From Saint Francis and Teresa of Avila to John Wesley and Thomas Merton, here are ways you can pray with luminaries of faith.
Posted in , Oct 29, 2018
You may not realize it, but you probably pray with the faith leaders of past generations. When you say, “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,” you pray with David (Psalm 17:8, NIV). If you pray for someone to “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge,” you pray with Paul (Ephesians 3:18-19, NIV). As you sing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,” you pray with the angels and saints around the throne of God (Revelation 4:8, NIV).
I have found great blessing and enjoyment in praying with other saints, too. Here are six of my favorite ways to pray with historic Christian figures:
1) Saint Francis (Attributed), Monk and Ascetic
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.
2) Teresa of Avila, Mystic and Nun
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing;
God only is changeless.
Patience gains all things.
Who has God wants nothing.
God alone suffices.
3) Thomas à Kempis, Monk and Writer
My most gracious God,
preserve me from the cares of this life,
so that I should not become entangled by them,
and from the many desires of the flesh,
so that I should not be ensnared by pleasure,
and from whatever is an obstacle to the soul,
so that I should not be broken with troubles,
and be overthrown.
4) John Wesley, Preacher and Founder of Methodism
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
5) Jim Elliot, Martyred Missionary to Ecuador
Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.
6) Thomas Merton, Monk and Author
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.
What are your favorite prayers?