In addition to being married to FDRÂ (and being the longest serving First-Lady of the US), Eleanor Roosevelt worked to further justice in the world in her lifetime. In fact, Harry Truman called her the “The First Lady of the World” because of her human rights work. According to the book The Grand Paradox, Eleanor had a prayer she prayed each night that went like this,
Our Father, who has set a restlessness in our hearts and made us all seekers after that which we can never fully find, forbid us to be satisfied with what we make of life. Draw us from base content and set our eyes on far-off goals. Keep us at tasks too hard for us that we may be driven to [You] for strength. Deliver us from fretfulness and self-pitying: make us sure of the good we cannot see and of the hidden good in the world. Open our eyes to simple beauty all around us and our hearts to the loveliness men hide from us because we do not try to understand them. Save us from ourselves and show us a vision of a world made new.
There’s a lot to love about this prayer, and I encourage you to use it if it resonates with you. One line in particular stands out to me: “Keep us at tasks too hard for us that we may be driven to [You] for strength.”
Are we willing to pray that same prayer today?
I’ve written about this elsewhere, but I’ve found that Eleanor nails a key element of what causes us to turn to God. It’s those situations and challenges that we cannot help but acknowledge are beyond us. But I wonder if we, like Eleanor, might actually pray for more of them and seek them out instead of settling into what is comfortable? Normal tasks don’t require a supernatural God.