Thomas à Kempis on Prayer

Written By Thomas à Kempis

How We Are to Be Disposed and What We Are to Say When We Desire Anything

CHRIST:

My son, say this on every occasion: Lord, if it be pleasing to Thee let this be done in this manner.

Lord, if it be to Thy honor let this be done in Thy name.

Lord, if Thou see that this is expedient and approve it as profitable unto me, then grant that I may use it to Thy honor.

But if Thou know that it will be hurtful to me and not expedient for the salvation of my soul, take away from me such a desire.

For every desire is not from the Holy Ghost, though it seems to a man right and good.

And it is oftentimes hard to judge truly, whether it be a good or bad spirit that urges thee on to desire this or that; or whether thou art moved to it by thy own spirit.

Many in the end have been deceived, who at first seemed to be led by a good spirit.

Whatsoever, therefore, presents itself to thy mind as worthy to be desired, see that it be always with the fear of God and humility of heart that thou dost desire or ask for it, and above all, thou ought, with a resignation of thyself, to commit all to Me and to say the following.

Thou knowest, O Lord, what is best, let this or that be done as Thou wilt.

Give what Thou wilt, how much Thou wilt, and at what time Thou wilt.

Do with me as Thou knowest and as best pleaseth Thee, and is most for Thy honor.

Put me where Thou wilt and do with me in all things according to Thy will.

I am in Thy hand, turn me round which way Thou wilt.

Lo, I am Thy servant – PS. CXVIII. 125, ready to obey Thee in all things; for I do not desire to live for myself but for Thee, oh, that I could do so, after a faithful and perfect manner!

Prayer for the Fulfilling of the Will of God

DISCIPLE:

Grant me Thy grace most merciful Jesus, that it may be with me and may labor with me and continue with me to the end.  -WIS IX. 10.

Grant me always to will and desire that which is most acceptable to Thee and which pleaseth Thee best.

Let Thy will be mine and let my will always follow Thine and agree perfectly with it.

Let me always will or not will the same with Thee, and let me not be able to will or not will otherwise than as Thou willest or willest not.

Grant that I may die to all things that are in the world, and for Thy sake love to be despised and not to be known in this world. 

Grant that I may rest in Thee above all things desired and that my heart may be at peace in Thee.

Thou art the true peace of the heart, Thou art its only rest; out of Thee all things are hard and uneasy.

In this peace, in the self-same, that is in Thee, the one sovereign, eternal good, I will sleep and I will rest. -PS. IV. 9. Amen. 

This article is taken from a chapter in The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis which is available from TAN Books.  

Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471) was a German-Dutch author and theologian of the late Medieval period.  He is best remembered for his classic on the devotional life known as The Imitation of Christ, available from TAN Books.