Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

* Henri Nouwen *


Help me, O Lord, to let my old self die, to let die the thousand big and small ways in which I am still building up my false self and trying to cling to my false desires. Let me be reborn in you and see through you the world in the right way, so that all my actions, words, thoughts can become a hymn of praise to you. I need your loving grace to travel on this hard road that leads to the death of my old self and to a new life in and for you. I know and trust that this is the road to freedom. Lord, dispel my mistrust and help me become a trusting friend. Amen.

( Henri Nouwen )

LAMENTATIONS chapter three ( abridged )

I am one who has seen affliction
under the rod of God’s wrath;
he has driven and brought me into darkness
without any light;
against me alone he turns his hand,
again and again, all day long.

He has made my flesh and my skin waste away,
and broken my bones;
he has besieged and enveloped me
with bitterness and tribulation;
he has made me sit in darkness
like the dead of long ago.

He has walled me about
so that I cannot escape;
he has put heavy chains on me;
though I call and cry for help,
he shuts out my prayer;
he has blocked my ways with hewn stones,
he has made my paths crooked.
I have become the laughingstock
of all my people,
the object of their taunt-songs
all day long.

He has filled me with bitterness,
he has sated me with wormwood.
He has made my teeth grind on gravel,
and made me cower in ashes;
my soul is bereft of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness is;
so I say, “Gone is my glory,
and all that I had hoped for from the LORD.”

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
The LORD is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul that seeks him.

It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.
It is good for one to bear the yoke in youth,
to sit alone in silence
when the Lord has imposed it,
to put one’s mouth to the dust,
to give one’s cheek to the smiter,
and be filled with insults.

For the Lord will not reject forever.
When all the prisoners of the land
are crushed under foot,
when human rights are perverted
in the presence of the Most High,
when one’s case is subverted
does the Lord not see it?

I called on your name, O LORD,
from the depths of the pit;
you came near when I called on you;
you said, “Do not fear!”
You have taken up my cause, O Lord,
you have redeemed my life.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Henri Nouwen,
“wounded healer”

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Henri Nouwen, priest, spiritual writer and servant.

Nouwen was a Roman Catholic priest and a spiritual guide for many in the decades following the Second Vatican Council. His pivotal book “The Wounded Healer” shaped the understanding of ministry for an entire generation. His writing was insightful and deeply personal. One of the ongoing themes that runs through all of his work is his struggle to reconcile his clinical depression with his Christian faith. This gave his work a power and immediacy. He also struggled with his sexuality, trying to reconcile his vows of celibacy with his loneliness and longing for intimacy.

After a prestigious career teaching in places like Notre Dame, Yale, and Harvard, he gave it all up and joined L’Arche, a network of global communities where people with developmental disabilities live with those who care for them. Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche, deeply influenced Nouwen’s spirituality. Nouwen became part of L’Arche’s Daybreak Community in Richmond Hill, Ontario, and spent the last ten years of his life as their pastor.

On the twenty-first of September, 1996 Henri Nouwen died very suddenly from a heart attack at the age of sixty-four.


“The journey from teaching about love to allowing myself to be loved proved much longer than I realised.”

“To be a Christian who is willing to travel with Christ on his downward road requires being willing to detach oneself constantly from any need to be relevant, and to trust ever more deeply the Word of God.”

“Too many of us are lonely ministers practicing a lonely ministry.”

Scripture. In "Psalm Eighty-Four", verses ten and eleven we read:

"For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; he bestows favour and honour. No good thing does the LORD withhold from those who walk uprightly.


We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that God may redeem our personal suffering by using it to bring healing to others and to bring us closer to Jesus Christ, who suffered and was crucified, who died and was buried, who descended to the dead but on the third day rose again and ascended into heaven where he is seated at the right hand of the Father.

... for the people of Mali who celebrate their national day today.

... for the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands and all who remain in the path of Hurricane Maria.

... for the lonely.

... for the more than fifty migrants who are feared drowned after their boat ran out of fuel and capsized off the Libyan coast last Friday. DETAILS

... for those who have died and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.


Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.


From "The Inner Voice of Love" by Henri Nouwen:

When you speak to others about your pain without fully owning it, you expect something from them that they cannot give. As a result, you will feel frustrated, and those you wanted to help will feel confused, disappointed, or even further burdened.

But when you fully own your pain and do not expect those to whom you minister to alleviate it, you can speak about it in true freedom. Then sharing your struggle can become a service; then your openness about yourself can offer courage and hope to others.

For you to be able to share your struggle as a service, it is also essential to have people to whom you can go with your own needs. You will always need safe people to whom you can pour out your heart. You will always need people who do not need you but who can receive you and give you back to yourself. You will always need people who can help you own your pain and claim your struggle.


Lord, we bring to you our vulnerability, our wounds, our pain, and our growth. By the power of your forgiving love, send us as wounded healers into the world you love so much; in the name of your son, Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. Amen.

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.


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