The Welcoming Prayer

Posted May 21st, 2020

A Series by John McGill | It’s about Letting Go

Welcome to my next teaching series about a life changing way to receive God’s healing grace. I invite you, my friend, to share this personal prayer composed by Father Thomas Keating (1923 – 2018), an American Catholic monk and pioneer in ‘contemplative prayer’, a mindful approach to accepting Christ’s merciful, healing love. You can practice contemplative prayer by literally saying, “Welcome, [bad feeling].” For example, if you are frozen in fear, say, “Welcome, fear.” Even if you are hot with rage: say, “Welcome, rage.

NOTE: We’re talking here about feelings and emotions, not problems and physical hardships. We are not welcoming illness or injustice. If you are looking for relief from the struggle with a problem or illness through the Welcoming Prayer, think about what negative emotion or feeling is being kicked up. (It will likely be a variety of fear or anger.) You might be angry about unfairness, or afraid of the future. Remember, the Welcoming Prayer is for feelings and emotions, not what triggered them.

Many resist the idea of accepting that they are in a negative space emotionally, and struggling with fear or anger. It is easy to feel paralyzed with emotion… or you might want to escape and avoid the problem altogether. Acceptance of the negative emotions you are experiencing merely establishes you in reality, so that you can contemplate your reaction, and respond to a situation effectively. If you are terrified about a health issue, that fear may be immobilizing you; accepting and then releasing the fear may free you to be able to cope and deal with the issue.

The Welcoming Prayer is about letting go. This prayer is a way to say: “I let go of my desire for security and survival. I let go of my desire for esteem and affection. I let go of my desire for power and control. I let go of my desire to change the situation.”


The Welcoming Prayer:

by Father Thomas Keating

Welcome, welcome, welcome.
I welcome everything that comes to me today
because I know it’s for my healing.
I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions, persons,
situations, and conditions.
I let go of my desire for power and control.
I let go of my desire for affection, esteem,
approval and pleasure.
I let go of my desire for survival and security.
I let go of my desire to change any situation,
condition, person or myself.
I open to the love and presence of God and
God’s action within. Amen


The “Welcoming Prayer” can help you give your problems to God and strengthen your faith, allowing you to live your best life, share your faith with others, and enjoy God’s grace and love.

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