Today I choose to pray for others.
But how shall I impart to them
The gift of peace and love
If my own heart is still unloving
And I have no peace of mind myself?

So I start with my heart:
I hold before the Lord
each feeling of resentment, anger, bitterness . . .
that may still be lurking there,
asking that God's grace
will make it yield to love someday
if not right now.

Then I seek the depth that silence brings,
for prayer that springs from silence
is powerful and effective.
So I listen to the sounds around me . . .
or become aware of the sensations in my body . . .
or my breathing in and out . . .

First I pray for people whom I love.
Over each of them I say a blessing:
"May you be safe from harm and evil,"
imagining that my words create
a protective shield of grace around them.
I think of the young . . . and recite this prayer:
"May the promise of your youth be met
and your life be fruitful."

Then I move on to the people I dislike and the people who dislike me.
Over each of them I say this prayer:
"May you and I be friends some day,"
imagining some future scene
where this comes to pass.

Finally I say to each of the people I care for:
"May my time with you be a grace for both of us."

I come back to my heart to rest awhile
in the silence that I find there . . .
and in the love that has come alive in me
as a consequence of my prayer for others.

Anthony de Mello in A Forgiving Heart by Lyn Klug, editor