Prayer is communion with God. Prayer can be public or personal, spoken or silent. The Psalms are prayers we sing; they have been a part of the church’s communal prayer since the earliest days of the church. Prayer is communication with a God who loves us and desires to be in relationship with us.
Jesus teaches us about the importance of prayer. The gospels record seventeen times in the gospels that Jesus took time apart to pray. In the scriptures, Jesus prays often, morning and night. He prays during critical events in his life and he prays before ministering to people in need. Jesus is a model of prayer for us.
Prayer is essential to living a full, Catholic life. The central communal form of prayer for the Church is the Mass. Some of the Church’s most traditional and foundational prayers are as follows:
Grace before Meals
Bless us, O Lord, and these your gifts which we are about to receive from your goodness, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thanksgiving After Meals
We give Thee thanks, almighty God, for all Thy gifts, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Glory to the Father
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
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. Amen.
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. Amen.
Act of Contrition
My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy.
Hail, Holy Queen
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy,
hail, our life, our sweetness, and our hope.
To you we cry, the children of Eve;
to you we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this land of exile.
Turn, then, most gracious advocate,
your eyes of mercy toward us;
lead us home at last
and show us the blessed fruit of your womb,
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
There are also contemporary ways to pray. Talking with God each day, no matter the form or words used, nourishes our relationship and helps it to grow.
- Silent prayer or meditation helps us center our thoughts on God’s goodness and offers renewal in a noisy, hectic world.
- Lectio Divina is a way of praying with the sacred scriptures. Find a scripture passage that speaks to you. Read it out loud and then reflect upon it silently for several minutes. Read it again. Notice any words or phrases that stick with you. Ask God what you are to learn from this passage. Listen.
- Keep a prayer journal with all of your wants and needs, thoughts and reflections related to your prayer life.
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
An Act of Faith
O my God, I firmly believe that You are one God in three divine persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I believe that Your divine Son became man and died for our sins, and that he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the holy Catholic Church teaches because You have revealed them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. 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.
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. I forgive all who have offended me and ask pardon of all whom I have offended.
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You 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 the Sacred Heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sin, the reunion of all Christians, and the intentions of our Holy Father, the Pope. Amen.
Prayer in the Morning
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; He has come to His people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty savior, born of the house of His servant David.
Through His holy prophets he promised of old that he would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hands of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in His sight all the days of our life.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High; for You will go before the Lord to prepare His way, to give His people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:68-79)
Prayer in the Evening
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; for he has looked with favor on His lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name. He has mercy on those who fear Him in every generation. He has shown the strength of His arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of His servant Israel for He has remembered His promise of mercy, the promise He made to our fathers, to Abraham and His children for ever. (Luke 1:46-55)
O eternal God and Ruler of all creation, You have allowed me to reach this hour. Forgive the sins I have committed this day by word, deed or thought. Purify me, O Lord, from every spiritual and physical stain. Grant that I may rise from this sleep to glorify You by my deeds throughout my entire lifetime, and that I be victorious over every spiritual and physical enemy. Deliver me, O Lord, from all vain thoughts and from evil desires, for yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and forever. Amen.
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).
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.
The Holy Rosary: A Guide
The Divine Mercy Chaplet