Eleanor Roosevelt — A Wise Prayer

Our Father, who has set a restlessness in our hearts, and made us seekers after that which we can never truly find; draw us away from base content and set our minds on far-off goals.

Keep us at tasks too hard for us that we may be driven to Thee for strength. Deliver us from fretfulness and self-pitying; make us sure of the good we cannot see and of the hidden good in the world.

Open our eyes to simple beauty all around us, and our hearts to the loneliness men hide from us because we do not try to understand them.

Save us from ourselves and show us a vision of the world made new.


For more prayers see these posts:

Memorial Day Prayers

A Bedtime Prayer

A Prayer to be Taught by the Holy Spirit

A Bedtime Prayer

Recently I had lunch with a friend. We were commiserating about the difficulties of age, one of those being an inability to sleep well. She told me she had been using a Jewish prayer at bedtime, and I thought I would share it.

“Praised are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings sleep to my eyes, slumber to my eyelids. May it be Your will, Lord my God, and God of my ancestors, that I lie down in peace and that I arise in peace. Let my sleep be undisturbed by troubling thoughts, bad dreams, and wicked schemes. May I have a night of tranquil slumber. May I awaken to the light of a new day, that my eyes may behold the splendor of Your light. Praised are You, Lord whose glory gives light to the world.”

For more prayers see these posts:

Samuel Johnson’s Prayer of Confession

A Prayer for Unity with Christ

Martin Luther’s Prayer about the Word

Samuel Johnson’s Prayer of Confession

Think of this as one of my English major moments! Samuel Johnson (born September 18, 1709,—died December 13, 1784, London) was an English critic, biographer, essayist, poet, and lexicographer. He is considered one of the greatest figures of 18th-century life and letters. This prayer was included in a book I recently reviewed, Be Thou My Vision by Jonathan Gibson–Book Review. It touched my heart, and maybe it will touch yours as well.

Almighty and most merciful Father, you hate nothing you have made, nor desire the death of a sinner –look down with mercy upon me, and grant that I may turn from my wickedness and live. Forgive the days and years which I have passed in folly, idleness, and sin. Fill me with such sorrow for the time misspent, that I may amend my life according to your holy Word; strengthen me against habitual idleness, and enable me to direct my thoughts to the performance of every duty; that while I live I may serve you in the state to which you shall call me, and at last by a holy and happy death be delivered from the struggles and sorrows of this life, and obtain eternal happiness by your mercy, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Samuel Johnson

For more about confession see:

Confession — It’s Good for the Soul

The Prayer of Confession

A Via de Cristo Prayer of Confession and Forgiveness

A Prayer for Our Friends

O blessed Lord and Savior, you have commanded us to love one another–grant us grace that, having received your undeserved bounty, we may love every man in you and for you. We ask your blessing for all; but especially for the friends whom your love has given to us. Love them, O fountain of love, and make them to love you with all their heart, with all their mind, and with all their soul, that those things only which are pleasing to you they may will, and speak, and do. And although our prayer is cold, because our charity is so little fervent, yet you are so rich in mercy. Measure not to them your goodness by the dullness of our devotion; but as your kindness surpasses all human affection, so let your hearing transcend our prayer. Do to them what is expedient for them, according to your will, that they, being always and everywhere ruled and protected by you, may attain in the end to everlasting life. Amen.

Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) was an important Christian philosopher known for his doctrine of the atonement.

For more posts about friendship see:

Spiritual Friendship — What is it?

Teach A Friend About Christ

Friends in the Lord

A Prayer Confessing our Sins

This prayer was used for confession of sins at the Lutheran church I recently attended. It certainly touches on some of my besetting sins, so maybe you will see yourself in it as well.

Almighty God, merciful Father,

We have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed. We have done things we should not have done, and we have failed to do the things we should have done. We have been impatient. We have grumbled. We have been critical of others and we have been difficult. We have used coarse language and have taken Your name in vain. We have sought and received Your forgiveness and, then, we have refused to forgive our neighbor. Father, forgive us, renew us, and lead us so that we may be merciful, even as You are merciful. Amen

For more prayers see:

Martin Luther’s Prayer about the Word

A Prayer of Surrender

A Penitent Prayer

Martin Luther’s Prayer about the Word

Dear God,
let your Word
shine in our hearts
by your Holy Spirit.
Make it
so bright and warm
that we always find
our comfort and joy
in it.

Source: Martin Luther, translated for A Collection of Prayers from Die Gebete Luthers#195.

For more prayers see:

Prayer to the Holy Spirit #2

A Prayer of Surrender

A Penitent Prayer

When You’re Sick #2

If you’ve been sick (as I have recently When You’re Sick), you may feel depressed and have trouble praying. If so, you can rely on “other peoples’ prayers” (Prayer in the Night by Tish Harrison Warren–Book Review) like this one. I found it helpful and comforting.

Lord, the day is drawing to a close, and like all the other days, it leaves me the impression of utter defeat. I have done nothing for You: neither have I said conscious prayers, nor performed works of charity, nor any work at all, work that is sacred for every Christian who understands its significance. I have not even been able to control that childish impatience and those foolish rancours which so often occupy the place that should be Yours in rhe “no man’s land” of my emotions. It is in vain that I promise You to do better. I shall be no different tomorrow, nor on the day that follows.

When I retrace the course of my life, I am overwhelmed by the same impression of inadequacy. I have sought you in prayer and in the service of my neighbor, for we cannot separate You from our brothers any more than we can we our body from our spirit. But in seeking You do I not find myself? Do I not wish to satisfy myself? Those works that I secretly termed good and saintly, dissolve in the light of approaching eternity, and I dare no longer lean on these supports that have lost their stability.

Even actual sufferings bring me no joy because I bear them so badly. Perhaps we are all like this: incapable of discerning anything but our own wretchedness and our own despairing cowardice before the light of the Beyond that waxes on our horizon.

But it may be, O Lord, that this impression of privation is part of a divine plan. It may be that in Your eyes, self-complacency is the most obnoxious of all fripperies, and that we must come before You naked so that You, You alone, may clothe us.

Marguerite Teilhard de Chardin

Mme. de Chardin was foundress of Union of the Sick in France during the 1930s.

For More prayers see:

Prayer to the Holy Spirit #2

Great and Small Prayers for Babies — Book Review

A Prayer of Surrender

A Prayer of Surrender

The Covenant Prayer by John Wesley

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, Holy Spirit thou art mine, and I am thine.

And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.



In 1775,  a covenant service was introduced by John Wesley and became an important part of spiritual life in the Methodist Societies. This renewal service was a time for the Methodists to gather annually in a time of self-examination, reflection, and dedication, wholly giving up themselves and renewing covenant with God. Repentance through confession and commitment was a key focus of the service, demanding humility.  The prayer above is used during the service which is usually held on the Sunday nearest January 1st.

For another prayer of surrender see:

The Serenity Prayer in Action

What to Change



Prayer to the Holy Spirit

In the 1200’s, the prayer “Come, Holy Spirit,” written as a Latin worship poem called Veni Sancte Spiritus, took on a central place in the worship of the Western Church.  If you’ve attended a Lutheran Via de Cristo weekend, it will be familiar to you, as it is used before each talk on the retreat.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love.  Send forth your Spirit, and we shall be created.  And you shall renew the face of the earth

O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit instructs the hearts of the faithful, grant, that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in his consolations.  Through Christ or Lord.  Amen

For more about Lutheran Via de Cristo, see these posts:

What is Via de Cristo?

Remembering My Via De Cristo Weekend

And Speaking of Retreats …..


A Penitent Prayer

I recently read and reviewed The Duty of Delight (the Diaries of Dorothy Day).  At the end of the book, this prayer was included.  It had been found on a card inserted in her last journal.  It’s the prayer composed to be used during Lent, and it certainly speaks to me — the things I need to remove from my life, and the things I need to include.  Maybe it will speak to you as well.

“O Lord and master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth,  faintheartedness, lust of power and idle talk.  But give to thy servant rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love.  Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother, for Thou art blessed from all ages to ages.

St. Ephraim the Syrian’s Prayer of Penance