St. Theresa’s Prayer

St. Theresa’s Prayer

“May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.”

This prayer has been a powerful reminder in my life throughout several seasons of ups and downs. I read it tonight from a place that feels overwhelming, tiring, and as if there is lack in my life that I need to get busy and fill. Prayers, quotes, and words like these from Theresa speak truth into my tiredness and help to create a space within my questions. Prayers like this one don’t “answer” or “solve” problems for me, but they create space where there was none, potential for movement and healing where there was only grinding tension. It’s like something from deep within me, pulls me, out of the tiredness that falsely seems to claim me, back to being the real me (if that makes any sense). And the truth of God’s abundance, God’s gracious overflowing arms-wide-open goodness rushes into that space.

The truth reminds me that I can rest. I can grieve and feel lost and not have the answers, but still grip to the truth that I know who I am and whose I am. I can cry out and wonder how God can allow people to get sick, die, and suffer; get angry as people do not reconcile, focus on self, and ignore the kingdom’s calls and sometimes wound me in the process. But I also know that God walks in and through this pain with me and with others. God does not let suffering consume any of us – even in death it doesn’t define us. 

And so the truth yells out to me, screams into my cavern that I bring with me this night, bounces off the walls and echoes throughout my grief and tiredness and lack. The truth sounds - I cannot fill my own lack. If the job feels too large, too overwhelming, that’s because it is. I cannot carry it all, it is not my load to bear alone. My freedom comes not from dodging or escaping challenges or difficulty, not from planning ahead or steadfastly living so that nothing ever goes wrong (which is honestly how I tend to live most of the time). Freedom comes from walking through the dark times and coming out on the other side, bearing the burdens of others, and committing to straining to listen to the still small voice even through the fatigue. It’s not about having the ending all wrapped up or the journey all planned, but about accepting real life as it is – blessing what I can, lamenting what I can. It’s not about fixing people or controlling my universe, but about journeying with those souls precious enough to be called friends and committed enough to be in my lifelong community.

I came to this prayer tired tonight. I am still tired, but there is now space, a swelling of truth within my tiredness, a tentative sprout of peace inside that cave. May this prayer feed your soul and remind you of truth for whatever tires you on your journey. Amen.    

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10 Responses to St. Theresa’s Prayer

  1. Heidi says:

    Yeah. This was helpful for me today too. Grateful for the post.

  2. kara says:

    you came to my mind this morning and i wondered how you are this week.

    thank you for giving voice to much of the lament that i, too, have shared and continue to share during this chapter of life.

    i promise that with me you are always free to “not have it all together” because I am in serious need of that small grace myself!

    praying for you and hoping that God will continue to show you His presence, esp. when the rest of the world can sometimes seem a lonely, difficult place

  3. melissa says:

    thanks for this, liz. it strikes me so deeply where i’m at this morning.

  4. Nancy says:

    From one tired soul to another, thanks for posting this prayer, Liz. It’s full of reminders I need. The kind of prayer to be changed by. Your comments are also in sync with thinking and writing I’ve been doing lately on keeping my eyes on the journey and not on my plans for a pre-conceived destination. Peace to you on your journey today.

  5. Kat says:

    Liz,
    I was looking for the prayer and found so very much more. Your insights have helped me tonight.
    Thankyou.

  6. denise says:

    If y ou live by this prayer, you will love a song titled “Infinite Possibilities” by Annette. Her website is http://www.annettesongs.com.

    It is very similar to the prayer.

    Beautiful song and a must hear!

  7. Clark says:

    This wonderful prayer has enriched my day and my life — but I have a question. WHICH St. Theresa penned it? I have gotten it in an email numerous times, and people who do not know are saying it is a prayer of Mother Theresa, who although beatified is not yet a Saint. I did some research, suspecting that it was a prayer of St. Teresa of Avila, but I have not been able to connect her to it. If anyone knows, I would appreciate the information. I would like to read more by the soul that penned this prayer.

  8. Beth says:

    Liz, thank you so much for your comments about life and St. Theresa’s prayer. This prayer was sent to me by a friend a few weeks ago and it resonated with me. I was struggling this past week (as I seem to do every year at this time) with doubting if my gifts to everyone at Christmas were ‘enough’. It never seems as if they are. Of course, the underlying problem is, in truth, my belief in lack, my belief that my love is not good enough. As I prayed this morning, I asked the Holy Spirit to help me with the question of whether or not my gifts were ‘enough’ or if I needed to spend more because I was being cheap or selfish. I decided to look up St. Theresa’s prayer, not because I was ‘consiously’ looking for an answer to my prayer, but because I was looking for a ‘fancy’ copy of it to stick inside the books that I had bought for my daughters and step-daughters. Liz, your comments turned out to be the answer to my prayer. It has felt like too much, overwhelming at times, especially when Christmas shopping (my husband and I have 6 daughters and son-in-laws and 12 grandchildren between us), and so it must be too large, I don’t have to do it all, I can accept life as it is (everyone may not get everything they want for Christmas!). I always try to pick up the slack (rescue) where my grown children are concerned and I become very stressed, worried, resentful ~ feeling like I have to help them buy gifts for their children, send them money, buy the ‘perfect’ gifts, etc. In any case, your comments have really helped me this morning to realize that my love is good enough ~ how ever I choose to express or demonstrate it. Thank you. Wishing you and yours a very happy Christmas.

  9. Lance Patrick says:

    Clark,

    Although not known for sure, this prayer has been attributed to St Therese of Lisiuex. The style and content of this prayer is not consistent with the deep spirituality of the other ‘Doctor of the Church’, St. Teresa of Avila, as she lived beyond her mid-twenties and her maturity is indicated in her writings. If you like the spirituality of the Carmelites I suggest you read the Autobiography of St. Teresa.

  10. Liz Werner says:

    This prayer/blessing was not written by St. Theresa, St. Teresa or Mother Teresa. If it soothes people, that’s the main point, tho.

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