Classic prayers like the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, and a handful of others from our youth are probably so deeply ingrained in our subconscious that it’s not hard to find ourselves turning to them now and then, particularly in a moment of emergency.
These “typical” prayers are deeply powerful and undeniably helpful in our times of need, but with the calendar now turning to a brand new year, how about incorporating some lesser known invocations into your prayer life?
We’ve pulled together a nice little list of 5 prayers that seem to have fallen out of popularity. The year 2017 might be the perfect time to bring them back.
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 St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse.
Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints. Amen.
Traditionally recited when the Eucharist is exposed in a solemn blessing called Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, this 18th-century prayer was originally written by Luigi Felici as a prayer of reparation after saying or hearing blasphemy. Pope Pius VII expanded the prayer four years after it was penned by Felici, and this led to it holding a more elevated place within the Church’s life.
Soul of Christ make me holy,
Body of Christ save me,
Blood of Christ fill me with love,
Water from Christ’s side, wash me,
Passion of Christ strengthen me,
Good Jesus hear me,
Within your wounds hide me,
Never let me be parted from you,
From the evil enemy protect me,
At the hour of my death call,
And tell me to come to You,
That with your saints I may praise you,
Through all eternity.
This medieval prayer to Jesus was mistakenly attributed to St. Ignatius, as he included it in the Spiritual Exercises. In reality, this prayer dates back to the early 14th century, and was possibly authored by Pope John XXII. It ended up becoming so popular that by the time St. Ignatius added it to his Spiritual Exercises, he only mentions it without including the entire text, assuming that everyone could recite it by heart.
The Jesus Prayer
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Short, simple, and sweet. This prayer is especially utilized within the Eastern Churches, while being less well known in the West. It is often used as a prayer to be continually repeated throughout the day to help open one’s heart to the Lord, and was especially esteemed by the Church Fathers. The prayer was most likely composed in the 5th century by the Desert Fathers in Egypt, and seems primed for a comeback.
Prayer of Abandonment
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.
Charles de Foucald’s Prayer of Abandonment finds its origins in two possible stories. One posits that he composed the prayer during a retreat in Nazareth in 1897 while another suggests that this prayer is simply Charles’ reflection on Jesus’ prayer to His Father. Charles lost his faith early in his life, but had a profound conversion at the age of 28, and this led to his joining the Trappist order, and then later becoming an ordained priest. His Prayer of Abandonment is a deep and profound proclamation of unconditional trust in God, and that’s something we desperately need in these uncertain times.
Little Office of Our Lady
O Mary of all women,
You are the chosen one,
Who, ancient prophets promised,
Would bear God’s only Son;
All Hebrew generations
Prepared the way to thee,
That in your womb the God-man
Might come to set us free.
Most people have heard of the Divine Office, or Liturgy of the Hours, but far fewer are aware of the Little Office of Our Lady. It’s a prayer in imitation of the Divine Office, containing a cycle of psalms, hymns, Scripture, and other readings. In contrast to the Divine Office, however, the Little Office of Our Lady is unchanged each day, outside of variation during the hour of Matins. It most likely originated as a monastic devotion around the 8th century, but didn’t come into general use until the 10th. For those wanting to jump into the Divine Office but finding themselves overwhelmed by the undertaking, the Little Office can be a great first step.
If you, like me, have made a commitment to improve your prayer life in 2017, these five prayers might be a great place to start. Incorporating them into our daily prayer life can help us grow closer to God, His Son, and one another, and since most people don’t know them, it can make you quite the Catholic hipster as well.