Could you please join me in praying for discernment? (Sorry, can’t go into details.) Our family is in need of the Lord’s guidance in regards to a specific situation. I (we) truly want to do God’s will in this matter and not make the wrong decision. Thank you so much in advance. 🙂
Discernment Prayer of Thomas Merton
“O 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 that 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 to please You. 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 make my journey alone.”
I am about to make an important decision, Lord, and the day ahead of me is charged with uncertainty. Help me feel your presence especially today, Lord. To feel your strength supporting me and to be sure of your loving concern for what I decide today.
I have been your follower and your child for many years. Even when I was young I laid claim to your love and dedicated my life to doing what you wanted me to do. From that time until now, I have tried to shun the enticements of the world, the human ambitions
that beckon me so teasingly Instead I have pursued your dreams for me. And I have always tried to carry out your commands.
I have been faithful to the time of worship and the hour of prayer. I have celebrated your gifts of love and sung your many praises. My best friends have always been those who love and serve you.
And now, Lord, today I come to a fork in the road, I don’t know which way to turn. So I offer this day to you, Lord and the decision I have to make. I pray that today will be lived in your love and that my decision will be in accord with what you want me to do.
So I raise my voice for a moment in thanksgiving, Lord. For you have promised to guide my falthering steps today.
I stood by helplessly and watched as a text message received by one of my older children instantly transformed a situation of promise into a state of uncertainty. My child was visibly disappointed and frustrated. All I could do was give a reassuring hug and offer some words of consolation. Throughout my work day, I prayed for my child, my heart heavy at seeing my child’s sadness.
Before they are born, we pray for our children. Our prayers are full of hope and promise as well as petitions to safeguard the nine months of gestation. As our newborn is placed in our arms for the first time, we praise with rejoicing and thankfulness. We implore God to give us the strength, courage, and wisdom needed to mother our babies and we ask Jesus and His Blessed Mother to make up for what is lacking in our imperfect motherhood.
As the children grow into toddlers, school children, teens, and young adults, our prayers reflect the different stages. We intensify them as we see the spark of independence that will one day carry our offspring into lives of their own. I think the most urgent of a mother’s prayers are when our children start to venture away from our protective gaze and helping hand. Our worries and our need to let go bring us to our knees begging God and all the angels and saints to love and protect them in a way that we can’t.
In his Confessions, St. Augustine paints a wonderful picture of his mother, St. Monica. Her dissolute young son was headed for ruin and St. Monica did the only and the best thing she could do for him; she prayed unceasingly. “She was habitually at the Church,” and had “faith in Christ that before she departed this life, she would see baptized a Catholic believer” (Book VI, Confessions). Although Monica had strong faith, she did not cease her prayer; in fact she “redoubled her petitions and tears, begging that would hasten help” (Book VI, Confessions). Monica’s faithful devotion and persistence paid off and she died knowing her son lived for God. “My hope in this world is already fulfilled,” she told Augustine (Book IX, Confessions).
Mary “pondered” in her heart everything that was said by the Angel Gabriel, Simeon, and Anna. Her life in Nazareth was a silent prayer, contemplating the presence of God. At the foot of the cross, her silence and steadfast presence was a prayer for Him. Even now, she prays unceasingly for us, her children.
When the oldest of my children were still completely dependent on me and as our family grew, my most fervent prayer was that I would live long enough to see them able to care for themselves. As I watch my children begin to take their place in society as young contributing adults, my prayer changes. I pray for their academic success, for decisions regarding their chosen careers, and for discernment of their rightful vocations—married, single, or religious. I wonder for whom I will be praying as they begin married life; if I will be praying as I watch a child of mine profess religious vows or is ordained. I wonder if any have the vocation of consecrated single life and if so I pray for their happiness and fruitfulness. I dream of how many grandchildren I will one day have and even now I pray that they will be joyful and faithful in God.
A mother’s prayers are offered in sacrifice as she sees to her children’s needs, often putting aside her own. They are uttered in tireless succession as she tends to her sick child and they are cried in painful anguish at the bedside of a dying child. She beseeches the heavens for her children’s protection, health, happiness, and above all, the salvation of their souls.
I once told some friends that what I pray for the most in life is that my children will know God. That, ultimately, is the result of all a mother’s prayers— that our children will one day stand before God in unfathomable happiness.
Pray unceasingly. Beseech fervently. Petition trustingly. It is a mother’s greatest work and her most generous gift for her children.