By Paulo Coelho
One day, a man received a visit from some friends.
‘We would very much like it if you could teach us what you have learned over the years,’ said one of them.
‘I’m old,’ said the man.
‘Old and wise,’ said another of his friends. ‘All these years, we have watched you praying. What do you talk to God about? What are the important things we should be praying for?’
The man smiled.
‘In the beginning, I had the fervour of youth, which believes in the impossible. In those days, I used to kneel before God and ask him to give me the strength to change humankind. Gradually, I came to see that the task was beyond me. Then I started praying to God to help me change the world around me.’
‘Well, we can certainly vouch for the fact that part of your wish was granted,’ said one of his friends. ‘For you have helped many people by your example.’
‘Yes, I have helped many people by my example, and yet I knew that I had not yet found the perfect prayer. Only now, at the end of my life, have I come to understand what I should have been praying for from the start.’
‘And what is that?’
‘To be given the ability to change myself.’
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