Pure Guidance: A Thomas Merton prayer for when you feel lost …

Have you ever found yourself praying for clarity on the next step you should take in life, without receiving the answers you’re hoping for? 
 
I sure have. 
 
The more clearly I intend to surrender my life to God’s will, the more I am asked to relinquish control of my choices. On my spiritual journey through life, the Divine plan isn’t always easy to discover, much less follow.
 
Sometimes, God gifts me with a deep sense of knowing what to do (like when my son was miraculously healed of kidney disease). Other times, He allows me to walk through a foggy haze of confusion – like right now for example, as I learn to navigate life with a new baby, along with managing my other kids, responsibilities and callings. 
 
In times of feeling unclear about what to do next, it’s comforting to know that a great soul like Thomas Merton found himself feeling that way sometimes too. He wrote this beautiful prayer: 
 
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 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.
 
I love this prayer because it affirms the value of having a desire to follow God. Whether or not I am correctly discerning His calling for my life in every moment, this prayer reminds me that our Heavenly Father appreciates our good intentions. As we gradually learn to love God above all things throughout our lives, we can trust Jesus to “make our paths straight” over time.
 
I also appreciate how this prayer acknowledges the reality that the Spirit of God is always with us, even as we struggle to understand or fully surrender to His plan for our lives. 
 
I am grateful for how this prayer meets me in my broken humanity and opens my heart to receive the mercy, grace and healing the Lord wants to pour into each and every one of us.
 
Are you confused about what God is calling you to do right now? Comment below, and I’ll be delighted to keep you in my prayers. 
 
Lord, be with us in our times of feeling lost and confused. Be the Light in our darkness, and give us the grace to do Your will – even when we don’t understand it at all. Lord, bless us with the “desire to please you,” and guide us every moment of our lives, whether or not we realize we’re being guided by You. Give us the grace to know You, love You and trust more fully in You as we take one step out on faith at a time in our daily lives. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen. 
 
written by Nicky Gant for www.uniteinprayer.org 3/4/2019

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