Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


Mindful Monday: Pray As If It’s Your First Time

posted by Beyond Blue

The following reflection by Thomas Merton was published in a collection of Merton’s letters entitled “The Hidden Ground of Love.”
s-FORGIVENESS-large.jpg

There must be a time of day when the man who makes plans forgets his plans, and acts as if he had no plans at all.
There must be a time of day when the man who has to speak falls very silent. And his mind forms no more propositions, and he asks himself: Did they have a meaning?
There must be a time when the man of prayer goes to pray as if it were the first time in his life he had ever prayed, when the man of resolutions puts his resolutions aside as if they had all been broken, and he learns a different wisdom: distinguishing the sun from the moon, the stars from the darkness, the sea from the dry land, and the night sky from the shoulder of a hill.

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  • Lauren Wallace

    When in time of trouble or peaceful times..i pray. Prayer is powerful
    It soothes the mind and soul.

  • Rosa

    For me, prayer has been liberating. Pray is so different from merely speaking words. When it comes from the heart and coupled with belief, how wonderful it is. Sometimes, it becomes necessary for me to say a silent prayer, and manytimes it becomes necessary for me to pray loudly, give all of myself especially when the troubles of the world are seemingly so overwhelming. When I give all of myself, the empty spaces have a way of being filled in a manner that nothing else can do. It is so helpful for me to pray in a manner that no one is listening, except God.

  • Rick

    Thank YOU, Therese, for bringing us and reminding us of the “wonder-filled” words and thoughts of Thomas Merton. Laura and Rosa’s words and thoughts on prayer are also gorgeous, insightful, and graceful.
    I, too, find prayer as a voice of my faith. And I believe prayer finds ME. You see, when I pray I love the universality of Catholic
    prayers like our Lord’s Prayer (the Our Father) and the Hail Mary,
    as I contemplate people all over the world saying the same prayer
    in churches, at home, when they are working, when they are giving thanks to God, and yes, when they are asking for help.
    One other thing I’ve learned in prayer. And it’s about this saying: “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” When I pray I can often see the beautiful, innocent face of our Blessed Mother. Yet, I have not yet seen the face of our Lord, Jesus. I find this quite a reason to pray. Thank you.

  • Onyx

    I Agree totally with Rosa, The end of her statement reminds me of a story that my grandfather once told me. when he was in the army stationed in Germany, he missed his wife and children and was really fighting a war inside a war on the account that he was an African American man, segregated from the other soldiers a bit of a second class
    citizen ( A story within a story but we will get to this later.) He felt so much pressure and negative energy everyday and he had a colonel that really didn’t like him, In those days he couldn’t discern whether it was the color of his skin, his class, or if it was just the ranking that made the colonel have an extra eye on him, never granting any of his request or listening to his appeals for equal rights within the unit. Until one day my grandfather reading his Bible, at the end of his bunk- (He confided in me that he never felt so alone.)He kept to himself but others perceived him as depressed. It had been many months since he received a letter from my grandmother and he was sure she was gone astray, No one really talked to him even the other African American soldiers because they deemed him a trouble maker and didn’t want the same treatment. So all he had was God, But on this day when he had some down time while others were reading their long heart filled letters from loved ones, The colonel came in. My grandfather stood at attention as well as the others just as straight, the colonel walked along the bunks expecting until he passed my grandfather. My grandfather said he put out a sigh of relief because before anything that he did the colonel would find fault and blast it over the whole unit to make a mockery of him. At first the things that he made fun of really hurt, it just didn’t feel like the unit was laughing it felt like the whole world was chiming in. But after awhile my grandfather developed a thick skin and realized he couldn’t get depressed because someone was mocking him he was in a war for Christ sake, where others were getting shot in the arms and legs and going to the hospital for mental evaluations some even getting killed in the line of duty. What could a few words really do to ones spirit?,( I say a lot but that’s just me) my grandfather soothed himself. So on this day when the colonel walked past him he felt a sigh of relief, Until the colonel backed up and looked down at my grandfathers reading material, He stared at it even. In a split second it seemed time had stopped, I wondered where the colonel received his faith as i saw him glance over to another solider who I believed to be the only friend he had in the unit, My grandfather knew in a split second that the soldier that he befriended was not a friend and that he in all his days now was surrounded by enemies. In that moment my Grandfather said his heart sank into his stomach, he never felt a pain so sharp, He had confided in this solider he was like a brother to him that he never had. After the colonel glanced at the other soldier my grandfather had to make sure his hunch was right (It was like i was my grandfather I felt every word of this story as if it was me) in times like these you just wanted to make peace and confront the situation but they were in the army and it would be considered weak to discuss , You had to be smart and dance around the issue until the other one would get the point sometimes the revenge would just go on for weeks and others would get involved and it was nothing positive or productive manifested but more chaos on top of chaos while we all were trying to be kind to one another but under neath striking a knife so deep it could come out of the other side. My grandfather said at that moment he knew what it felt like to be shot in the heart. The colonel picked up the Bible and asked him how did he pray? My grandfather felt a bit taken back and questioned him “Sir?”. “Sir” the colonel mocked him ‘ I suppose you do something like this.. Dear God that are in heaven please forgive me for my sins, I am so sorry for the judgments that i have made on others as it has come back to me ten fold, I know you love me and you would never put any burden to big that i could not get through, I know in faith that you can move mountains there is nothing that is “impossible”, Please forgive me for judging others a s my judgments have come back on me. I have a heavy heart in-which it use to be as light as feather but now the dark and the light have mingled and the attack on my spirit and faith have been questioned, I am a sinner and I try very hard to become the person that you want me to be, I know that no one can testify without a testimony and i am here today still standing because it is your will even though at times i wish the slowing of my heart beat would stop from all of the betrayal and beat as fast as it did before my eyes were open. I want to succeed in this world as it is your promise that I do so, But than I must question exactly what that looks like and if Success is my vision or is it the picture or catalyst to your desire, So I let go. I let go of what I thought my happiness should look like, What I should be doing and any position I have in this war for it is you who knows all and has guided me through and to the storm so in faith, While my faith is being tested I shall surrender my life and will to you. Please let my love know that I love with all my heart and accept every fiber of being good and bad and know that if we shall not meet again that out love brought us here and if it is your will we will meet there. If and when, my lips are always placed on yours, even if it is only in my dreams..I to shall survive.” My grandfather watched as the colonel recited his words and prayers seemingly to the whole world. He felt weak as if he took the only good, strength and power he had away from him and used it to devour the rest of his heart. He looked into the colonels eyes and wished he knew another language the colonel could not understand.(My grandfather struggled not to have a cold heart) It seemed everything hated about the world was being projected on to my grandfather as if He had to be exactly who the colonel was or else my grandfather was a fake. The colonel snapped his fingers and my grandfathers friend-enemy walked over to a drawer and pulled out a bundle of letters and handed it to the colonel, The colonel walked over and dumped the letters on the floor for my grandfather as he looked down at the address and noticed they were from my grandmother not looking to long away from the soldiers stance of respect knew they were from his love because he saw the address, 12345 Charlie way. my grandfather did not have a chance even the power to love who he wanted this was even being controlled by the colonel, My grandfather couldn’t wait to get out of the army so he could have some support and finally if God willing feel his true love. Why was love such a hated thing on this earth my grandfather questioned as he looked into the colonels eyes and the smoke of the war around him.. My grandfather wondered how the colonel heard my grandfathers prayers, my grandfather in that moment realized he would never pray out loud again at the bunks because he knew it was being used against him. “You Got something to say Boy”? The colonel must have noticed grandfathers eyes twitching as he knew the love that My grandfather had for his love was among all other equal to my grandfathers children and he would walk through fire for it, even if in the back of his mind he knew they had private matters The Colonel looked around as if he was taken a back at the gull of he. to discuss but that was their business and so was his prayers. My Grandfathers blood started to rise as in this moment he didn’t care any longer? “Why do you hate me?” My grandfather asked in front of God and everyone. and answered”

  • Onyx

    My Grandfathers blood started to rise as in this moment he didn’t care any longer? “Why do you hate me?” My grandfather asked the colonel in front of God and everyone(Praying out loud). The Colonel answered…
    The end of the story was a bit jumbled through translation…But here it is the way it is meant to be.

  • Shelley

    So lovely. Thank you.

  • BUBBA

    PRAYING TO ME IS SIMPLY CARRYING ON A CONVERSATION WITH GOD ANYTIME AND ANY PLACE. HOWEVER THERE ARE SPECIAL TIMES WHEN PRAYER IS NEEDED SUCH AS BEFORE I READ MY BIBLE OR OTHER SPIRITUAL MATERIAL OR BEGIN MY MEDITATION.MEDITATION CAN ALSO BE A FORM OF SILENT PRAYER.MY PRAYERS USUALLY BEGIN WITH THANKS FOR MY BLESSINGS AND THE BLESSINGS FOR MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND AMERICA.I THEN ASK FOR THOSE THINGS I FEEL I NEED ESPECIALLY FOR HEALING FOR ME, MY FAMILY, FRIENDS AND THOSE I DONT KNOW BUT NEED GOD’S HEALING.DEPENDING ON THE SITUATION MY PRAYERS CAN LAST A FEW SECONDS OR SEVERAL MINUTES. THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF MY PRAYERS IS ASKING FOR THEM TO BE ANSWERED BASED ON GODS WILL AND TO HEAR MY PRAYERS THRU JESUS CHRIST.ONE LAST THING IS WE MUST NOT ONLY TALK TO GOD BUT TO LISTEN FOR HIS RESPONSES.

  • Dina

    What did the Colonel say or do, Onyx?

  • Barbara Waters CapshawT

    What did the Colonel say or do. How was the ending between them?

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