Thomas Merton Prayer: One of The Most Powerful Prayer I Know

A Journey Begins

As a child, I remember a dusty old bookshelf in my grandmother’s living room. Among the myriad worn spines, one title always caught my eye: The Seven Storey Mountain. It was an autobiography of Thomas Merton, whose journey from a worldly scholar to a Trappist monk always seemed to me both profoundly mysterious and deeply inspiring.

His words, especially the Thomas Merton Prayer, have echoed through the decades. They touch lives with their humble sincerity and search for divine guidance.

A Life Transformed

Thomas Merton, born in France in 1915 and raised in the United States, led a life that reads like a quest novel. He was in pursuit of spiritual truth. His early years were marked by tragedy and unrest; his mother died when he was six, and his father passed away when he was sixteen.

Subsequent years saw him at Cambridge and then Columbia University, where he eventually found stability and a clearer direction for his life. His conversion to Catholicism in 1938 marked a pivotal turn, which led him to join the Trappist monks at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky in 1941.

Here, Merton found his calling not just in silent contemplation but also in writing. He penned over 70 books, hundreds of poems, and articles advocating for peace and spiritual understanding across religious boundaries.

The Power of the Thomas Merton Prayer

The essence of Merton’s spiritual legacy can perhaps best be distilled through his prayer. It is a model of humility and the seeking of divine will. The Thomas Merton Prayer is not so much a request but a meditation on surrender and the quest for direction.

It reads:

“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.”

Thomas Merton

Walking in Faith

Reflecting on this, I’m reminded of various moments in my own life when the road ahead was shrouded in uncertainty. For example, when I moved to a new city with no job, few acquaintances, and many doubts, Merton’s prayer was a balm during those restless nights when the future seemed a puzzle whose pieces I couldn’t yet fit together.

The Thomas Merton Prayer serves as a reminder that the journey of faith is not about clarity but about trust.

It teaches us that understanding our journey is not a prerequisite for embarking on it or for its ultimate fruition. It’s about moving forward, one step at a time, in the faith that we are not alone. Every step is guided, every misstep corrected, and every roadblock is a lesson in disguise.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5

A Legacy of Faith

Much like his prayer, Merton’s life is a testament to living in uncertainty with a heart full of faith. His words continue to inspire those who find themselves at a crossroads. They guide those seeking peace in tumultuous times and those who listen deeply to the stirrings of their hearts in moments of quiet.

In your own moments of doubt or decision, consider the Thomas Merton Prayer. How might embracing this stance of trust and openness transform your next steps? This prayer invites us to follow a path and co-create it with every faithful step we take.

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