WHY WE PRAY
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2559) states, “Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.”
Prayer can be calling upon God for assistance. God desires closeness with us, an intimate relationship. Prayer is communication with God that allows our relationship with Him to develop and grow.
“For me prayer is a surge of the heart, it is a simple look towards Heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.” – Saint Therese of Lisieux
Everyone is called to live a “vital and personal relationship with the living and true God. This relationship is prayer.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2558
We can pray alone or with others; we worship together as parish communities at Mass and pray as families. Prayer can be public or private. It can be formal or spontaneous. There are many types of prayer and many different styles of worship, but all center on living and experiencing our relationship with the living God. Each person can develop his or her own style, routine, and rhythm of prayer. Prayer is an essential component of being a Catholic. Prayer helps us form a sense of security and a deeper awareness of our dependence on God.
Four Basic Forms of Prayer
- Blessing and Adoration (praising God)
- Prayer of Petition (asking for what we need, including forgiveness)
- Prayer of Intercession (asking for what others need)
- Prayer of Thanksgiving (for what God has given and done)
Prayer of Blessing and Adoration
In this prayer we express praise and honor to God. We praise God for giving us life, for the wonder and beauty of our world, and for all the many blessings we enjoy. We open ourselves up to praise God for all the wonders of creation. This form of prayer encourages bodily expression, such as standing with arms raised or dancing.
Prayer of Petition
This is probably the most familiar prayer form of prayer. We are often taught to ask God for the things we need, but asking and praying for them are not necessarily the same. When we pray our petitions, we are asking God, who loves us very much, for something that we believe is good—for ourselves or for others. By using this form of prayer we are mindful of the needs of others as well as of our own needs. We are aware that God wants us to bring our problems and worries to prayer knowing that he will always hear and answer those prayers. God may answer our prayers in a different way and in a different timeframe than we are seeking but God will always give us what we need.
Prayers of petition serve to remind us that God expects us to care for one another and for all his creation. We can pray about the ordinary experiences of life— for people who are sick, for someone who needs a job, for help in our school work, for a safe trip. We pray for peace in our families and in our world. We can also express our sorrow and contrition to God in our prayer.
Prayer of Intercession
This form of prayer is prayer on behalf of others. This form of prayer can be a source of blessing upon others, the Church, and our world. Because we know that Our Lady and the saints intercede for us before God, the Church encourages us to pray to them for their intercession. Such prayer can bring us great strength and courage and also great peace of mind and heart.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
This form of prayer helps us to be grateful for God’s many blessings, spiritual and temporal, and helps us to recognize and appreciate all the good things God gives to us. Reserving some time to praise and thank God for his gifts—the gift of life; the gift of our families and friends; the gift of food, clothing, and shelter; and the numerous other gifts we often take for granted—helps us to form a true spirit of gratitude.
Tips for praying:
- Find a quite place and time. Prayer can be done anywhere but it is good to have a place that is conducive to relaxing and focusing our attention on God. Finding a regular time to pray each day can also be helpful to making prayer an important daily routine.
- Calm yourself and put away distractions. It is important to be relaxed when we pray by finding a comfortable posture.
- Use formal prayers or speak what you feel to God, or a combination of each. It is important to note that there is no “right” way to pray. Experiment with styles and forms of prayer. Prayer is an ongoing, developing relationship with God.
- Take time to listen. God does speak to us in prayer but we need to listen with our hearts. Be open to what God is telling you rather than just on what you want to or expect to hear.
- Use the Bible in your prayer
- Keep a journal of prayer
- Have a proper attitude. Prayer requires openness to God and a desire to worship and get to know God better.
Meditation is one of the many styles of prayer. Meditation engages our head and heart in seeking a deeper union with God. It enables us to slow down and quiet our hearts so that we can hear God’s voice and communicate with God in a deeper way. Mediation can last a few minutes or hours. It can strengthen our relationship with God and allow us to get in touch with ourselves.
The process of meditation can involve several steps:
- Find the time and place which is conducive to meditation. It is important to pick a time when one is alert and able to focus and a comfortable and quiet place.
- Prepare to pray by relaxing your body so that you can devote your attention to prayer. Some people use muscle relaxing exercises and breathing exercises.
- Choose a word or phrase to focus your attention on God. Some people use “Jesus” or “Abba” or “Jesus saves” or “Jesus loves me.”
- Connect the word or phrase with your breathing. Silently repeat the word or phrase in tune with your breathing. Let the word resonate within you. The repetition helps to focus on and remain open to God’s presence. If you become distracted, focus again on repeating the word or phrase.
Treasury of Catholic Prayers
Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The Our Father
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women
and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners
now and at the hour of our death.
Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he was born of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered, died, and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in fulfillment of the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and His kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son
he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
I confess to almighty God,
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned through my own fault in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done,
and in what I have failed to do;
and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin,
all the angels and saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.
Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For You alone are the Holy One,
You alone are the Lord,
You alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen
Act of Contrition
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you. I detest all my sins because of your just punishments, but most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the occasions of sin. Amen.
An Act of Faith
O my God, who are infallible Truth and can neither deceive nor be deceived, I firmly believe all that you have revealed and propose to my belief though your holy Church, because you have revealed it. I believe that you are one in nature and three in Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I believe that you are the Creator of all things and that you reward the just for all eternity in heaven and punish the wicked for all eternity in hell. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God made man, that he suffered and died for my sins and rose from the dead in glory, and that it is only in him through the Holy Spirit that eternal life is given to us. I believe in all that your holy Church believes. I thank you for having called me to the true faith, and I propose that with the help of your grace I will live and die in this holy faith. Amen.
An Act of Love
O my God, because you are infinite goodness and worthy of infinite love, I love you with my whole heart above all things, and for love of you I love my neighbor as myself. Amen.
An Act of Hope
O my God, trusting in your promises and because you are faithful, powerful and merciful, I hope, through the merits of Jesus Christ, for the pardon of my sins, final perseverance and the blessed glory of heaven. Amen.
Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi (Prayer for Peace)
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
The Divine Praises
Blessed be God.
Blessed be His holy name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
Blessed be the name of Jesus.
Blessed be His most Sacred Heart.
Blessed be His most Precious Blood.
Blessed be Jesus in the most holy sacrament of the altar.
Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.
Blessed be her holy and immaculate conception.
Blessed be her glorious assumption.
Blessed be the name of Mary, virgin and mother.
Blessed be Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse.
Blessed be God in his angels and in his saints.
Angel of God – Prayer to Guardian Angel
Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
to whom God’s love commits me here,
ever this day,
be at my side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide.
Anima Christi (Soul of Christ)
Saint Ignatius Loyola
Soul of Christ, sanctify me
Body of Christ, save me
Blood of Christ, inebriate me
Water from the side of Christ, wash me
Passion of Christ, strengthen me
O good Jesus, hear me
Within Thy wounds, hide me
Separated from Thee, let me never be
From the evil one, protect me
At the hour of my death, call me
and close to Thee, bid me
That with Thy Angels and with Thy saints, I may be
Praising Thee forever and ever.
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer you all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day
in union with the holy Sacrifice of the Mass
throughout the world.
I offer them for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart:
the salvation of souls, reparation for sin,
the reunion of all Christians.
I offer them for the intentions of our bishops
and of all apostles of prayer — in particular,
for those recommended by our Holy Father this month.
Prayer at Night
O my God, I thank You for having preserved me today and for having given me so many blessings and graces. I renew my dedication to You and ask Your pardon for all my sins.
(review the day quietly then pray The Canticle of Simeon which follows)
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake;
watch over us as we sleep,
that awake we may keep watch with Christ,
and asleep, rest in His peace (alleluia).
Lord, now let Your servant go in peace;
according to Your word:
for my eyes have seen Your salvation
which You have prepared in the presence of all
peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to Your people Israel. (Luke 2:29–32)
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake;
watch over us as we sleep,
that awake we may keep watch with Christ,
and asleep, rest in His peace (alleluia).
Prayer Before Meals
Bless us, O Lord,
and these Thy gifts,
which we are about to receive from Thy bounty,
through Christ our Lord.
Prayer After Meals
We give you thanks,
Almighty God for all your benefits.
And may the souls of the faithful departed
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
God, grant me the courage to change the things I can change,
the serenity to accept those I cannot change,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
But God, grant me the courage not to give up on what I think is right,
even though I think it is hopeless.
A Thanksgiving Prayer
O Lord, only you can count all the blessings of my life. I give you thanks for the gifts of memory and expectation, for pleasure that comforts and pain that brings needed change, for deep meanings revealed and for that which remains unknown because I may not be able to accept it, for variety and difference in my world, for melody and silence, for all my senses…and above all for the overpowering feeling that somehow I am loved and accepted by You and that nothing can separate me from that Love. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
A Prayer for the Dead
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord, Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears attend to the voice of my supplication.
If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt, Lord, who could survive?
But there is forgiveness in you, and we revere you for it.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with Him is plenteous redemption. And He will redeem Israel from all iniquities.
Eternal rest grant unto N., O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon(him, her, them).
May (he, she, they) rest in peace. Amen.
O Lord, hear my prayer. And let my cry come to you.
O God, creator and redeemer of all the faithful,
grant to the souls of your departed servants the forgiveness of all their sins.
Through my prayer, may they obtain the pardon they have always desired. Amen
Prayer of Abandonment
(Charles de Foucauld)
I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.
Courtesy: Archdiocese of Boston; www.BostonCatholic.org