This month has been somewhat challenging in ministry. It has been difficult to even focus on prayer and hearing from the Lord. As in my last post I presented the idea of praying the alphabet when we lack the words to connect with God. Another gift that came from my time at the Iron Sharpens Iron Conference for Women was a handout of a prayer. It was the Prayer of Thomas Merton. Thomas Merton was an Anglo-American Catholic writer and mystic. He was a Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani located in Kentucky. He was also a poet, social activist, and student of comparative religion. It is interesting to note the name of the abbey that Thomas Merton called home. It reminds me of the agonizing night that Jesus spent in the garden prior to His crucifixion and death. The copy of Merton's prayer that I received at the conference has the echos of suffering and struggle woven throughout its lines. It was one of the prayers that has helped me through this difficult and uncertain time. The speaker who shared this prayer with us emphasized that it had been a lifeline to her on many occasions. She was especially comforted by one line which states, "But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you." I must agree that sometimes desire is all we have to go on in the midst of tough times. I pray that this prayer will bring you some comfort during those moments when you find yourself in your own "Garden of Gethsemane."
THE PRAYER OF 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 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.