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My Favorite Prayer

  • FATHER ROBERT SPITZER, S.J.

The prayer I've probably spoke about most frequently is: "Thy will be done."

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I've found that this prayer brings God's peace and calm and enables us to move beyond attachments and far by letting go into God's providential hands.

His peace and calm are essential to the freedom to see myself as I really am. I don't have to be the Messiah, I don't have to be the greatest, I don't have to be an ultimate, and I don't have to make other people think that I am, because God is at the center of my universe, and God is taking care of what I cannot do for myself. When people confront me and ask, "Spitzer, how worthy are you?"  I can simply respond, "As worthy as God wants me to be, and I suppose that's enough." I don't have to worry about being more worthy. I certainly don't have to worry about being most worthy.

"Thy will be done" does not vitiate my desire to make contributions when it brings this peace and calm. It frees it to see clearly what is true and what is false, what is worthy of pursuit and what is not, what will lead to life and what will lead to death. Peace does not kill zeal; it purifies it. Calm does not enervate; it energizes.

The peace of which I speak does not come from an absence of pressure or fear. It is a peace filled with Truth that is so grounding, I no longer need to trumpet my success, to build a myth, or to garner other's approval of it. "Thy will be done", said at the beginning of the day and frequently throughout the day, is God's peace filled with grounding Truth, energizing me to contribute, befriend, achieve, compete, and create.

In the vast majority of religious traditions, God is looked upon as loving and good. God's will is likewise viewed as loving and good. Indeed, God's infinite providence orchestrates the panoply of human activities toward the good of all.


I frequently have the inclination to tell God, "Here's how to resolve this fearful situation. I have a fourteen step plan so you could clearly see how best to make good come out of this situation. I also thought you wouldn't mind my including a timetable as well." Needless to say, God's plan leads to places that I cannot lead myself and respects other people's freedom and needs. 

Not being God myself, I am generally unable to accommodate all of this, and so God sometime allows my plans to fall on hard times (thank God).

"Thy will be done", said at the beginning of the day and frequently throughout the day, is God's peace filled with grounding Truth, energizing me to contribute, befriend, achieve, compete, and create.

The point here is God's will is not a sword of Damocles; it is not impending doom. It is not a hardship that I cannot endure. God is not a stoic, thinking to himself, "I'm going to load some more suffering on Spitzer because he needs to get tougher." God is not a sadist who says, "What does not kill him will make him stronger."

God is not waiting around to get even with people for things that they have done fifteen years before. God is gentle and humble of heart; unconditionally good and loving. Therefore we do not need to cower and grovel before God's will. We need to trust in it; trust in its awesome beauty, its unconditional power to bring goodness out of seeming limitless diversity of so many people's  lives; trust in the affection that the Hebrew prophets termed "hesed we emet" (a parent's love for a child).

Living the life of faith will bring deep experiential conviction about the truth of trusting in this unconditionally loving will, and it makes the essential prayer "Thy will be done" an even more efficacious conduit of grace in our lives.

I say this prayer before I give talks or write books, indeed, before I even look in my calendar. It gives me peace, for I do not want to be successful at something that is not God's will. I would, quite frankly, rather have it crash and burn. But I do want to be successful at whatever is God's will, for then I know that I will be a conduit for goodness, love, and truth in the world. 

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Acknowledgement

Father Robert Spitzer, S.J. "My Favorite Prayer." from Healing the Culture (September 7, 2012). 

Excerpted from Father Spitzer's book: Healing the CultureReprinted with permission of the Spitzer Center .

The purpose of the Spitzer Center is to strengthen culture, faith and spirit in Catholic organizations for the new evangelization. Read "Why the Spitzer Center Adopted a Catholic Mission" by Father Spitzer here

The Author

Spitzer73spitzer7Father Robert Spitzer, S.J. is President of the Magis Center of Faith and Reason and the Spitzer Center for Ethical Leadership. He is the author of New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy, Spirit of Leadership: Optimizing Creativity and Change in Organizations, Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life: A Practical Guide to Prayer for Active People, Healing the Culture: A Commonsense Philosophy of Happiness, Freedom, and the Life Issues, Ten Universal Principles: A Brief Philosophy of the Life Issues, as well as videos such as Suffering and the God of Love, and Healing the Culture.

Copyright © 2012 The Spitzer Center
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