Prayer of Thomas Merton

by: Larry Davies | Feb 5, 2012

Years ago, I discovered a reflective prayer written 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 I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.”

 
I have no idea where I am going…

I do not see the road ahead…

I cannot know for certain…

Nor do I really know myself…

 

Four times the author expresses doubt and confusion about the future and his understanding of himself. Then he sums up all his doubts with the following statement: “Just because I think I am following your will doesn’t mean that I am actually doing so.”

 

“Just because I think I am following your will doesn’t mean that I am actually doing so.”

 

This is more than just admitting an occasional mistake or lapse of judgment. This is the cry of someone who is asking the deepest question imaginable for a follower of God.

 

“Lord, am I doing what you put me on this earth to do? Am I?”

 

Merton continues: “But I believe that my desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that 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.”

 
I believe that my desire to please you does in fact please you.

I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.

I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

 

Did you catch the key phrase?

 

“A desire to please you.”

 

There is the part that matters. It is the desire to know God, please God and serve God that matters. I hope I have that desire always. I hope that I never do anything apart from that desire.

 

If my desire to please you remains strong then I will please you. So as I pray, I pray for a continued desire to please God. Never let me lose that desire. Never let me give up. If I fall down along the way, may my desire give me the strength and the courage to ask for help.

 

And I know that if I do this…

 

These are the powerful words of faith.

 

And I know that if I do this, You will lead me…

 

This is the faith that calms our fears, satisfies our deepest longings and nourishes our very soul.

 

And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.

 

Lord, help me maintain my desire to please you in all that I am doing.

And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road.
Merton ends the prayer: “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.”

 

 

Therefore…

I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost.

I will not fear for you are ever with me.

You will never leave me to face my perils alone.

 

A reflective prayer in three parts.

 

  1. Lord, I do not know if I am on the right path. Help me!
  2. Lord, help me maintain my desire to please you.
  3. I trust you. I will not fear. You will never leave me to face my perils alone.

 

Are you wondering whether you are doing what God wants you to do? Are you questioning whether you are in fact the person God has called you to be?

 

Contemplate the prayer by Thomas Merton 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.”

 

Pause.

 

“But I believe that my desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that 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.”

 

Pause.

 

“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.”

 

Therefore…

 

I trust you always…

 

I will not fear…

 

“You will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

 

Thank you, God!

 

Amen.


2 responses to “Prayer of Thomas Merton”

  1. Nancy says:

    Dear Larry,
    I was just sitting here this Sunday morning before church asking this very question. And there it was posted on your FaceBook. Thank you so much. I had been asking the Lord what can I do for Him, “Here I am. Send me.” but never felt like I knew the answer. Never considered my desire to His will is His desire. Way cool!!
    Thanks,
    Nancy ( I entered your writing contest one year and won an honorable mention for my poem “Who Do You Say I Am?” …the answer was a traffic light…Do you still hold contests?)

    • larrydavies says:

      Thank you Nancy. I don’t hold the contest anymore, I’m sorry to say. I miss reading others submissions. You are always welcome to send something the Lord gives you. At times I will use them on my blog or website. My email for submissions is LarryDavies@SowingSeedsofFaith.com