Have you ever been moved to a silent or vocal burst of prayer? “Lord, help me!” is the short, powerful prayer phrase we probably use most often. But the Church has a long tradition of easily memorized short prayers of praise and contrition — called aspirations — that can be brought to our minds and our lips at any time during the day. They may have developed in response to St. Paul’s admonition to “pray without ceasing.”
Our daily lives don’t always allow for worship. We might not be able to make it to daily Mass, or to give time to the Lord in Eucharistic Adoration. But we can pray short, powerful prayers of adoration, praise, and penabnce any time, anywhere.
The beauty of this kind of prayer is that it allows a person to turn to God during work, school or any other activity. Aspirations are easily memorized and don’t require anything else besides a heart open to God’s love. When prayed in faith, they can raise a person’s soul from the mundane cares of life to the spiritual heights of grace. And this practice has the potential to sanctify your life.
Because these are prayers from your heart — prayed spontaneously when you are moved to worship — they need not be formalized in any way. In Henry Morton Robinson’s classic novel The Cardinal, Dennis Fermoyle — the trolley motorman and father of the book’s priest-protagonist — drove a route that took him past churches. Every time he passed one, he would tip his hat and utter an aspiration such as “Blessed be Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar,” or “Praised be the Holy Family!”
Below are 10 short prayers that can be easily memorized. If you are new to aspirations (which your grandparents might have called “ejaculations,” from the Latin for bursting forth), you might write a few of your favorites on a card to keep in your pocket or purse as a reminder, until you get accustomed to praying this way. After a few weeks you’ll find that it is almost second nature for you to pour out a bit of praise and raise your heart to God.
1. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.2. Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee.3. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul.4. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.5. My God, and my all!6. Jesus, my God, I love Thee above all things.7. Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, on fire with love of us, inflame our hearts with love of Thee.8. Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine.9. Blessed be God.10. Heart of Jesus burning with love of us, inflame our hearts with love of Thee.