Vatican City, February 27 - Benedict XVI on Wednesday thanked God for guidance he has received during his papacy in his last general audience on his penultimate days as pontiff. "I am personally grateful for His unfailing love and guidance in the eight years since I accepted his call to serve as the Successor of Peter," the outgoing pope said in the English part of the audience. "I am also deeply grateful for the understanding, support and prayers of so many of you, not only here in Rome, but also throughout the world". He added that he had peace of mind about a decision that shocked the world last month and called on the faithful to pray for his successor. "The decision I have made, after much prayer, is the fruit of a serene trust in God's will and a deep love of Christ's Church. "I will continue to accompany the Church with my prayers, and I ask each of you to pray for me and for the new pope. "In union with Mary and all the saints, let us entrust ourselves in faith and hope to God, who continues to watch over our lives and to guide the journey of the Church and our world along the paths of history. "I commend all of you, with great affection, to his loving care, asking him to strengthen you in the hope which opens our hearts to the fullness of life that he alone can give. To you and your families, I impart my blessing. Thank you!"