The Roadblock Prayer

For all of you who asked to see it…the new haircut!

I saw my mother the other day and she loved my new haircut, and said that she wanted to get a similar one. She then asked me to make an appointment for her with my hairstylist, Liz. While I can enthusiastically recommend Liz, I felt a little twinge of discomfort thinking about setting the appointment up. My mother has never liked her hair cut/styles and although I know that she has changed over the past year (and become a lot more positive in general), I had visions of her being unhappy and grumbling about it afterward. I called Liz anyway and left a message.

As I drove home, I thought, “If this is not in the highest and best for everyone, I ask it to be roadblocked.” This “prayer”* is one of the most helpful spiritual tools that I have ever used. Many years ago, I was working as a volunteer for the Norman Vincent Peale Prayer Line, and the director (at that time) was the one who first told me about it.

Sometimes we make commitments, or say yes to something, that we’re not totally comfortable doing, and aren’t sure if we should cancel, or go forward with it. This is the time when the roadblock prayer is so helpful. Basically it says, “I am turning this entire situation over to a Higher Intelligence. I cannot figure out the best course and feel confused when I try to. I am going to move forward with the plan (whatever it may be) but if it is not in the highest and best good, then I give You (Spirit/God/Universal Energy) full permission to roadblock it, and I will now drop the struggle from my mind.”

The wording is not important, but the intention is. I have to be ready to really let go of the mental debate and turn my current dilemma over to the part of me (the Divine Self) that always knows the best course to take, but that I might be, in the moment, having a hard time hearing because of my conflicted thoughts/emotions. After I’ve said this prayer, I drop the issue from my mind and refuse to entertain it again.

An hour after getting home from meeting with my mother, she called to say that she had changed her mind and was going to give her own hairdresser another try. It was so simple and easy and I didn’t have to say a word. There is so much more help available to us, spiritually/Universally, than we sometimes realize.

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” Joseph Campbell

* The “Roadblock Prayer” has been such a helpful tool in my life, and I’ve wanted to share it here for a while, but felt I couldn’t adequately explain it. If what I have written is at all confusing or you would like me to say a little bit more about it, please let me know, and I’ll be happy to talk more about it.

81 thoughts on “The Roadblock Prayer

  1. Good Morning! You shared this prayer with me a long time ago, Mary, and I have used it. I love how it truly takes the fretting about something away and helps me to tap into, not only what is good for me, but also for others. Love the haircut!!

    • Oh…letting go of the fretting is such a relief isn’t it?! Thanks for this Diana!

  2. This is very clear, and such a great thing to remember. I love the Joseph Campbell quote as well. Your haircut is lovely – well really, it is you who is lovely, and the haircut goes very well with you. I hope you realize how much you are giving with these spiritual snip-its.

    • Thank you Juliet! I very much appreciate your words and am so grateful to know that my thoughts are helpful

  3. Love your new look! I tried going that short but felt uncomfortable. But it is so easy, huh? I understand the roadblock prayer….powerful. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Mary, Your post this morning is very clear. I think what helps communicate it so well is the analogy you’ve used. Maybe that’s what you were waiting for…the proper context in which to put this wonderful quote and comment. As I’ve mentioned here over the past while, I have been wrestling with a situation with my step-daughter, whom I raised from the age of nine onward to eighteen. Her mother had been suffering from temporary medical issues and moved out of the family home, taking her two sisters and leaving she and her older brother with their father. I believe this has continued to impact on her life considerably even though she is now forty-eight years old. This past week, after much deliberation and now prayer, I have set boundaries for myself which are very painful for us both. And so I thank you for reminding me to turn this issue over to a higher power than myself. I can’t tell you how often my ego interferes with this great support when I turn to it.
    SandyP in Canada

    • Sending good thoughts to you Sandy for continued focus on what you want to see and feel happening in your life… and you are so right, the ego certainly does interfere with our “higher plans” at times. It is a daily process for me of saying to myself when something unpleasant happens, “Are you focusing on what you want or what you fear Mary?”…it is a continual returning to the better thought

  5. Mary – that is a wonderful prayer. Thank you for sharing it with us. And – I love your “cute” haircut (we used to call it a pixie cut or the Audrey Hepburn style). It makes your eyes sparkle and your face beam like sunshine. Wish I could wear mine like that – but I’ve tried and the effect is not the same!

  6. Welcome home Mary,
    I LOVE your new hair cut. It really looks nice on you. Very elegant. I have an appt. tomorrow & I have been like your Mom with never liking ANYTHING so I’m taking the plunge & going to try to make changes & accept them.
    The roadblock story is great.
    I just love you. I want to come meet you this summer. My sister & I go to Lake George & Saratoga every year so I’ll have to set some thing up. You have a nice day. 🙂

  7. Good morning, Mary, and everyone! I do love your new “do”:) It looks wonderful on you. The “Roadblock Prayer” is great. You explained it very well and I will add it to my arsenal:) I love the idea of truly letting go and allowing God’s will to be done and not ours. Once again, Mary, thank you!

    • Thank you Molly for both thoughts about my hair and the prayer!

  8. Mary, as ever, THANK YOU. I have not heard of The Roadblock Prayer before, but I know that it will be a tremendous help to my peace of mind. You explained it quite well. And add me to the “thumbs up” list re: your haircut~ it really sets off your personal sparkle. 🙂

    • The roadblock prayer has given me so much peace of mind…glad that it spoke to you too Kelly and thanks for the thoughts about my hair!

  9. The new haircut is perfect for you, shows more of your gentle soul in your eyes, good choice.
    “Roadblock prayer puts into words what I needed a way to say.
    Thank You Mary.

  10. A good morning wish to Mary and to the flock. I love the photo of you with the new haircut, BUT my favorite photo of you with your new haircut is the one with you and Jack and your sons in the car. Each time I see Judy Dench I think of you and your new style. I am attaching an article from the most recent People magazine that talks about the “pixie” style. I do believe you are “in vogue.” (I also remember my pixie cut.)
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/51887497/pixie%20cut.pdf

    The Roadblock Prayer is definitely a keeper. Helps to keep one from obsessing or constantly debating with ourself or in duality which creates tenseness. I think the explanation is clear due to your oh so apt story or analogy that goes along with it. For those with questions, I know we will all benefit from any further explanations you add. We seem to be cut from the same cloth with similar questions, values, situations, life experiences, etc. It is our sharing of our lives and things we ponder that help us to look at and within ourselves (without judgment).

    • Oh thank you Mary…I have to smile at the thought of being “in vogue”, but I like it!

  11. Great picture Mary! Your hair looks terrific! I saw the same article that Mary S. saw and thought of you immediately! Counting the days til my appointment!

    I love the Roadblock Prayer, too. Your explanation/description is very clear…Thank you! And, since you have shared it with me, I have used it
    and have experienced the peace, the calm, the confidence, and the resolution that all will be well and work out just as it should. I think its beauty is in its simplicity and how that simplicity, when we step back, can make what seems like a complicated issue, suddenly clear! Then just to sit back, and watch the Universe at work! It’s a beautiful thing! Happy Monday to all!

    • Thank you Kathye! I too feel that it is the simplicity of this prayer that makes it so beautiful

  12. Very stylish haircut!

    I cannot help but say that I do not believe in a personal God that intercedes for us in the manner of the roadblock prayer or any other prayer for that matter. Joseph Campbell did not believe in a personal God either.

    I do believe in the wisdom of acceptance and letting go/not trying to control things that are beyond our influence.

  13. The Roadblock Prayer….wow….you can’t imagine what good timing this one is for me! I am printing this for the wall. I am always in crisis mode with my elderly and not so well mother and my patience seems to have disappeared from my life. I am one that needs to “drop the struggle from my mind” and give it up to a Higher Source. I would love for you to say more about this Mary…..
    PS….I absolutely love the haircut…..wish I had the ____ to get it for myself.

    • Thank you Karen …one of the key parts to this prayer, is that a decision must first be made to go forward with something. THat doesn’t mean that we should always say yes (many times I know, in my gut, that I need to say no, so I trust that) , but it is for the times when I have already said yes, or think I should, but feel uneasy but need to move forward anyway. Years ago, my mother was very nervous about her second hip replacement (the first did not go well) and she decided to do it but was a wreck thinking about it. We prayed this prayer together and she did her best to let it go, believing that if it was not going to work out well, something would come up and the surgery would either be postponed or cancelled …nothing at all stood in the way, as a matter of fact it was as if the road cleared perfectly and the surgery was a wonderful success with a super-easy recovery. Hope this helps

    • My prayers are with you Karen. I have struggles with my elderly mother also. She has lived with me for almost 7 years now, ever since my husband died. Life is a challenge! We all have our own struggles. How to deal with them is the biggest challenge! For a start, listen to our good friend Mary. :‹)

  14. mary you look great. kudos to you for having the courage to step into your life. thanks for the roadblock prayer today. helps me to remember that i am not my ego and to get out of the way for the truth to flow.

    • that is so well-stated, “I am not my ego”…thanks for this Mary! (and for the compliment too!)

  15. Mary, I always believe and pray something very similar whenever a situation arises. A year ago I’d just divorced, put my house up for sale with intentions to move to SC & prayed that if I was to start a new life in a new place that my house would sell, if not it wasn’t meant to be & I would accept it. My house sold in 25 days, so here I am in Charleston and very happy!
    Your new hairstyle is awesome!!! 🙂

  16. Thanks for the Roadblock Prayer. Years ago, I was going to visit my father in Wisconsin. I was 40. The last time I had seen him I was 12! I had my plane ticket. The trip was planned, but I had my doubts and nerves. A friend said, “Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. If this trip is not meant to be, something will block your path. If nothing does just keep going”. I did and it was good. What my sister, Connie, would call “A God Job”. MRS

  17. Mary, I don’t know if you read all of your comments,but I discovered your blog while you were on vacation and it cracked my brain open with a crowbar and poured in. I was so stunned after the first entry that I just kept reading it like a book, going back through weeks and months. This last year has been a challenge for me in too many ways to list, but your writing must have been what I needed because I found it. Anne Lamott says there are two prayers, “help me help me help me” and ” thank you thank you thank you”.
    Well Mary, thank you thank you thank you.

  18. Mary, this haircut was MADE for you! It frames your lovely face so well. Good job in deciding to go for it.

    I really like the Roadblock Prayer. I can certainly use it in a current situation I’m in regarding a Golden Retriever who lives next door. He is constantly alone, almost 24/7, and I have stepped in once a week to have him to my place for a day just to give him some companionship. Everyone seems to think that I should take him if the owner decides to give him up. I want to help him but am not sure that I should be taking this on full-time. The Roadblock Prayer is coming to me at the most perfect time.

    As one of the characters in the movie, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” said, “In the end, all will be well. And if it is not well, then it isn’t the end.” Gotta love that philosophy!

    • Thank you Suzanne those are great words from the movie! (is this a movie that you would recommend?)

      • I loved this movie. I think you have to be a certain age to really appreciate the whole ‘flavor.’

        But then, I love anything Judi Dench is in, so I’d probably even go see “Deep Throat” if she did a re-make.

    • yes, but with the “qualification” that a step to go forward must first be made

  19. I love the haircut too! Thank you for sharing it with us Mary. Wish I had the face for a cut like that. I like the idea of the letting go “roadblock” prayer too. It kind of reminds me of “Letting go and letting God” prayer. I have often found that when there is a “roadblock” for something there is a reason for it. I have learned not to fight the roadblocks! I think it’s important to know the difference between giving up and letting go and releasing something to a higher power.

    • thank you JoAnne… and I have found the same thing too…when I ask for higher wisdom to light the way and something is blocked, I try to bless it (the situation, person, event) and release it, which helps my mind feel calmer and more peaceful as well

  20. Great cut and you look absolutely lovely! I’ve done something similar my whole life, simply put, turn it over to your higher power and stand back. It has never failed to result in a positive outcome, though I may not have felt that way at the time. Such power in our connected universe!

  21. Love your hair Mary (and the person wearing it!). The road block prayer is something I know I will use, thank you. Hello to the flock!

  22. Thank you for the road block prayer explanation and example. It makes such sense, felt a sense of relief knowing this could be asked for while proceeding in a determined yet questioning way. You described very clearly and understandably this process, proceed and let go at the same time.

    You’re gorgeous, Dame Mary, no matter what the “do,” but this one is perfect for you.

    • Oh thank you Sally! I read your comment to Jack and he said that he really likes the “Dame Mary” title! (so funny and sweet of you both)…I’m glad that the prayer makes sense…it has saved me hours (probably days) of futile worrying when I have remembered to pray it.

  23. thank you for today’s piece of inspiration – came at just the right moment.
    and thanks for sharing your new haircut – looks beautiful on you…but then maybe that has nothing to do with the haircut at all!

  24. A mini-cyber funny: I can’t SEE Mary’s do–there’s a big red X in the corner on my page!! I was toying with cutting my longish hair: maybe not now! Mary’s explanation is right up my spiritual alley, though. Love Suzanne’s quotation from exotic/marigold, which hasn’t arrived here in the hinterlands as yet.

    Years ago we would go to our teacher Pearl with a long list of woes & after we’d finished worrying, she’d quietly ask, “Have you tried asking God?” Clunk!

    Sometimes we find ourselves in quirky or unusual circumstances we’d probably not choose, but another way to let go and let God(dess) is to call for a new understanding or clarification that we’ll try to be open to, What can I learn anew from this situation/these folks?

    Wanta come along on my next one? Tomorrow we’re going camping for 3 daze with about 20 fiddlers and guitarists, average age, high 80’s/some 90’s, to a spot on the Klamath River called “Tree of Heaven”!! My hubby Michael at 56 is the baby of the group. No kiddin’. We’ve all been doing this for a couple of years now, and I attend, quietly carrying watercolors, a book or two, and my camp cooking and cleaning skills. Maybe Mary’s pix will have emerged by the time I return. Happy week of miracles big and small, ya’ll!

    • What a fun sounding 3 days Kathi! Can’t wait to hear about it…I love your words too of calling for a new understanding of an uncomfortable situation…anything that we can say/think to stop the mental debate/chatter/worry and bring our minds back to center, is powerful prayer to me

  25. yesterday i called my realtor to ask her come today and list my house. i’ve gone back and forth with this decision for the past two years but have always backed out——–too afraid. i awoke this morning and i knew to carry through with my appointment today with my realtor as planned.

    after my walk this morning i came inside and there in my in-box was this most confirming message. this ‘ah ha’ knowing———-how it turns out, i don’t know but i know i can release all concern. mary, you explained the roadblock prayer beautifully, i’d love to hear more. thank you sooo much, you are vibrant, inside and out.

    • Thank you Virginia! Is there is a specific part of the prayer that you would like clarity about? (I am delighted to talk more about it!)

      • thanks, mary, for your response. actually the prayer and the way you worded it was clear. i have prayed this intention often in the past and i’ve found it to be comforting. so i think here that what i’m asking for is your thoughts on not forcing situations; yet holding to our dreams and knowings. and indeed manifesting them.

        i’ve made plenty of “mistakes” in the past, lets say poor choices with regards to life-changing events involving both myself and others. because of said, past choices, often my prayer now is this, “this feels like the direction that i need to move toward, these feel like the actions i need to take, but hey, i need you to drop this in my lap.” i don’t want to be kidding myself yet again. as we say in 12 steps, “my best thinking got me here”.

        i’d appreciate some thoughts, whatever may come to you about this

      • sometimes when we’ve made a lot of “mistakes” or choices that seemed like the wrong ones, our self-confidence is shaken enough that we don’t trust ourselves at all, and even though I know that saying from the 12 step programs (my best thinking got me here!) is designed to help us think in a new way (not rely on our old responsive patterns but to learn a new, more thoughtful approach to life), it’s not the best message to keep telling ourselves. Truly, it was not “our best” thinking that got us into those situations it was us making decisions from confused, sometimes angry, desperate states of mind. While saying the roadblock prayer, an affirmation that I find very helpful (to go along with it) is, “I trust the Divine within me to make perfect decisions.”…I hope that this is helpful

  26. Mary. Your haircut is very becoming! It suits you! I’ve had short hair for years….easy and no-fuss. Thank you for this wonderful prayer…another reminder to let go and allow the divine to take over. Much needed for me these days as I ride the roller-coaster of grief, missing my beloved Romeo…aching at times….. yet also feeling his spirit with me now more than ever, but also feeling the need to make decisions about my future and how/if/what/when horses will continue to be such a huge part of my life. Feeling very naked….time to allow the divine to dress me up and ease my worries and aching heart.

    • Still thinking of you every day, Debra. Let the heart ache. It will know its own time for peace.

    • Debra and Mary, and everybody, wow, this post has left me with homework – because my roadblock is huge, -I’m not sure I am ready to share all the particulars, but Debra, your words. “time to allow the divine to dress me up and ease my worries and aching heart”, I am going to rub those words like a soft balm into my heart tonight. And bless Romeo’s spirit and may it continue to give you much much comfort! He is all around you Debra! I always say to my sons, “Angels All Around You”, when we have to part, and now, I see Romeo prancing high with wings on his flanks! Angels, All Around You!

    • Thank you for your sweet words about my hair Debra and know that so many of us are continuing to send you thoughts of love and comfort

    • Thank you Carolyn and yes, Jack (much to the surprise of us both) loves it!

  27. The last time I had a ‘pixie’ cut was before I reached puberty. At the time, my older sister was in cosmetology school and she decided to try her new skills on my long pigtails. I felt like Peter Pan when the weight of my hair lifted; the freedom of climbing trees, running through fields, without getting tangled and hampered by hair pulls! However, my father was so upset when he saw me, he didn’t speak to my sister for months.
    Someone mentioned here the fear of ‘feeling naked’ when you announced your intent for a new ‘do’ prior to vacation. I must admit to the same roadblock that keeps me from going short again—I find it courageous that you took the leap! Judi Dench, move OVER; our Mary is the new covergirl!!

    • Thank you Cheryl…i think that it was Lynne who said that (about feeling naked). i hadn’t realized that i was (a little bit) feeling protected by my hair…well, no more! I feel very light and it also feels “right” for me.

  28. Love this. It is similar to my favorite “all-purpose” affirmation: “This situation is resolving itself for the highest good of all concerned.” Meaning whether it happens, or doesn’t, in exactly the way we want it to, or think it “should” happen, it is for everyone’s highest good. The mystery to me is, why do I so frequently forget this???

  29. What a wonderful prayer. Many thanks for sharing it. So often I was always taught not to pray like that as it would draw negativity to me or make the outcome come true that I was praying to roadblock. I am so grateful you shared it as I really needed it today.
    Your new haircut is quite lovely!

    • Thank you… and if you would let me know which part you’d like to hear more about, I’d be delighted to elaborate!

  30. Love the new hair style – looks easy & glamorous!!!

    I totally get the roadblock prayer and have a similar version I have begun to use.

    Thanks as always for your words, light & energy~

    : )

    • thank you Melissa! (and if you would like to share your version, I know that others would appreciate it too)

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