The importance of prayer

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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  1. Marie-Christine says:


  2. fLUXman says:

    dear paulo,
    do you feel that evolution has come to the point where all the monkeys from all the islands are getting the same creative thoughts ?
    i believe you will be the stone that created this ripple.
    would like you to be my guru,
    may i sir ?

  3. faatimah vally says:

    thats a beautiful story, and true at that!
    but is it not by changing the world around us , we can change ourselves too? and in the end the ripple effect changes the whole world? or is this the fervour of youth….?

  4. Olá Paulo! Atma Namaste! :)

    A prayer, for me, is God in action. If I think, to organize my thoughts to do something, God is there. If I go to do something, if I act upon something, God is also there. And in the space between the two things, there is the miracle, in another dimension , over our understanding. The miracle of life, that is, for sure, God in His full action too! :)

    Lovely and wise message, Paulo! Thank you!
    Love & Light!

    Marta :)

  5. LIANA says:

    Yes,i’ts pure truth. Unfortunately I understood it quite late. For many years I was trying to change the world around me,and the people surrounding me. I hated the whole world but finally I understood that the only way to change the world,is to change myself. AND THE ONLY WAY TO LOVE THE WORLD,IS TO LIVE WITHOUT ANY EXPECTATIONS FROM IT. Only live. If you stop expecting anything from your relatives and friends,you’ll start loving them all,Believe me.