when you have no idea where you are going

Written by Sandra Heska King

PRAY EDITOR "Once a nurse, always a nurse," they say. But now I spend my days with laptop and camera in tow as I look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. I'm a Michigan gal, mom to two, grandmom to two, and wife to one. My husband and I live on 50 acres in the same 150-plus-year-old farmhouse he grew up in. I love this quote by Mary Oliver, "Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." That's how I want to live. And I'm still learning how to be. Still.

August 20, 2013

Boardwalk in the Porcupines

It’s been one of those weeks. You’ve had them, right? Times of hard decision-making and what-ifs that lead to more waiting and second-guessing and flip-flopped fear and trust, and you just want a final decision to be made and hope you can live with it. Except each step on the journey brings more decisions and you want to get it right–except there really aren’t any good answers in human economy. But the trail ends in what seems like a drop-off, and everything’s all tangled up, and you can’t find a clear way, and you just want God to write the right answer in the sky. And you want it to be what you want, but you really want to want what He wants. And who’s it all about anyway? You? Them? Him?

It’s all so exhausting.

I stumbled, though, on this prayer again the other day–one I’d clung to a few years back and forgotten. I’ve printed it out. I need to read it several times a day. Maybe you do, too.

The Merton 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 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 I will 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, Thoughts in Solitude 

Where are you in your journey right now? Is the road smooth? Are you at a crossroad? Navigating a detour? Have you lost the road altogether?

32 Comments

  1. Jean Wise

    I love this Merton prayer! and saying a prayer for you for clarity too. A few weeks ago I was praying and asking for direction on a decision that I certainly wasn’t getting a clear answer on: When God showed me a banquet table loaded with tons of food. He said – it’s all good. But I said but Lord I want to get what is right and healthy. He said then eat what is healthiest for you. I knew then which decision – those both directions were good choices – was the healthiest one for me at this time. God sends us answers if we continue to seek them and will bless us and stay with us no matter what.

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      Sometimes that’s how it is. We need to choose from so many good options. So we choose from what’s healthiest for me at this time. What a good word. For me. At this time. Thank you , Jean.

      Reply
  2. Patricia W Hunter

    A perfect prayer when we don’t know what to do. We just know we want to get it right.

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      “But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.”

      Clinging to this.

      Reply
  3. rchelle7

    Thank you for this prayer. It is very much a prayer I will pray throughout my day. I am definitely on a road that is not smooth, and I can’t even say that I am at a crossroads because I can’t see which way to go. I keep hearing messages every week, it seems, of being still, don’t go before GOD, wait on GOD. That is all that I can do. And, as I wait, I praise Him, and I glory in Him, even though there is turmoil all around me. One thing I can say is, we go through things for a reason, and I have grown stronger, and I have a greater testimony because of this. To GOD be all Glory, Honor and Praise.

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      I was just reading about what happens to clay in a kiln. How it’s soft and fragile when placed in the fire, but then turns hard and strong–but wouldn’t if taken out too soon. Praying for strength in the waiting and a gentle breeze to part the waters and show the way.

      Reply
      • rchelle7

        Wonderful analogy…thank you so very much for your prayers Sister in Christ 🙂

        Reply
  4. marthaorlando

    What a marvelous prayer! Definitely, a keeper in my book.
    Thanks so much for sharing, Sandy!

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      It’s a good one to pray every morning before we face the day, right Martha? 🙂

      Reply
      • marthaorlando

        Exactly! 🙂

        Reply
  5. Janet

    I needed this post today. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      I needed/need it, too, friend. So glad God nudged me to post it.

      Reply
  6. pastordt

    I, too, love this prayer and had forgotten about it. Thank you for posting it here! And prayers for peace in the waiting time, Sandy. And in the deciding time, too.

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      I’m thinking it’s a frameable.

      I’m at peace now with decision #1. I don’t know how long it will be before the next step. I’m so grateful for you.

      Reply
  7. Megan Willome

    You’re in my prayers, Sandy.

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      And you in mine, my friend. Always.

      I’ll be over soon to take on Lonesome Dove in one of my reading blitzes. 🙂

      Reply
  8. Maureen

    Perfect. Copied it (by hand because our printer wasn’t behaving). Such an honest plea, wanting to be right, attempting to move forward, with courage and trust – in the Lord, not in my being right. Excellent, thanks for sharing this.

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      Copying by hand… a great way to memorize it. 🙂 I’m so glad it spoke to you.

      It’s no surprise this prayer so many have claimed this prayer all these years.

      Reply
  9. Marilyn Yocum

    Love this prayer. My road is not smooth at the moment. Am holding onto a thread of faith, trusting I am on the right road. I appreciate you writing this, Sandy.

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      Aww, Marilyn. I’m trusting with you. And I can’t shake the shrieks of laughter, the sight of you in that kayak, then in the water, and then back in the boat. I’m glad that God will ultimately get us back on the right road even if we choose a detour.

      Reply
  10. HisFireFly

    brilliant – I must print this prayer and keep it visible

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      It’s a good one, yes. An especially good one for you, I might say. 😉

      Reply
  11. janetb1

    I am not that into attending church as of right now. I do attend like a good girl every week but my heart is not into it. I have a real issue that the sermons coming out of our church right now seem to be shaking their finger at people. I can not stand that. I would much rather be at work and have a smile on my face greeting people as they enter than sitting in a church service. Sorry if this does not sit well but this is real stuff.

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      Oh, Janet. I don’t think you’re alone in this. In fact, I know you’re not. Thank you for sharing this piece of your journey. We are so human and so apt to judge rather than wrapping our brothers and sisters in unconditional love, rather than coming alongside so we can help each other down the road rather than being stumbling blocks. I’m praying right now that you would sense God’s presence and direction in a deep way today. Much love to you.

      Reply
      • janetb1

        Thank you Sandra for such compassion and love. Exactly what this girl needs now. Have a beautiful day!

        Reply
  12. SimplyDarlene

    thanks for this miss sandra. i’ve not seen it before today, but it is very timely for me and my family. add us to your prayer list for an unnamed prayer? please and thank you.

    blessings.

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      Oh absolutely. Yes, m’am. I am praying right at this moment. I do anyway when you come to mind. But I will add you to my daily list.

      Reply
  13. DeanneMoore

    Read through the Elijah stories recently. He went from one place to the next it seems without any sense of where he would eventually end up. It really ended well for him you know… Thanks for the prayer. I think how blessed that we all connect to it…how it blesses the Lord that in this little corner of the “world” we have turned to Him in trust.

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      Oh, amen, Dea. Thank you for that reminder. And then there’s Joseph…

      Reply
  14. floyd

    Excellent prayer. The ones spoken from sincere humility are the ones that our Father seems to answer first. I’m in the Valley and our Father is preparing a table before me in the presence of my enemies… May we stay humble and faithful as His majestic hand guides us through the unknown. Thanks for sharing that.

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      Amen, Floyd. Praying you sense His presence and peace in the shadows of your valley and that you’ll be soon dazzled by the light.

      Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. when you have no idea where you are going - Sandra Heska King | Sandra Heska King - […] Continued over at BibleDude.net […]
  2. Saturday Shortcuts – Planned Peasanthood - […] | when you have no idea where you are going – It’s been one of those weeks. You’ve had…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

when you have no idea where you are going

by Sandra Heska King time to read: 2 min
34