Wonderful, Practical Prayer for Life

The following prayer is entitled “17th Century Nun’s Prayer” and its source is unknown.  Although it seems intended for nuns, the sound advice it gives in the form of a prayer is applicable to anyone on the face of the earth. See what gems you can cull from it for your own life:

Lord, Thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older and will someday be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to straighten out everybody’s affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody, helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end.

Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others’ pains, but help me to endure them with patience.

I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessing cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a Saint—some of them are so hard to live with—but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places and talents in unexpected people. And give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.   AMEN.

As I read this, I confess I was thinking of people I know who need to pray this prayer!  And probably some would be thinking of me as they read it.

This prayer also called to mind the prayer of Saint Teresa of Kolkata. You might be familiar with it, but it bears repeating:

People are often unreasonable, irrational and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.


What is your favorite prayer?  Did you ever compose a prayer yourself?  Or paraphrase one, such as Mary’s Magnificat?






  1. Ruth Ann Pilney on October 17, 2018 at 8:35 am

    My favorite prayers seem to wax and wane, so I have several. One that is among them is the Suscipe by St. Ignatius of Loyola. “Take, Lord, receive my memory, my understanding, and my entire will. You have given all to me, now I return them to you. Give me only your love and your grace. They are enough for me.”

  2. Manny on October 17, 2018 at 8:47 am

    At the risk of exposing myself of the fatal error of needing to say something on every subject [;)] that is a wonderful prayer, and I don’t see why it would be limited to nuns. It’s true, it probably would be hard to live with most saints. I never thought of that. My beloved Catherine of Siena, charming as she was, was probably a royal pain on a daily basis. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Mary Collins-Smith on October 17, 2018 at 10:45 am

    I loved that prayer!

    It is especially useful to me at this particular
    time as my mother’s memory is fading. Pray
    for humility in times like these.. I never thought
    of it like that. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Jude Kwena on October 18, 2018 at 1:29 am

    Thanks for the Prayer.

  5. Kathleen Glavich, SND on November 5, 2018 at 9:46 am

    Hmm. In this post I should have plugged my recent book “Praying on Empty.” It’s for those who lost the sense of God’s comforting presence as they prayed.

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