Excerpt from Gerda Weissmann Klein’s autobiography, All But My Life ©1957:

But later, much later, I thought about my way of praying.  It started in school with a play about ancient Egypt.  Each character uttered a prayer:  the mighty Pharaoh prayed for a victory, his opponent asked for his own success, a sick man begged for health, the doctor asked for people to be ill, and each prayer, clean and swift, like a white bird, shot upward.  In Heaven, it met with the other prayer that had asked for just the contrary.  They turned against each other in bloody battle, and usually both fell back lifeless to the earth.  A large number of girls had taken part in that play.  I thought I had a beautiful role.  I was a poor little boy, the son of a fellah.  My mother told me to pray, but I didn’t know how.  I had no wishes, so I just looked at the river that fertilized our field, at the warm sun, at the ripe fruit in our garden, and I said, “Thank you, God, for the warm sun, for the blue Nile, for my father and mother,” and my little-boy prayer, like the others, sailed straight up to the throne of God.  Nobody defied my prayer, and nobody else thanked the Maker.  They were all asking Him for things.  He turned his face upon the little barefoot boy…

I was about twelve years old at the time.  From then on I had always thanked God for the gifts He bestowed upon me, and they were many.


Thomas Merton’s 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 that 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.”  ~Thomas Merton (via)

I like prayers that don’t ask for anything.

The Clown’s Prayer

Chris Farley carried this prayer with him at all times.  Nobody knows who wrote it:

The Clown’s Prayer

As I stumble through this life,
help me to create more laughter than tears,
dispense more cheer than gloom,
spread more cheer than despair.

Never let me become so indifferent,
that I will fail to see the wonders in the eyes of a child,
or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged.

Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people,
make them happy, and forget momentarily,
all the unpleasantness in their lives.

And in my final moment,
may I hear You whisper:
“When you made My people smile,
you made Me smile.”