Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Mindful Monday: The Prayer of Thomas Merton

I’ve posted this prayer by Thomas Merton on Beyond Blue before, but it has brought me such comfort in the last few weeks that I wanted to share it all with you again.

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.


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  • Judi

    Thanks for posting this, Therese. I really needed this. It’s been a very, very rough month. God bless you…

  • Claudia

    You touched my heart reading your prayer. Thank you. I will learn to pray with sincerity….

  • Mary

    I feel like this today, with the not knowing. Sometimes you have to proceed blindly ahead and hope something will be there. Thank you.

  • blanche

    Thank you, Therese for this. I retired early because my former job affected my bipolar and sobriety. I didn’t get a job I recently applied for and was in a funk. I’m trusting in God that I didn’t get the job because it would be jumping from the frying pan into the fire (or vice versa), and that He has a better plan for me. Your post has helped me for today. Love, blanche

  • marilyn

    therese thanks this has been a long month and sometimes i wonder if i have enough faith to carry me through.but i see here that i can be lead in the right direction if i just beleive.

  • Anne B.

    This is currently my favorite prayer. Nothing better than being reminded that God grades on the curve (at least I’m praying it’s that way). If you’re familiar with the Liturgy of the Hours and the Office of Readings, there’s a cool one that would have been read yesterday, except that it being the Third Sunday of Advent kind of trumped the feast of St. John of the Cross. But in the second reading from his feast day, St. John writes about how to get to the riches of peace and understanding, we have to go through and embrace the cross. Even as we’re in that shadow, God’s grace goes with us. Hope that helps.

  • Liz

    I’m so glad I stopped in today. What a gift this prayer you posted is Therese. Its love and understanding touched me in ways I needed. Thanks.

  • pinegrove

    I’m so glad I stopped in today to read this prayer. Its love and understanding touched me in ways I really needed. Thanks Therese.

  • Debra Rincon Lopez

    I am so happy to have read this today. Now I can rest easy to know that I am not the only one who continously asks for God’s guidance in Prayer on a daily & nightly basis. This sure makes me feel alot more content with other’s feeling the same way. Addiction is a hard thing to get away from and I have been doing great with God’s help for the past 3-4yrs now! I will continue to ask for his lead for my lifestyle whenever necessary. Cause he knows what’s best for us all. Of that I am sure of.

  • Susan

    One of my favorite prayers. I prayed it through my long depression, and during the divorce, and still today, as I continue to struggle but much less so. Did you know that this was also the prayer of Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker? Yes, so when I pray it, I think of both of them, Thomas and Dorothy, and feel their presence with me. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Jeanne

    Dear Therese,
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful prayer. It is one I will pray and put a copy in my purse. As a new Catholic, I am just beginning to read Merton’s works. God bless you. I hope you are feeling better. I pray for you every day. Jeanne

  • Lynnmarie

    Thank you for this prayer, Therese. It says it all for me, often. Here’s one in a similar vein (found it on Beliefnet) that helps me out also:
    *Prayer When I can’t Pray*
    I try to pray;
    words don’t come.
    I toss and turn
    and feel nothing.
    My mind is dry,
    my heart is dull,
    my soul longs
    for life.
    Hear my silent cry,
    my God, hear me.
    Let me not be
    a shriveled reed
    or an empty shell.
    Breathe on me
    and make me whole.
    Give me passion
    that I may love.
    Then shall my tongue praise
    your holy name
    with words I do not know.
    So be it.
    –Vienna Cobb Anderson
    Speaking of “your holy name”:
    Thy name is my healing, O my God,and remembrance of Thee is my remedy. Nearness to Thee is my hope, and love for Thee is my companion. Thy mercy to me is my healing and my succor in both this world and the world to come. Thou, verily, art the the All-Bountiful, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
    And regarding that “shriveled reed”:
    O God, make me a hollow reed
    from which the pith of self hath been blown
    so that I may become a clear channel
    through which Thy love may flow to others.
    Warmest regards!

  • Deborah Friend

    Some days I can’t lift my head, some days all I want to do is cry, some days I wondor if I’ll know joy before I pass………

  • Manu Salahudin Omowali Mateus

    Thomas Merton was a great friend to Thich Nhat Hanh

  • Joseph

    This is beautiful. Thanks Churck for forwarding it to me. Love, Joe

  • Cheryl

    I believe that whatever comes from the heart is the best prayer you can say.

  • Alice

    I have bipolar depressions so I have beed that hollow reed. Thanks for the posting.

  • Russ

    Didn’t Merton die under mysterious circumstances? I guess that God chose to keep it to Himself, eh? God works thru all or none…and I’d really like to know if he was murdered or not.
    “To follow you sir, I am not content, until I know which way you went.”

  • Rosa

    The prayer sounds to be full of Faith, and Trust which is not limited to oneself.

  • mark dellacqua

    As christians the Bible promises and comforts us with ” the Holy Spirit intercedes for us even when we don’t know what to pray for.”

  • Janet

    Therese, you never cease to amaze me. You have a belief system based on helplessness, weakness and fear. You are dependent on prescription drugs and adamant about defending them, and so many of your articles are about helping the poor, poor pitiful me. This prayer gives you comfort? Do you really think God wants followers who have no idea where they are going and no end goal in sight, who don’t know themselves and will never be sure they are following God’s will? People who pacify this emptiness with a feeble hope that because they desire to follow God’s will they might be doing so, and hence God will come along and do everything for you, taking away all your (many) fears. Is this the image that you were created of? Well, I guess he’ll have to then, won’t he? You will spend your whole lifetime in the baby carrier on his stomach. Never will you learn to walk, talk, think and co-create on your own. What did he give you a brain for? The ability to reason? To visualize? To plan? Since when are we to wallow in uncertainty and just hope God will fix it all? This is as bad if not worse than the premise that we are all born miserable sinners, and we can have no connection to God without accepting Jesus as our savior and giving a lot of money to a church.
    You can have some uncertainty, and hope and faith and trust are important, and of course we must think and feel that when we think and feel God. But Good Lord, stop being such a whiney whimp and get a clue on your own, take a stand, get a life. You have created this website to validate and further your beliefs, but your beliefs are so LIMITED in scope. There is no where to grow! WHAT YOU FOCUS ON YOU GET MORE OF. MORE DEPRESSION, MORE NEED FOR DRUGS, MORE WALLOWING IN HELPLESSNESS. ALL THAT YOU TAKE WITH YOU ON THIS JOURNEY BECOME YOUR KARMIC BURDEN LATER.

  • Michelle Thomas

    Beautiful prayer!!! This prayer is full of love, hunger and passion to live as holy as possible!!!

  • sunne ann

    Janet…I needed your comment. I was feeling like I was some kind of failure because, I, too, disagrred with what I read. The prayer says that I am never alone…but I am. And I have prayed every second all my life for the wrongs of my life to be made right. I try so hard to be a good, loving person and I get the short end all the time. My ex- stopped loving me (not blond and slim enough) then turned our children against me. A horrible relative molested both me and my mother when we were children, and other relatives let him. The doctors and pharmaceutical companies made things so much worse when I asked for help. I am now disabled and alone. I will never stop praying and hoping but the writing is on the wall and this kind of prayer makes me feel angry…at the doctors, my relatives, at God. I am alone, no matter how much faith I have.


    WOW!This is in response to what Janet wrote.
    Janet its interesting to see that you didnt get any of Mr. Merton’s prayer at all and than just attacked Therese who i dont always agree with either but certainly dont publicly degrade sense i don’t know everything like you!
    Anxiety and depression drugs where made for folks with real dibilitating problems and these medications allow them to function (not as well as you of course) in this world.
    We live in very different times of uncertainty. with economics being a key leader in alot of peoples lives as the role in anxiety as well as crime etc..
    You are just super though with the ability to take on the world with no worries and i commend you for that! RIGHT!
    Lighten up Janet and have an ounce of compassion for your neighbor, because GOD forbid you need their help one day!


    To Janet and Sunne ann and anyone else that thinks their way!
    Oh ye of little faith, you are like those with the faith of a musturd seed but this man Thomas Merton yet uncertain maybe has the faith that could move mountains. He still believes that his maker is by his side regardless of the turmoils and he isnt saying woe is me but Lord you are there! Amen to that i say! Amen to that! >>

  • Lori

    Dear Theresa, I don’t suffer from depression, and only mildly from anxiety, but your posts have enriched my life more than I can tell you. I have several friends to whom I send your articles each time they appear, and they seem to receive benefit from them too. If not for you, I might never have heard of Fr. Henri Nouwen. I ordered several of his books, but “Inner Voice of Love” saved my life when I was going through the breakup of a 15-month, online romance. No, I had no suicidal thoughts, but the idea of not waking up certainly had its appeal. Thank you for posting Thomas Merton’s prayer. Unlike some others who have posted here, it comforts me. You’ve mentioned that you are a recovering alcoholic, among other things, and I wanted to share with you that I am too. God willing, I’ll celebrate 35 years continuous sobriety on October 1, 2010 (I’m 63 years old). I came into the Fellowship as an athiest, and almost 35 years later I call myself an “agnostic who’s willing to believe.” I read a LOT of spiritual material, and when I come across the word “Jesus,” I just change it in my mind to “God.” One of my most oft said prayers is “God, help Thou my unbelief.” Please keep posting prayers, Dear. They help!!

  • Lori

    One more thing, Theresa….if there’s any way I can be of service to you, please let me know. Yours in Love and Service, Lori

  • Elizabeth

    Dear Therese,
    I want to admit something that is a little embarrassing — I doubted that you were a real person with a real mission. Gradually, reading your wonderful, inspirational articles, I’ve become a believer… and I cannot thank you enough for the time you put into these beautiful message
    This prayer by Thomas Merton came the day before I am scheduled for serious medical procedures. I love Jesus Christ with what I believe is my whole heart, but, whatever cracks and crannies that may not be given to Him, I give now… It’s all His, and I know He will walk with me through anything life can deliver.
    Thanks, dear.

  • Bill

    Poor Janet, such anger and hatefulness in that nearly incoherent diatribe. I think the poem is wonderful and full of truth. I guess some people just can’t see that for themselves. Also, some people just don’t understand that some of us need to take meds every day to live anything resembling a normal life. I have bipolar 1 myself, and I thank God that I was diagnosed correctly (though 37 years too late) and given my life back. I finally came to understood what it meant to love God and follow the wisdom and grace of Jesus, which was a real surprise considering the intense negativity I’d had about religion earlier on. I’m a member of a small Episcopalian Church in northwestern Georgia, and between this and being on my meds I can have a fulfilling and graceful life now.
    I’m going to dump that prayer into a doc then print it out to place on the wall over my computer.

  • Sherry

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful prayer! It hit home as I lost my job this week. Not sure how I will be able to pay my bills is beyond scary with a house to support. I felt that God and Christ led me to read this so I can be reminded of the power of faith and prayer. Fortunately I am a Christian and belong to a Church of loving people that care and it has truly made all the difference in my life and changed my heart forever and helped me to do God’s will, like the special prayer states. God bless you!

  • Marie

    “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” I needed to hear these words so much today Therese.

  • victor

    Dear dear Theresa Thank you so much for this blog.Unlike jan et I have experienced God¨´s help all my life.As a little boy I broke my arm and doctors decided on an amputation.My mother silently prayed and the miracle happened.Now I see without that arm I would never become
    a physician.Dreadful illnes:s a bipolar disease.Menier disease(deafness)have been my enemies but I always have survived thanks to my faith.And today,Janet could you rationally go on living in a mine deep deep under the desert for over two months ?Is it a lie that these miners survived thanks to dsicipline and faith?I am proud to be a Chilean who believes in God.Thank you dear Theresa

  • Randy De Trinis

    You may enjoy this site on Thomas Merton.

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