Lord, Teach Us to Think Anew!

by | Aug 8, 2018 | Formation, Reflections, Systemic change | 2 comments

Lord, teach us to think anew!

A few months ago I was privileged to engage in dialog with members of the Eastern Region of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. I have written elsewhere how I was blessed by their closing prayer.

Today I would like to share their challenging opening prayer for release from the prison of our old ways of thinking.

A Prayer

Frederic Ozanam dreamed a great dream, and his vision is in our hands today. We hold in our Vincentian hearts these words of the Rule (1.6):

“Faithful to the spirit of its founders, the Society constantly strives for renewal, adapting to changing world conditions.

It seeks to be ever aware of the changes that occur in human society and the new types of poverty that may be identified or anticipated. It gives priority to the poorest of the poor and to those who are most rejected by society.”

And so we pray: (Alternate sides)

Lord, sometimes we are trapped in a box that we can’t even recognize.

Release us.

We are ready to leave the box of our normal thinking and to find the opportunity that lies disguised in this challenge.

Show us the truth that will set us free.

We can be a prisoner of our old ways of thinking.

Our assumptions can blind us to the new possibilities that you have for us.

Often, what we think we know keeps us from knowing what we cannot yet think.

We see people’s weaknesses;

you see the strengths you gave them.

We see what they have done so far;

you see what they could do.

We see why we can’t do it;

you see how we can.

We see the problem;

you see the solution.

Break us out.

What do you think?

  • What phrase struck you most?
  • Does God need to move us to a new place for a different view?
  • Have we surrounded ourselves with people who think too much like us?


  1. Ross

    Thanks, John. Coincidentally, or providentially, today, the feast of St. Dominic Guzmán, the short reading at morning prayers is Rom 12, 1-2, which says in part: «Do not conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you may judge what is God’s will, what is good, pleasing and perfect».

  2. Sr. Marjory Ann Baez

    Thank you very much!