Prayer by Thomas Merton

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This is one of my favorite prayers by Thomas Merton. It has given me much strength in times of ambiguity and darkness, so I thought I’d share it with you in case you need to hear it too.

My Lord 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 the desire to please You
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
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 ever with me,
and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.
–Thomas Merton

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16 thoughts on “Prayer by Thomas Merton

  1. Thanks, Therese. You always write the right thing at the right time.
    I know the Christmas season is one of light, but sometimes (especially in winter)
    the darkness overcomes it.

  2. But what if you have lost your connection to God? What if you don’t feel comfortable with patriarchical religion and need more of a feminine Almighty?

    1. Donna, I think it’s okay to be in the place spiritually that you are. Maybe you will never have have Thomas Merton’s type of faith, and you don’t have to pray a prayer like this one. (I probably won’t). Keep searching, if you want to. But not all of us believe these things. I don’t care for this prayer. But I do think it is helpful to some. I think Therese was just offering it to those who might find it useful and comforting. I usually make up my own prayers.

    2. @Donna
      God is a spirit. Spirits don’t have bodies and thus are not male or female. Femininity reflects one aspect of God and masculinity reflects another, but God is not the reflection. My suggestion would to pray to God as Love rather than as a father or something else. Love in person and the source of all love.

      I get too deep. 😛

    3. Donna, that is what I am faced with year-round. I have no faith. I have no god. It isn’t difficult (anymore) to say that but I know it is shocking and insulting to most who read it. I cannot pretend to myself or others to hold to any religion in appropriate times. But it is difficult to be the only one in the room who doesn’t share the feelings of the group.

  3. Donna, God never leaves us, he is always with us. It is a personal relationship we can have without any church group. I know because when last year I lost my home, husband and everything and in my despare in my darkest hour I found God. I have been reading my Bible every day since and have found he was always there, I was too distracted to feel his presence. I will pray for you to feel his love and presence too.

    1. I find it quite offensive and arrogant to believe that you speak for any god or know whether it “leaves” us. Those with ideas like this sound like they are peddling magic.

  4. This was wonderful. Sorry Donna that you lost your connection, but He is there waiting for you. Or She if that makes you feel better.

  5. Thanks to JanineG, Jo, Tesd, Ava and Lucinda. You have all given me something to think on. Still on my journey. Terese, I do like your columns and get lots of help and hope from them.

  6. Thanks Therese for the reminder. This has always been one of my favorite prayer. It’s also a blessing to know that I’m not the only one – even though I’m 61 – to not have a clue what I’m doing or where I’m going. Be blessed and Happy Holidays

  7. I just found your site and I’m so appreciative of the information. Your wisdom is “right on”…yes I’m 68…retired teacher and your approach with humility and humor is refreshing. I admire your 26 years of sobriety. Alcohol has crept up and slammed me down, I look forward to reading and finding help in your newsletter. Thank you.

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