Eleven Perennial Prayers

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Eleven Perennial Prayers


These prayers are “perennial” because their expressions keep returning in all the prayers that are said and longed for. They come from different traditions, and in that way, they circle the world and keep us connected to the long and large traditions which embrace us all and link us to the Divine Nature.

                                                                                  Brenda Peddigrew, RSM

                     Autumn, 2010


I arise today

Through the strength of heaven;

Light of sun,

Radiance of moon,

Splendour of fire,

Speed of lightning,

Swiftness of wind,

Depth of sea,

Stability of earth,

Firmness of rock.


I arise today

Through God’s strength to pilot me:

God’s might to uphold me,

God’s wisdom to guide me,

God’s eye to look before me,

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s word to speak to me,

God’s hand to guard me,

God’s way to lie before me,

God’s shield to protect me,

God’s host to save me,

From snares of devils,

From temptations of vices,

From everyone who shall wish me ill,

Afar and anear,

Alone and in a multitude.





(taken from David Adam’s Celtic Prayer Book


Caim (Encircling) Prayer



                                                      Circle me O God                                                        

Keep hope within

Despair without


Circle me O God

Keep peace within

Keep turmoil out.


Circle me O God

Keep calm within

Keep storms without.


Circle me O God

Keep strength within

Keep weakness out

                              The Mighty Three                            

My protection be

Encircling me.

You are around

My life, my home *

Encircling me

O Sacred Three.


* The fifth line can be changed to encompass any person or situation we choose.

(New verses can be written to meet new situations, as appropriate. (from David Adam’s Celtic Prayers)



I embrace the power of prayer.

I open myself

to Divine Guidance

and I surrender myself

to be a channel

for grace, healing and service

as God directs my life.


I only want to listen and receive.


(Carolyn Myss in Entering the Castle




Thomas Merton’s “Prayer of Trust”


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 that

I have that desire in all that I am doing.

And I know that if I do this, you will lead me

by the right road, although 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.



 (from Being Prayer by Mary Rees)


Prayer of St. Francis


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,

where there is hatred, let me sow love,

where there is injury, pardon,

where there is doubt, faith,

where there is despair, hope,

where there is darkness, light,

and where there is sadness, joy.


O Divine Master, grant that I may

not so much seek to be consoled as to console,

to be understood as to understand,

to be loved as to love.


For it is in giving that we receive,

and it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying

that we are born to eternal life.

                                                                          (Francis of Assisi)


 My task ahead is like a rosary.

In the hours this work will take,

Miracles will happen unobserved

within my body and mind.

My spirit will grow in maturity.

My love for humankind

will make some new acquaintances.

I will savor each second,

lay down each minutes

carefully and joyously,

a brick in the temple of my being.

My task ahead is like a rosary.


(Modern prayer from Madrid in Marcus Braybrooke (ed)

The Bridge of Stars )


 The Guardian Angel


Be thou a bright flame

before me ;

Be thou a guiding star

above me;

be thou a smooth path

below me,

and be a kindly shepherd

behind me






                              (old Gaelic prayer)



Buddhist prayer of Lovingkindness

 May you be safe from inner and outer harm.

 May you be happy and peaceful.

 May you be healthy and strong.

 May you care for yourself joyfully.



(substitute “I” and the names of those dear to you for the word “you” in the prayer. Also include the animals and the planet, and even your enemies.)


Make me

a still place of light

a still place of love

of You

Your light radiating

Your  love vibrating

Your  touch  and Your healing

far-flung and near

to the myriads caught

in darkness, in sickness,

in lostness, in fear.


Make a heart-center here,

Light of the world.

(prayer from Malling Abbey, Denmark)


Traditional First Nations Prayer

O Great Spirit,

whose voice I hear in the winds,
and whose breath gives life to all the world
-hear me-
I come before you, one of your children.
I am small and weak.
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold
the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made,
my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise, so that I may know the things
you have taught my People.
The lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength not to be superior to my brothers,
but to be able to fight my greatest enemy,
Make me ever ready to come to you,
with clean hands and straight eyes,
so when life fades as a fading sunset,
my spirit may come to you without shame.

(Author Unknown)