Reprise: Lawyers’ Prayers

June 22, 2018 § 4 Comments


September 16, 2011 § 3 Comments

Practicing law can be a treacherous proposition, what with its snares and traps awaiting your every misstep. Sometimes the stress can be overwhelming, and the isolation you feel — that no one can understand the magnitude of the pressure cooker you’re in — makes it worse. Lawyers who have grown past cynicism to reach a deeper place come to know that you have to search somewhere outside yourself for strength and endurance. Here are two prayers for harried lawyers.

This prayer of the remarkable Thomas Merton, author and Trappist Monk, is reassuring and comforting for those who have to brave swamps full of dragons and unexpected perils every day.

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.

This next prayer comes from Alan Lomax’s The Land Where the Blues Began. He recorded it at a black Baptist state convention in Clarksdale in 1942. The sentiment, especially with its reference to a “war coat,” could not be more appropriate for the litigation gladiator.

You know I can’t help from loving You.
Because You loved me myself,
Long before I knew what love is.
And when my time have come
I’ve got the king’s crown in coming glory.
And when I come down to the river,
Help me to pull off my war coat and enter.
I’ll enter in the name of the Lord,
Make my enemies out a liar,
Make us able to bear our burdens.

§ 4 Responses to Reprise: Lawyers’ Prayers

  • Rebecca Taylor says:

    May I please share this on Facebook? I’m a lawyer in Wiggins & it’s needed. I do some work with the Lawyer’s and Judge’s Assistance Program with the Bar & am a double suicide survivor. (My husband and law partner and my Mom)


  • Winky Glover says:

    Like Patricia, the Merton prayer is one of my “go-to” favorites. Thanks.

  • Patricia Smith says:

    Thank you for sharing my favorite prayer by Thomas Merton.

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