If you’re looking to learn more about faith, about God or being Christian, prayer is the place to start! Just like we spend time talking to others to get to know them and grow in friendship, we need to do the same in order to get to know God.
Prayer is the lifting of the mind and heart to God. Even a few minutes a day can have an impact in your life!
How Do I Pray?
There are many ways to pray!
- Talk to God in Your Own Words. God is personal and wants to know you personally. You can speak to God like you are speaking to a friend. (“I have called you friends” – John 15:15). Tell him what’s going on in your life – what you need, what you’re grateful for, what your hopes & dreams are, where you want his help, etc.
- Read Your Bible. As Christians, we believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. (“All scripture is inspired by God and and profitable for teaching” – 2 Timothy 3:16). Reading our bible is vital to learning who Jesus is – it’s where we come to know God and what his plan is for us. If you’re not sure where to start, begin with reading the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John) which focus on the life of Jesus.
- Use Traditional Prayers. The Catholic Church supplies us with many different prayers that draw from the words of Christ, the writings of the saints and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. They are grounded in Christian Tradition. See below for some traditional prayers.
- Pray the Rosary. The Rosary is special devotion where we meditate on the life of Jesus, honor Mary, the Mother of God, and ask her to intercede for us with her Son, Jesus. The Rosary is prayed on a set of beads with the following prayers: the Apostles’ Creed, the Our Father (or Lord’s Prayer), the Hail Mary, the Glory Be, and Hail Holy Queen. All these prayers are found below or you can click here for specific instructions on how to pray the rosary.
- Spend Time in Eucharistic Adoration. As Catholics we believe that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. (“I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever” – John 6:51) Therefore, you can spend time praying with Jesus physically present before you. In Adoration we adore and honour Jesus. It involves bringing ourselves, our needs and the needs of others before God and contemplating the Mystery of Christ. At St. Mary’s, we have an Adoration Chapel where you can stop by and spend some time in prayer.
FOUNDATIONAL CATHOLIC PRAYERS
The Lord’s Prayer
The most well-known of all Christian prayers, the “Our Father” comes to us from Jesus Himself in Luke 11:1-4, when His disciples asked him how they should pray. Here is the modern Catholic expression of our 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.
The “Hail Mary” is a short prayer asking for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
This is a short hymn of praise to God in His three Persons: God The Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit
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.
The Nicene Creed
The Church has provided Catholics with two prayers that express the foundational beliefs of Catholicism. The longer and more formal of these prayers is the Nicene Creed. Like all creeds, the purpose of this prayer is to provide a doctrinal statement of correct belief. Either the Nicene Creed or the Apostles’ Creed (see below) is spoken at every Catholic Mass.
I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages — God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God; begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father. Through Him, all things were made. For us and for our salvation, He came down from heaven. By the power of the Holy Spirit, He was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake, he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; He suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day, in accordance with 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.
I 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 adored and glorified. He has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins, and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
The Apostles’ Creed
A shorter and slightly less formal (although still entirely correct) statement of Catholic belief is the Apostles’ Creed. The Apostles’ Creed is often used as an alternative to the Nicene Creed during liturgical seasons such as Advent and Lent. It is also the first prayer said when praying the Rosary.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth,
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; on the third day, He rose again from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from there, He will come 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 life everlasting. Amen.
Acts of Faith, Hope, Love, and Contrition
One of the most famous bible passages says: “So faith, hope, and love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13) Over time, the three themes of Faith, Hope and Love became known as the “Theological Virtues.” These short but powerful prayers were created to guide us in each of these three virtues.
Act of Faith
O my God, I firmly believe that You are one God in three Divine Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I believe in Jesus Christ, Your Son, who became man and died for our sins, and who will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because You have revealed them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. Amen.
Act of Hope
O my God, trusting in Your infinite goodness and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Your grace, and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer. Amen.
Act of Love
O my God, I love you above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because You are all-good and worthy of all my love. I love my neighbour as myself for love of You. I forgive all who have injured me, and I ask pardon of all whom I have injured. Amen.
Act of Contrition
This prayer is most commonly invoked during the Sacrament of Reconciliation. However, it can be said at any time for any reason, since we are always in need of God’s mercy.
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 Saviour Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy. Amen.
As Catholics, we have a special love for Mary. She is Jesus’ mother and we honour her as the Mother of God. We frequently ask for her to intercede with her Son on our behalf. Here are some of the most beautiful prayers to Mary.
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
Hail, Holy Queen
Hail, holy Queen, mother of Mercy. Hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet virgin Mary.
[Pray for us, most holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.]
Prayers to Angels
Prayer to One’s Guardian Angel
Among all Christian faiths, and dating as far back as the Jewish Torah, a guardian angel is known to be an angel assigned to protect and guide a particular person, group, or country. This short and lovely prayer to one’s guardian angel is often one of the first prayers that small children learn and recite:
O 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. Amen.
Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel
At the end of Mass at St. Mary’s Parish, we always prayer this prayer St. Michael the Archangel. St. Michael, who first appeared in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament, is generally considered a protector and the leader of the army of God against the forces of evil (in the Book of Revelation).
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in this day of battle. Be our defence against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the Divine power, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits, who wander now throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.