Prayer for the Acceptance of God’s Will: Line One

Oh Lord, I know not what to ask of thee.

      One life’s ironies: the times when I need God’s help and guidance most are when I don’t know how to ask for them. “I know not what to ask” doesn’t mean I have no specific outcome in mind: it’s the recognition that another outcome may very well be holier than the one I’m requesting.


O Lord, I know not what to ask of thee. Thou alone knowest what are my true needs. Thou lovest me more than I myself know how to love. Help me to see my real needs which are concealed from me. I dare not ask either a cross or consolation. I can only wait on thee. My heart is open to thee. Visit and help me, for thy great mercy’s sake. Strike me and heal me, cast me down and raise me up. I worship in silence thy holy will and thine inscrutable ways. I offer myself as a sacrifice to thee. I put all my trust in thee. I have no other desire than to fulfil thy will. Teach me how to pray. Pray thou thyself in me.   Amen. (From A Manual of Eastern Orthodox Prayers, Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1991, p.24)

About the Author of this prayer:

Metropolitan Philaret was the son of a Russian Orthodox priest who became a priest himself. He taught at St. Petersburg Theological Academy, and eventually became the Metropolitan of Moscow – a ranking somewhere between archbishop and patriarch. Not quite on par with the pope, but awfully close. He worked for offering scripture and other teachings in Russian so more people could read them. He wrote a catechism that is still in use. I suspect Philaret was a very busy man who had his share of difficulties.

6 thoughts on “Prayer for the Acceptance of God’s Will: Line One

  1. Most assuredly the things I want are rarely the things I need. To acknowledge this up front is to remain open to God’s will and the theodicy inherent in that relationship. It has an humbling effect on me just now as I come before the Almighty.

    1. Interesting you bring up theodicy as inherent in our relationship with God. In the end, is choosing what is not God’s will something that leads to evil and destruction?

      1. I would say that it can–“lead” being the operative word–though I think in my case it primarily results in a less robust relationship–unhealthy, even (a la Nietzsche). Whether God ordained free will or we invented it, I believe God’s will is the final reality in this “best of all worlds” and that the more we understand that God’s ways are not our ways the closer we come to surrender. What say ye?

        1. Hi Bill,

          Always an interesting subject, will of God and my own will. I think the will of God is much like the Word of God: expressed in creating and living ways rather than a set of plans. Accepting God’s will is accepting the holiness of God and the love that binds the universe together – and asking to participate in a meaningful way here and now. I also am quite sure that my perspective is way too small to come close to the living truth of it all – way beyond my comprehension, but ever near for my participation.

          1. Thanks for the comments, Bill! You always get me thinking of things I would otherwise miss – and that’s a grace, to be sure! Peace, Johnna

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