experiences of mid-life take place at any point between one's twenties
and one's forties or beyond. The prayers contained on this page represent
some of the inner work that everyone is called to go through on this part
of the inner journey.
this inner work there can result a deep acceptance of one's creaturely
life in the context of God's dream for the world. In this process a sense
of mystery emerges as the events and things of life become symbols which
may reveal the deeper mysteries of one's heart (Heb 4:14).
Prayer is definitely a mid-life prayer
because, as usual in mid-life, things are perceived to have become so different
than we imagined years earlier. Since there are often moments of pain and
darkness in these mid-life experiences, the prayer,
The Road Ahead Is In Darkness, and the
reading On Suffering will
be apt. During this time we are also called to let go of the control we
exercise in many of our precious relationships. For this, Letting
Go may be of help. Then as we become
more and more aware of the expanding universe, Before
The One Who Is Mystery may capture the
new places in which we find ourselves.
we reflect upon our history from the viewpoint of God's dream for the world,
we often experience the gift of gratitude as in Mary's
Song or as
in the reflections of Finding Blessedness
In One's Own History.
Of Hope And Confidence In God
God, I believe most firmly
you watch over all who hope in you,
that we can want for nothing
we rely upon you in all things.
I am resolved for the future ... to cast all my cares upon you
may deprive me of possessions and status.
may take my strength from me. I may even jeopardize our
by sin; but my trust shall never leave me.
will preserve it to the last moment of my life,
the powers of hell shall seek in vain to grab it from me.
others seek happiness in their wealth and in their talents.
them trust in the purity of their lives,
the number of their activities, in the intensity of their prayer;
for me, my confidence in you fills me with hope.
are my divine protector. In you alone do I hope.
am assured, therefore, of my eternal happiness,
I firmly hope in it and all my hope is in you.
you, O Loving God, have I hoped: let me never be confounded."
know too well that I am weak and changeable.
know the power of temptation against the strongest virtue.
have seen stars fall and foundations of my world crack.
things do not alarm me.
I hope in you, I am sheltered from all misfortune,
I am sure that my trust shall endure,
I rely upon you to sustain this unfailing hope.
I know that my confidence cannot exceed your generosity,
that I shall never receive less than I have hoped for from you.
I hope that you will sustain me against the ways
which I deceive myself.
hope that you will protect me against the deceitful attacks
the evil one. I hope you will cause my weakness
triumph over every hostile force.
hope that you will never cease to love me
that I shall love you unceasingly.
you, O God, I have hoped, let me never be confounded."
adapted from the prayer of Claude de la Colombiere
grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...
to change the things I can...
wisdom to know the difference.
me to live one day at a time,
enjoy one moment at a time,
accept hardships as the pathway to peace.
I learn from Jesus
take this broken world as it is ...
not as I would have it.
me the grace to trust that you will make all things right
I embrace your desires for myself and my sisters and brothers.
I be reasonably happy in this life
supremely happy with you forever in the next.
adapted from the prayer of Reinhold Neibuhr
Blessedness In One's Own History
God for strength, that I might achieve.
was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
asked for health, that I might do greater things.
was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
asked for riches, that I might be happy.
was given poverty, that I might be wise.
asked for power, that I might have the praise of others.
was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered.
am most richly blessed.
by Henry Viscardi
a dear one about whom I have been concerned.
the Christ in you.
place you lovingly in the care of the All Caring One.
release you from my anxiety and concern.
let go of my possessive hold on you.
am willing to free you to follow the dictates of
the indwelling Spirit.
am willing to free you to live your life according to your best light and
wife, child, friend,
no longer try to force my ideas on you, my ways on you.
lift my thoughts above you, above the personal level.
see you as God sees you,
a spiritual being,
created in God's image,
endowed with qualities and abilities that make you needed and
important not only to me but to God and God's larger perspective.
do not bind you.
no longer believe that you do not have
the understanding you need in order to meet life.
have faith in you,
behold Jesus in you.
from the late Herve Marcoux, OMI
Song -- The Magnificat
soul glorifies you my God,
spirit rejoices in you my Saviour!
you have blessed me lavishly
make me ready to respond.
shatter my little world
let me be poor before you.
take from me all my plans
give me more than I can hope for or ask.
give me opportunities and the ability
become free and to burst through my boundaries.
give me strength to be daring,
build on you alone,
you show yourself
the ever greater One in my life.
have made known to me this ----
is in my being servant that it becomes possible
your realm to break through here and now.
adapted by Olga Worenski, IBVM
The Road Ahead Is In Darkness
Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
do not see the road ahead of me.
cannot know for certain where it will end.
do I really know myself,
the fact that I think that I am following your will
not mean that I am actually doing so.
I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.
hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road
I may know nothing about it
will I trust you always
I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
will not fear, for you are ever with me,
will never leave me to face my perils alone.
by Thomas Merton
When suffering comes to put the question, "Who are you?" we must be able
to answer distinctly and give our own name. By that I mean we must express
the very depth of what we have desired to be and what we are becoming.
And if we are becoming what we are supposed to become the interrogation
of suffering will call forth from us both our name and the name of Jesus.
adapted from Thomas Merton
Prayer Of Abandonment
God you are both Mother and Father,
are more than I can imagine,
abandon myself into your hands;
with me what you will.
happens in my life
desire to discover you through it
thank you for whatever will be
only your will be done in me,
in all your creatures ...
wish no more than this.
your hands I commend my soul.
offer myself to you with all my heart.
love you, my God.
desire to surrender myself into your hands
with boundless confidence,
you are my God and my all.
adapted from Charles de Foucauld
(italicized lines are my adaptation)
The One Who Is Mystery
One, Mystery, Caring God ....
I know that you are always greater than anything I can think or imagine,
and for this I am most grateful.
am glad that I can not locate you, define you, describe you. I used to
worry about self-identity, about who I was.
I am glad not to know,
I can thank you for the mystery of my being....
do not know how much longer I shall live,
what shall become of me.
do not know if the way I am trying to live now really is your will.
have shown me something of the depths of self-deception
are in me, and I may still be deceiving myself.
what I do know is that you are the God of every situation,
in our darkness drawing us to light,
in our sinfulness offering us healing,
in our self-deception leading us into truth,
who is for us, even when we are against ourselves.
I know that even if I am unwittingly deceiving myself, if I follow what
truth there is in me, then you will draw me further into your truth, and
that there is no situation, no state, no place I can reach
you will not still be closer to me than I am to myself.
adapted from Gerard W. Hughes in "God, Where Are You?"
Longman and Todd Ltd.,1997) p.269f.
I Move Towards Blessed Surrender
the signs of age begin the mark my body .... and still more
they touch my mind....
the ill that is to diminish me or carry me off
from without or is born within me....
the painful moment comes
which I suddenly awaken to the fact
I am ill or growing old....
that moment when I feel I am losing hold of myself
am absolutely passive within the hands of the great unknown forces that
have formed me....
all those dark moments, Loving God, grant that I may understand that it
is you ... who are painfully parting the fibres of my being in order to
penetrate to the very marrow of my substance
bear me away within yourself.
more deeply and incurably that evil is encrusted in my flesh, the more
it will be you that I am harbouring --
as a loving, active principle of purification, and detachment.
more the future opens before me like some dizzy abyss or dark tunnel, the
more confident I may be of losing myself and surrendering myself in you,
of being assimilated in your body ....
One, you are the irresistible and life-giving force....
are the Stronger One....
is on you that falls the part of consuming me
a union that can weld us together.
would be a blessing to die while actually receiving the body and blood
of Christ in holy communion....
I ask for something more precious -- the grace to welcome death itself
as an act of communion with you.
adapted and based on a prayer from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
The Beginning Of The Day
I find myself at the beginning of another day,
with my brothers and sisters, I need this freedom
do not know what it will bring,
help me to be ready for whatever it may be.
I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely.
I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly.
I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently
I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly.
pray just for today, for these twenty-four hours,
the ability to cooperate with others
to the way Jesus taught us to live.
kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
these words that he taught us become more than words.
free my thinking and feelings
the thinking and feelings of others,
all forms of self-will,
self-centredness, dishonesty, and deception.
make my choices today according to your desires.
your Spirit to inspire us in time of doubt and indecision so that, together,
we can walk along your path. ..... Amen.
adapted with thanks from an unknown source.
the writings of Juliana of Norwich ................
He showed me a little thing, the size of a hazelnut, in the palm of my
hand, and it was round as a ball. I looked at it with my mind's eye and
I thought, "What can this be?" And the answer came, "It is all that is
made." I marvelled that it could last for I thought it might have crumbled
to nothing, it was so small. And the answer came into my mind, "It lasts
and ever shall because God loves it." And all things have being through
the love of God. In this little thing I saw three truths. The first is
that God made it. The second is that God loves it. The third is that God
looks after it.
There is a great deed which the beloved Trinity shall do at the last day,
as I see it, and what that deed shall be and how it shall be done is unknown
to all creatures below Christ. And it shall be hidden until it is done.
This is the great deed ordained by our Lord since before time began, treasured
and hidden in his blessed breast, known only to him ... [through whom God]
... shall make all things well. For just as the Blessed Trinity made all
things out of nothing, so the same Blessed Trinity shall make good all
that is not well.
from the writings of Juliana of Norwich