Morning and Evening Prayers
An Introduction to Simple Christian Prayer
Morning and Evening Prayer
Prayer to be real must arise from the desire to love and be loved, to become vessels of the Holy Spirit for the suffering world about us. (Sr. Wendy Beckett)
Whilst seeking a pattern of prayer in your own words you might like to try this. based on my book ‘How to Pray’. It Starts with the words with which St Benedict first taught his monks to begin the divine office.
O God come to my aid
O Lord make haste to help me.
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. (Ps 62)
– A Profession of Faith
O God I know and believe that you are all loving, that your love is perpetually poised to posses me. Penetrate and posses 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 unless you enthral me I shall never be free, nor ever chaste except you ravish me”.
– A Prayer of Adoration
Lord never let the intimacy that you have chosen to share with me make me forget how you utterly transcend me in every way. ‘Though you are infinitely distant you are infinitely near, for you inhabit the inner marrow of my being, where I now humbly adore you. 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.
– A Prayer for Reconciliation
Lord, although no day goes by without me failing you, you never fail me. Show me how I have kept you at bay, as I now try to review my life this day and ask forgiveness yet again for what prevents you possessing me as you would wish. (A short pause to review our behaviour in the past day.) I am deeply sorry for failing you yet again. With your grace I will try better next time and try to be quicker in turning for the forgiveness that you will never refuse me.
– A Prayer of Offering
Lord accept the offering that I have made of this day with all its joys and sorrows. Accept all the matchwood crosses that I have tried to bear, because they’re offered through the cross that Jesus bore for me. Now I offer up my sleep, make it deep, make it re-invigorate me to dedicate another day to serving you.
– A Prayer for Union
I know that it is in giving that we receive, so may my giving help me receive your love a little more fully with each passing day. Enable me to experience something of that love in the home you promised to make deep down within us. Then enwombed in your love, I will at last experience the security that I need to grow into my true self in Jesus Christ in whom you want us all “to live and move and have our being”.
A Prayer for Spiritual Silence
Lord, help me to put aside everything that has fragmented me throughout this day, if only for a few moments. Teach me how to be still and come to know that you are my God not just with my head, but with every feeling in every fibre of my being. Then, let me experience something of “the peace that surpasses the understanding”, to draw me together again in you and in Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.
(Once again, in order maintain attention on God, as you pause for silence, 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 some other short prayer of your choosing)
– A Prayer for Intercession
Lord, as I pray for my family by name help me to picture them in my imagination, so that my prayer can be more personal and directed to their individual needs. (Pause to visualise those for whom you now wish to pray and ask God to help them in your own words). Let me pray for my friends too and for those who have particularly annoyed me during the day. Finally God, help those poor deprived and suffering people, who I have heard about in the news today. You have given me so much, help me always to remember them in my prayers and to do what I can for them whenever the opportunity arises.
– A Prayer for Christian Action
Lord I will be good for nothing tomorrow unless you help me to get a good night’s rest. Whilst I am asleep act within me to revitalise my mind and body. When I wake up fill me with the spiritual and physical vigour that I need to offer another day to you and try to live it, as I should, in and through Jesus Christ your son our Lord.
Conclude with one “Our Father” one “Hail Mary” and one “Glory Be”
A Suggestion – taken from an ancient tradition traced back to the Desert Fathers.
When you’re already in bed take a short prayer and repeat it slowly and prayerfully. It might simply be the word ‘Jesus’, or the full Jesus prayer: – ‘Jesus Son of God have mercy on me a sinner’.
This prayer and others like it came to be used, most particularly in the Eastern Church, with slow rhythmical breathing. It was not just a device for relaxation, but for reminding the believer of the all-pervading action of the Holy Spirit. You see the ancient Jews believed that a person’s breath was their life-principle, their spirit, so naturally they believed that God’s breath was His live-principle, His Spirit. As a mark of respect, God’s breath or His Spirit came to be called the Holy Spirit. So deep rhythmical breathing that often accompanied short prayers ‘of the heart’ helped remind them of the ever incoming Spirit who dwelt within them with ever increasing power the more they prayed.
It can be a reminder to us too, particularly when preparing for sleep. The prayer ‘Come Holy Spirit’ for instance, can accompany the slow intake of breath followed by the prayer ‘conceive Christ in me’ as we breath out. With the next breath pray again ‘Come Holy Spirit’ followed by ‘fill every part of me’, and again with the next breath ‘Come Holy Spirit’, followed by ‘bring Christ to birth in me’. Then the three prayers could be repeated again and again. Other short prayers could be used like ‘Come Lord’, or ‘Come Lord Jesus’ or whatever short prayer you feel helps you best. When this practice becomes a habit it can be far more effective than the sleeping pills that many turn to today and there are no side effects either!
Whenever you have finished trying to pray be at peace. You have done the best you can, now leave the rest to God remembering the words of Padre Pio:
“Pray, trust and don’t worry”