The Prayer That Never Fails

I have been reading the Mitford series by Jan Karon. It is the running story of Father Tim Kavenaugh, an Episcopal priest serving a small mountain parish in North Carolina.

The books start with him finding love late in life: the love of a woman, the love of troubled boy, and the love of a dog. They show how he grows both in learning how to give, and probably more importantly, how to receive love. A common theme is his feelings of inadequacy–he often feels that his efforts are all for naught.

Interesting. I’ve felt that way myself a few times! The latest book I read was the fourth in the series: Out to Canaan, in which a frequent line is said: “We should pray the prayer that never fails!”

Throughout the book Father Tim and his wife, his vestry (church council) and other characters react to sometimes grave situations with that response.

“OK,” I thought to myself. “I could use that kind of a magic prayer! What is it?”

In fine literary form, the author does not reveal the actual words until one character is found in deep crisis, and comes to Father Tim for counseling.

“What if it doesn’t work?” the troubled one asked. “It NEVER fails,” replies Father Tim.

And you know, he’s right. It NEVER fails. The magic words?

Thy will be done.