Prayers from Teresa of Avila for Lent.

by Christine Sine
Peter Paul Rubens 138

Today’s first prayer is attributed to St Teresa of Avila, the great Carmelite reformer and nurturer of St John of the Cross, though it is not found in her writings and was probably actually written by Mark Guy Pearse and Quaker medical missionary Sarah Elizabeth Rowntree. (Thanks Teri Petersen for pointing me to this article that explains). However it is such a beautiful prayer that it definitely needs to be part of our Lenten collection.
I have always found inspiration from the lives of those who have gone before. Their footprints provide places for me to stand and words and prayers encourage and strengthen me as I too seek to move forward into the ways of God. It seems appropriate that we celebrate the lives of some of these women during this season of Lent.

Teresa of Avila by Peter Paul Rubens

Teresa of Avila by Peter Paul Rubens

Teresa of Avila is one such person.  In her classic The Interior Castle she says: “Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. All things pass. God does not change. Patience achieves everything.” I have decided to add this book to my Lenten reading as I guiltily realized yesterday that there are presently no women on my list and yet much of my inspiration comes from women.

In many ways Teresa of Avila was a very ordinary person – struggling with some of the same life challenges we struggle with today.  But out of that struggle came a rich inner prayer life that continues to inspire many today.

Here is one of my favourites of her prayer/poems.  Read it through several times.  Listen to the beautiful musical rendition at the end of the post.   Allow their truths to take root in your heart. As you read this prayer and listen to the music may you too consider what action God may ask of you as a result of reading and meditating on them

“Christ has no body now, but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ looks compassion into the world.
Yours are the feet
with which Christ walks to do good.
Yours are the hands
with which Christ blesses the world.”

Music by David Ogden 

This second prayer IS from Teresa of Avila’s writings – Enjoy.

Majestic sovereign, timeless wisdom,
your kindness melts my hard, cold soul.
Handsome lover, selfless giver,
your beauty fills my dull, sad eyes.
I am yours, you made me.
I am yours, you called me.
I am yours, you saved me.
I am yours, you loved me.
I will never leave your presence.
Give me death, give me life.
Give me sickness, give me health.
Give me honor, give me shame.
Give me weakness, give me strength.
I will have whatever you give.

Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

Photo: By Peter Paul Rubens – Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Bilddatenbank., Public Domain,

You may also like


Teri Peterson March 14, 2014 - 10:10 am

The “no hands but yours” is very un-Teresa-esque, though it has been mis-attributed for years. It appears to actually be the work of Methodist minister Mark Guy Pearse and Quaker medical missionary Sarah Elizabeth Rowntree. More info here:

LOVE that second prayer a lot–thank you for posting it!

Christine Sine March 14, 2014 - 10:23 am

Thanks Teri for this information. It is good to know.

Leave a Comment