If you want to make prayer a daily habit, this is a great way to start.
Q. In an earlier column, you suggested everyone return to holiness to get through critical times. I’d like to develop a better habit of daily prayer and I am looking specifically for prayers that might help during this time of trouble. What would you recommend?
I’ve tried to make it a habit to pray throughout the day. What daily prayer looks like, though, varies depending on circumstances. Sometimes daily prayer implies daily Mass, or a few minutes in a nearby chapel. Sometimes it is a Rosary on my commute to work, or just five minutes at my desk a few times a day. I realize everyone has different schedules and life demands, so providing a one-size-fits-all solution is not the way to go. Instead, I put together a list of short prayers and invocations that can be easily slipped in between our classes, meetings, and parental obligations. These “effortless” prayers invoke mercy, forgiveness, and strength during times of great spiritual warfare.
The Jesus Prayer
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners.”
While this prayer is typically considered an Orthodox prayer, the Jesus Prayer is recognized by the Catholic Church (CCC 2667) for its effectiveness in invoking the Holy Name of Christ. This simple prayer is perfect in its simplicity and, as a cry of the heart for the mercy of Christ, is always wholly appropriate to be prayed at any time of the day, repeatedly throughout the day.
Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.
(Sáncte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in proélio, cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium. Ímperet ílli Déus, súpplices deprecámur: tuque, prínceps milítiæ cæléstis, Sátanam aliósque spíritus malígnos, qui ad perditiónem animárum pervagántur in múndo, divína virtúte, in inférnum detrúde. Ámen.+)
There used to be a time when this highly powerful prayer was prayed by all the faithful after Mass. It fell out of practice in most communities, but recently we’ve begun hearing it after Mass again. Bishop Frank Caggiano of the Diocese of Bridgeport announced that effective September 15, 2018 all 82 parishes in the Diocese will be expected to recite this prayer after the celebration of every Mass. This battle prayer against evil and the infiltration of Satan is always timely.
Our Lady of Sorrows The Month of September is devoted to Our Lady of Sorrows, whose memorial falls on September 15th. One of things we can do specifically this month is meditate on the Seven Sorrows and say these simple invocations as we go about our day.
- Holy Mother, pierce me through; In my heart each wound renew, of my Saviour crucified.
- Mary most sorrowful, Mother of Christians, pray for us.
- Virgin most sorrowful, pray for us./ Virgo dolorosissima, ora pro nobis.
Simple Invocations Praying throughout the day is certainly more doable when we make a practice of praying simple, quick, and easily remembered invocations. There is a lot to be said for a genuine prayer of “Lord, help me” in times of great struggle.
- Taken from the Divine Mercy Chaplet, “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
- “Immaculate Heart of Mary, save poor sinners.”
- “Jesus, I love you.”
- “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy.”
- More from Aleteia: Ten Short Powerful Prayers to Pray Throughout the Day
Acts of Penance and ReparationI’ve taken up the practice of prayer and promoting the Chaplet of Adoration and Reparation. Bit when I find I don’t have time to pray the whole chaplet, I turn the Angel Prayer into a simple invocation.
“My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love you.
I ask pardon for those who do not believe,
do not adore, do not hope, and do not love you.”
Acts of penance are wonderful spiritual exercises that help those who practice them grow in holiness while, at the same time, make reparation. Penance and sacrificing have become associated only with Lent, but returning to older practices such as meatless Fridays throughout the year and not just during penitential seasons is certainly helpful, and has spiritual value.
- Fasting or refraining from eating meat on Fridays
- Attending Mass on First Fridays and First Saturdays
- Praying for the dead whenever we pass a cemetery
- Asking for our guardian angel’s assistance in prayer
- Spending one hour a week in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament
- Wearing a scapular
- Celebrating your patron saint’s feast day or the anniversary of your baptism by attending Mass that day
- Making small sacrifices — like not putting sugar in your coffee, making a charitable donation, volunteering, etc. — with the intent of offering them as prayer for the forgiveness of man’s sins (not to be used a substitute for regular confession).
- Regularly going to confession, at least once a month
Naturally, this is not a comprehensive list but it is certainly a good way to start. Even if on a small scale, but still on a daily basis, these practices can help us become more aware of God’s presence and influence on our lives and the world around us.