The mystery is that the words of the prayer are attributed to Oscar Romero, but they were never spoken by him.

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent
enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of
saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an
opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master
builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw

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“Love Them Anyway”

In 1995, author Lucinda Vardey compiled a book of Mother Teresa’s words and wisdom called The Simple Path. In the book, she included a quote from a sign posted on the wall of Shishu Bhavan, the children’s home in Calcutta. That quote, and similar variations, has since become popular all over the world. The original paragraph is attributed to Kent Keith, who wrote and published “The Paradoxical Commandments” in 1968.

 

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

 

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Celtic Prayer

All whom I love in your tender care.

All that I am in your loving care.

All that will be in your perfect will.

 

 

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