Some of My Favorite Prayers

Orange-Pear Biter
Orange-Pear Biter

I keep favorite prayers for extra defense for my battle with fear:

(1)  I have made mention of one of my favorite prayers. It is by Rumi and is titled “The Guest House”. Often times we are tempted to ignore feelings we may label as negative. But it is only by acknowledging them that they can converted to positive energy.

This being human is a guest house,
every morning, a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness:
some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all,
even if they are a crowd of sorrows
who violently sweep your house empty of all its furniture.

Still treat each guest honorably;
they may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice:
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

This poem also helps us to begin learning about our observer self.

(2)  My absolute favorite prayer of all time is 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 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.”

(3)  The following definition of serenity is taken from Wikipedia–

“The Serenity Prayer is the common name for an originally untitled prayer written by the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in the 1930s or early 1940s.

Niebuhr seems to have written the prayer for use in a sermon, perhaps as early as 1934 (the date given in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, 16th edn., ed. Justin Kaplan, 1992, p. 684), perhaps in the early 1940s.

Elisabeth Sifton’s book The Serenity Prayer (2003) quotes this version as the authentic original:

“God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.”

The earliest verifiable printed texts so far discovered are an approximate version (apparently quoted from memory) in a query in the “Queries and Answers” column in The New York Times Book Review, July 12, 1942, p. 23, which asks for the author of the quotation; and a reply in the same column in the issue for August 2, 1942, p. 19, where the quotation is attributed to Niebuhr and an unidentified printed text is quoted as follows:

“O God and Heavenly Father,
Grant to us the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed; the courage to change that which can be changed, and the wisdom to know the one from the other, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”

The prayer became widely known when it was adopted in modified form by Alcoholics Anonymous; an AA magazine, The AA Grapevine, identified Niebuhr as the author (January 1950, pp. 6-7), and the AA web site continues to identify Niebuhr as the author.”

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