There is a scene in the movie Shrek where the limbs of the Gingerbread Man are being pulled off one by one. I felt very much like that at one point during my second pilgrimage, the time after Spain. Significant brain fog prevented me from formulating coherent sentences to be read by the public. Writing was out. So was swimming because I had developed an allergy to chlorine. There was still running. Until my hip hurt so much that an orthopedic surgeon ordered me to give it a rest for awhile.

God had my full attention like never before in my life.

I walked. And prayed. And walked. And prayed.

As I strolled along the Severn River each day, I recited these four prayers, which have remained part of my prayer practice today.

The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.

Prayer by Thomas Merton

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 that 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 will I 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.

The Third Step Prayer

God, I offer myself to Thee …
to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self,
that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help
of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always!

Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek?to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

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Therese Borchard
I am a writer and chaplain trying to live a simple life in Annapolis, Maryland.

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14 Responses
  1. Vartan Agnerian

    Oh Miss Borchard’ what a nice way of therapy through these specifically chosen prayers’
    Specially today I truly needed these calming’ encouraging ‘ uplifting’ hopeful words ‘
    As a recent widow’ going through my grieving and emotional upheavals’ some days are more bearable than others’ Somehow today there were so many triggers and reminders of the forever absence of my one and only love’ my devoted’ supportive husband’ the tears just kept flowing’
    So grateful for your guidance from far far away reaching me in my little corner ‘


  2. Terilee

    Thank you so much for sending these, Therese. I wanted you to know how much they meant to me and that you have helped someone out here in the world that you don’t even know………
    and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
    Blessings to you……..

  3. Anne Jolliffe

    Like others, I have read your articles on depression for several years now and I am finally having the courage to let you know you have saved my life many times, over and over. Your writing connects instantly with my soul and it seems like that is true for many, many others searching for that same connection. Thank you. I stay here another day partly because of you.

  4. Eddie

    Thanks for this post on prayer. Greatful to have found your article on suicide with reference to Robin Williams. Your insight is so valuable, thanks very much!! Plan to get your book, know they will be valuable. God bless

  5. This is all very spiritually uplifting. It’s a real pleasure getting in touch with you. I’m going through the termination of a friendship that I had for several years. It’s not easy by any means, but yet it is necessary. Somehow the road lies ahead and God is with me through and through.

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