In answer to a recent letter asking me how to pray, I sent back nine prayers that have been a great help to me over the years. It seems the receiver found them very useful and so did her friends. I thought therefore they may be of some help to you too, so here they are.
Begin with Psalm sixty-nine with which St Benedict instructed his monks to start the divine office. Then it can be followed by the Glory Be, immediately followed by Psalm sixty-two.
O God, come to my aid
O Lord, make haste to help me (Psalm 69).
Glory be to the Father and to the son and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.
O God, you are my God, for you I long;
For you my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for you
Like dry weary land without water (Psalm 62)
Say the Our Father and then using the Our Father as a memory jog, say the following prayers:
Our – Offering – the Morning Offering
God, our Father, I wish to consecrate all that I say and all that I do to you in this forthcoming day, just as Jesus did every day of his life on earth. Please accept what I do so imperfectly and unite it with the perfect offering that Jesus continues to make to you in heaven. I offer to you my joys and my sorrows, my successes as well as my failures, because these especially show how much I have need of you. I make my prayer in, with and through Jesus in whom we all live and move and have our being. Amen.
Our – Union
Father, I know that the more your Holy Spirit draws me into your son Jesus, the more I am united to all who are within him. I therefore ask Mary and Joseph, Peter and Paul and all the saints, especially those to whom I have a special devotion, to be with me now as I pray so that my prayers may be fortified by theirs. I also want to pray for all my family and friends, and all who have asked me to pray for them. May they benefit from the day ahead that I wish to make a perfect prayer, as I offer all I say and do to you, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Our – Resolutions
Jesus, help me to review the day ahead to anticipate all that I should do, so that I can love God as you did, through everything that I do and love my neighbour too, as you love all of us. Help me to forgive my enemies as you forgave, as well as my friends. And give me the grace to seek forgiveness from those I have offended; and never to cease trying to be like you and to behave like you in all that I say and do. Amen (Short pause to make resolutions for the day ahead)
Father – Faith
Father, I know and believe that you are all loving, that your love has been permanently transformed into human loving through the human nature of your son Jesus. I know and believe that his love is perpetually poised to possess me at this moment and at every moment. Penetrate and possess me now, permeate my whole being as I try to turn and remain open to receive you. Melt my heart of stone, re-make it and re-mould it, so that it can at all times be open to receive you. “For I, unless you enthral me, never shall be free, nor ever chaste except you ravish me” (John Donne). Amen.
Father – Abandonment
Father, you have freely chosen to share your own inner life and love with me now through Jesus, as a foretaste of the ecstatic joy that you have planned for me and for all who love you in heaven. As there is no limit to the way you have poured out your loving goodness and mercy on me, I can only totally abandon myself to you in return. I therefore solemnly consecrate every moment of every day to you and to your honour and glory, in and together with your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Father – Thanksgiving
Father, although you are infinitely distant you are infinitely near too, for you inhabit the inner marrow of my being. I thank you for being with me, and for all you have given me today, for life itself and all and everyone that has made it worth living. Give me the grace to praise, honour and thank you, as much as I am able and more than I am able, not just in words but in a life that I freely dedicate to you. Amen.
Father – Holy Communion
Jesus, at the Last Supper you promised to make your home in all who would obey your new commandments. Help me to obey them now and at every moment of my life. For when I love the Father and love my neighbour, as you did, there is nothing to stop you making your home in me and me making mine in you. Let the joy and the peace that comes from abiding in you suffuse all I say and do, so that others may be drawn into the Holy Communion that begins in this life and comes to its completion in the next. Amen.
(Now is the time to remain still and silent for a few moments of contemplation to relish what, or rather whom we receive in this Holy Communion. A short prayer could be repeated gently whenever distractions threaten to draw the attention elsewhere. A prayer such as Come, Lord or Come, Lord Jesus would be ideal or another short prayer of your choice.)
Father – Examination of Conscience
Lord, that I may see, so that all that prevents you making your home in me may be spirited way. Strengthen me to live the new commandments as you lived them, so that the same Holy Spirit who filled you, guided you and raised you from the dead may do the same for me. Show me the sins that keep you out and give me the power to overcome them, for without you I have no power to do anything. Amen.
Father – Repentance
Father, I ask your forgiveness for the sins that have prevented you from possessing me as you would wish this day. (A short pause to review our behaviour in the past day.) I am deeply sorry for failing you yet again, and with your grace I will never let my pride cause me to delay from turning back to you the moment I fall. Until I can love everyone as I should, help me to do them no harm and give me the sympathy and compassion of the person in whose footsteps I want to walk. Amen.
Conclude with an Our Father, a Hail Mary and a Glory Be.
If you like these prayers and would like to have them to hand, they are in my little booklet, Prayer made Simple, published by The Catholic Truth Society. It only costs a couple of pounds and should be at the back of your church now if you have a Catholic Truth Society stand.Some months ago I was commissioned to write three little inexpensive books about prayer: Prayer made Simple, Meditation Made Simple, and Contemplation made Simple. The last two will be published later this year. The first, however, was published on March 8th this year and it should be available at the back of your church now if you have a Catholic Truth Society stand where it should be displayed. It is also available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com, or directly from The Catholic Truth Society
David Torkington is a spiritual theologian, author and speaker, who specialises in prayer, Christian spirituality and mystical theology. His latest book Wisdom from the Christian Mystics, is now available