Prayer

PRAYER: Prayer Topics For Leprosy

From: The Leprosy Mission, England and Wales The Leprosy Mission Prayer Almighty Father, the giver of life and health, look mercifully on those who suffer from leprosy. Stretch out your hand to touch and heal them as Jesus did during his earthly life. Grant wisdom and insight to those who are seeking the prevention and cure of the disease; give skill and sympathy to those who minister to the patients; reunite the separated with their families and friends; and inspire your people with the task set before The Leprosy Mission, that it may never lack either the staff or the means to carry on its healing work, in accordance with your will, and to the glory of your holy name. We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord. Amen. [...]

PRAYER: A Prayer For Leprosy Sufferers, by Shirley Snowden

From: Poems From The Heart It was through learning of the work of the Leprosy Mission that my friend and fellow poet Shirley Snowden was moved with compassion to write this poetic prayer for leprosy sufferers. In doing so Shirley not only discovered within herself a previously unrecognized talent for writing poetry, but her heartfelt poem has challenged many others to pray for and support this worthy cause. Those reading this poem may remember poignant images of the late Princess Diana (former patron of the Leprosy Mission) comforting those suffering from leprosy.  Though now largely a treatable condition, leprosy continues to blight lives, with recent figures showing there are still in excess of half a million sufferers in over 100 [...]

PRAYER: A Scriptural Rosary Novena Of Meditations On Humility

From Scriptural Rosary First Day — Matthew 7:1-5 Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. Second Day — Matthew 11:25-30 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, because thou hast hid these [...]

PRAYER: Litany For Humility

From: Our Catholic Prayers (First published on The Value of Sparrows on April 16, 2012.) The litany of humility, for private devotions, is a moving prayer that can bring us closer to Christ. Do you worry constantly about what others think of you? Do you feel empty or frustrated if you’re not the center of attention? The litany of humility asks for our Lord’s assistance in humbly following in his footsteps and casting aside, or at least offering up to him, all those nagging doubts and fears that come with our self-centeredness. Our Lord asks us in Matthew’s gospel to learn from him, “for I am meek and humble of heart,” as he is described in the first line of this prayer below. We ask in this litany, composed by Rafael Cardinal [...]

JESUS: Psalm 102, by J. G. Bellett

From Short Meditations On The Psalms A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before Jehovah Jehovah, hear my prayer, and let my cry come unto thee. Hide not thy face from me: in the day of my trouble, incline thine ear unto me; in the day I call, answer me speedily. For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as a firebrand. My heart is smitten and withered like grass; yea, I have forgotten to eat my bread. By reason of the voice of my groaning, my bones cleave to my flesh. I am become like the pelican of the wilderness, I am as an owl in desolate places; I watch, and am like a sparrow alone upon the housetop. Mine enemies reproach me all the day; they that are mad against me swear [...]

PSALMS: When It Feels Like God Is Absent, by Daniel F. Polish

From Bringing the Psalms to Life During times when our lives resonate with the mood of some psalms, God seems remote and absent to us.  We feel like God has forgotten all about us, or cast us off.  More darkly, we fear that perhaps God even smolders with anger against us.  The psalms make repeated use of the powerful image of God’s face being hidden from us.  Admittedly, today we tend to be uncomfortable with anthropomorphic images that speak of God in terms of human attributes.  Yet this image does strike a chord in us.  It feels to us that God is not merely away, but is holding back from us, hiding.  Like the face of the sun hidden by clouds, or during an eclipse, God’s face feels hidden from us in our time of need. [...]

POETRY: Lord, Hear My Prayer, by John Clare

A Paraphrase of Psalm 102 (Originally published on December 27, 2012) Lord, hear my prayer when trouble glooms, Let sorrow find a way, And when the day of trouble comes, Turn not thy face away: My bones like hearthstones burn away, My life like vapoury smoke decays. My heart is smitten like the grass, That withered lies and dead, And I, so lost to what I was, Forget to eat my bread. My voice is groaning all the day, My bones prick through this skin of clay. The wilderness’s pelican, The desert’s lonely owl— I am their like, a desert man In ways as lone and foul. As sparrows on the cottage top I wait till I with fainting drop. I hear my enemies reproach, All silently I mourn; They on my private peace encroach, Against me they [...]

PSALMS: Laments, by Mary Ellen Chase

From The Psalms For the Common Reader As John Calvin has already told us, the Psalms are a mirror reflecting all the emotions of the human soul.  We must, therefore, expect to find within them laments for trouble and sorrow, outcries against the slings and the arrows of life.  Moreover, since most of them were written during years of subjection when the very existence of a people was threatened, and since the Hebrews were among all peoples perhaps the most intense and even violent in their emotions, laments were as natural to them as were rejoicings.  There were surely many bitter hours in their long experience when to rejoice was impossible.  They had known invasion, destruction, and death, and the lesser misfortunes of drought, [...]

PSALMS: The Prayer Of An Afflicted Person, by Bruce k. Waltke, James M. Houston, & Erika Moore

From The Psalms as Christian Lament PSALM 102: A prayer by an afflicted person when he grows weak and pours out his complaint before “I AM.” “I AM,” hear my prayer; let my cry for help come to you. Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly. For my days vanish in smoke; my bones burn like glowing embers. My heart is blighted like vegetation and so withers; I forget and depart without eating my food. From the sound of my sobbing, my bones cling to my flesh. I am like a desert owl, I have become like a screech owl among ruins. I keep vigil; I have become like a bird alone on a roof. All day long my enemies taunt me; those who are senseless and against me [...]

PRAYER: Prayer Of Lament, by Laurence Hull Stookey

From Let the Whole Church Say Amen! A Guide for Those Who Pray in Public O God, you are our help and strength, Psalm 124:8 our refuge in the time of trouble. Psalm 37:39 In you our ancestors trusted; Psalm 22:4 They trusted and you delivered them. When we do not know how to pray as we ought, your very Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. Romans 8:26 We plead for the intercession now, Gracious One. For desolation and destruction are in our streets, Isaiah 59:7 and terror dances before us. Job 41:22 Our hearts faint; our knees tremble; our bodies quake; all faces grow pale. Nahum 2:10 Our eyes are spent from weeping and our stomachs churn. Lamentations 2:11 How long, O Lord, how long Isaiah 6:11 must we endure this [...]

PRAYER: A Prayer Of Lament, by Dan Herron

From Lament as Worship: A Prayer Over Our Hurting Nation Jesus, you call weary people to come to you. You bid the heavy laden to find rest in you. Today, we bring our restless souls to you. We name the grief, pains, anxieties, disappointments, confusions, angers, fears that rage against us and within us. Help us to stand in vulnerability with one another, Help us to stand in vulnerability before you, our Savior. How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? Lord, from where we stand, from what we have seen and heard and felt, we feel forgotten, our world appears abandoned by you: from a peaceful protest turned violent and murderous in Dallas, Texas, to a car in St. Paul, Minnesota, to outside a [...]

PRAYER: A Prayer For A Troubled Heart, by Christian Adams

O Lord, hear my cry pouring out from a troubled heart.  The sorrow that clutches at my soul has driven me to you, my protector and true friend, in time of need.  You know, my God, all my failings, my faults, and my sins, as well as the torment gripping my soul.  My greatest sorrow should be for my disregard of your holy commandments in the past, and I sincerely hope that you will grant me the grace of true contrition.  O my Savior, hide not your face from me in this tribulation.  Let the light of your countenance shine upon me that I may be illuminated by its love.  If it be your will, lighten this burden from me.  Yet should it be a means of my salvation, help me, help me O Lord, to carry this cross, for alone I can do nothing. [...]

PRAYER: Prayer, The Treasure Of Our Lives

From The Word Among Us The lifting up of our whole being in prayer is so pleasing to God! And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that [...]

PRAYER: The Miracle Prayer

Author unknown Lord Jesus, I come before you, just as I am. I am sorry for my sins. I repent of my sins. Please forgive me. In your name, I forgive all others for what they have done against me. I renounce Satan, the evil spirits, and all their works. I give you my entire self, Lord Jesus, now and forever. I invite you into my life, Jesus. I accept you as my Lord, God, and Savior. Heal me, change me, strengthen me in body, soul, and spirit. Come, Lord Jesus, cover me with your precious blood, and fill me with your Holy Spirit. I love you, Lord Jesus. I praise you, Jesus. I thank you, Jesus. I shall follow you every day of my life. [...]

PRAYER: Seven Things To Pray For Your Children, by Jon Bloom

From Desiring God Some years back a good friend shared with me seven scripture texts that he and his wife prayed for their two daughters from the time they were infants. The girls are now grown. And it’s beautiful to see how God has (and still is) answering the faithful, specific prayers of faith-filled parents in the lives of these young, godly women. I have frequently used these prayers when praying for my children, too; and I commend them to you. But, of course, prayers are not magic spells. It’s not a matter of just saying the right things and our children will be blessed with success. Some parents earnestly pray and their children become a gifted leaders or scholars or musicians or athletes. Others earnestly pray and their [...]

PRAYER: Prayer For The Feast Of The Baptism Of The Lord

Author unknown Open the heavens, Almighty Father, and pour out your Spirit upon your people. Renew the power of our Baptismal cleansing, and fill us with zeal for good deeds. Let us hear your voice once again, that we may recognize in your beloved son our hope in inheriting eternal life. Grant this through Jesus Christ, your Word made flesh, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, in the splendor of eternal light, God, forever and ever. [...]

PRAYER: Litany Of The Holy Name Of Jesus

Author unknown Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us. Jesus, hear us. Jesus, graciously hear us. God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us. God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us. God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us. Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us. Jesus, Son of the living God, have mercy on us. Jesus, Splendor of the Father, have mercy on us. Jesus, brightness of eternal light, have mercy on us. Jesus, King of glory, have mercy on us. Jesus, sun of justice, have mercy on us. Jesus, Son of the Virgin Mary, have mercy on us. Jesus, most amiable, have mercy on us. Jesus, most admirable, have mercy on us. Jesus, the mighty God, have mercy on us. Jesus, Father of the world to come, [...]

CHRISTMAS WITH EVELYN UNDERHILL: The Example Of The Christ Child

From Light of Christ The mystics keep telling us that the goal of that prayer and the goal of that hidden life which should itself become more and more of a prayer, is “union with God.”  We use that phrase often, much too often to preserve the wholesome sense of its awe-fulness.  For what does union with God mean?  It is not a nice feeling we get in devout moments.  That may or may not be a by-product of union – probably not.  It can never be its substance.  Union with God means every bit of our human nature transfigured in Christ, woven up into his creative life and activity, absorbed into his redeeming purpose, heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Each time it happens it means that one of God’s creatures has [...]

CHRISTMAS WITH EVELYN UNDERHILL: Maturing

From The School of Charity All gardeners know the importance of good root development before we force the leaves and flowers.  So our life in God should be deeply rooted and grounded before we presume to expect to produce flowers and fruits; otherwise we risk shooting up into one of those lanky plants which can never do without a stick.  We are constantly beset by the notion that we ought to perceive ourselves springing up quickly, like the seed on stony ground; show striking signs of spiritual growth.  But perhaps we are only required to go on quietly, making root, growing nice and bushy; docile to the great slow rhythm of life.  When we see no startling marks of our own religious progress of our usefulness to God, it is well to [...]

ADVENT WITH EVELYN UNDERHILL: Contemplation

From Light of Christ Contemplation of Christ does not mean an emotional sort of pious daydream; it means entering by a deliberate, self-oblivious, and humble attention into the tremendous mysteries of his life – mysteries which each give us some deep truth about the life and will of God and the power and vocation of a soul that is given to God – mysteries which each one of us in particular is called to make part of our very lives.  They will break up, into colors we can deal with, that white light of God’s holiness at which we cannot look. You know sometimes how one goes to see a church which one is told has magnificent windows – and seen from outside they all look alike – dull, thick, grubby.  We probably say, Well! [...]

ADVENT WITH EVELYN UNDERHILL: The Focus Of Prayer

From The School of Charity These great objective truths are not very fashionable among modern Christians; yet how greatly we need them, if we are to escape pettiness, individualism, and emotional bias.  For that mysterious inner life which glows at the heart of Christianity, which we recognize with delight whenever we meet it, and which is the source of Christian power in the world, is fed through two channels.  Along one channel a certain limited knowledge of God and the things of God enters the mind; and asks of us that honest and humble thought about the mysteries of faith which is the source of Christian power in the world, is fed through two channels.  Along one channel a certain limited knowledge of God and the things of God [...]

ADVENT WITH EVELYN UNDERHILL: Life Of Prayer

From The School of Charity Think of the span and the depth which is required of a full Christian life of prayer.  For one part of prayer associates us with that creative and supporting Love, and requires us to give ourselves as open channels through which it can be poured out on all life; and the other part of prayer keeps us in humble awareness of our own complete dependence, plastic to the pressure of the molding Charity.  When we consider our situation like this, we realize that the very best we are likely to achieve in the world of prayer will be a small part in a mighty symphony; not a peculiarly interesting duet.  When our devotional life seems to us to have become a duet, we should listen more carefully.  Then we shall hear a [...]

ADVENT WITH EVELYN UNDERHILL: Prayer Gives Our Lives Focus

From The Spiritual Life When we lift our eyes from the crowded bypass to the eternal hills; then, how much the personal and practical things we have to deal with are enriched.  What meaning and coherence come into our scattered lives.  We mostly spend those lives conjugating three verbs: to Want, to Have, and to Do.  Craving, clutching, and fussing, on the material, political, social, emotional, intellectual – even on the religious – plane, we are kept in perpetual unrest: forgetting that none of these verbs have any ultimate significance, except so far as they are transcended by and included in, the fundamental verb, to Be; and that Being, not wanting, having, and doing, is the essence of a spiritual life.  But now, with this [...]

ADVENT WITH EVELYN UNDERHILL: Prayer Is Central

From The Spiritual Life Prayer means turning to reality, taking our part, however humble, tentative and half-understood, in the continual conversation, the communion, of our spirits with the Eternal Spirit; the acknowledgement of our entire dependence, which is yet the partly free dependence of the child.  For prayer is really our whole life toward God: our longing for him, our “incurable God-sickness,” as Barth calls it, our whole drive towards him.  It is the humble correspondence of the human spirit with the Sum of all Perfection, the Fountain of Life.  No narrower definition than this is truly satisfactory, or covers all the ground.  Here we are, small half-real creatures of sense and spirit, haunted by the sense of a [...]

ADVENT WITH EVELYN UNDERHILL: Spiritual Life Begins With Prayer

From The School of Charity God, not man, is the first term of religion: and our first step in religion is the acknowledgement that He Is.  All else is the unfolding of those truth about his life and our life, which this fact of facts involves.  I believe in One God.  We begin there; not with our own needs, desires, feelings, or obligations.  Were all these abolished, his independent splendor would remain, as the Truth which gives its meaning to the world.  So we begin by stating with humble delight our belief and trust in the most concrete, most rich of all realities – God.  Yet even the power to do this reflects back again to him, and witnesses to his self-giving to the soul.  For Christianity is not a pious reverie, a moral [...]

ADVENT WITH EVELYN UNDERHILL: Centrality Of Prayer

From The Life of the Spirit and the Life of Today If the seeking of the Eternal is actuated by love, the finding of it is achieved through prayer.  Prayer, in fact – understood as a life or state, not an act or an asking – is the beginning, middle, and end of all that we are now considering.  As the social self can only be developed by contact with society, so the spiritual self can only be developed by contact with the spiritual world.  And such humble yet ardent contact with the spiritual world – opening up to its suggestions our impulses, our reveries, our feelings, our most secret dispositions as well as our mere thoughts – is the essence of prayer, understood in its widest sense.  No more than surrender or love can [...]

THE ADVENT EUCHARIST: Think About Jesus, by Peter Magee

From God’s Mercy Revealed: Healing for a Broken World There is much to adore in the Body of the Lord.  As you allow your eyes to become fixed upon that little white host, think of the eternity that lies behind it.  Think of the vast universe, which sooner or later will be drawn into that host, for judgment unto life or death. Think of the body of him who was truly born of the Virgin Mary.  Think of all he went through as a child, an adolescent, a youth, a young adult – like us in every way except sin. Think of the hands that blessed the children and healed the sick, of the voice that calmed the storm and called Lazarus from the tomb; of the eyes that pierced with love the heart of the rich young man, that saw Nathaniel and [...]

THE ADVENT EUCHARIST: Grace, by John Hampsch

From The Healing Power of the Eucharist How do we receive grace?  There are three major avenues.  First of all, we can receive grace through some form of prayer: prayer of blessing and adoration, prayer of petition, intercessory prayer, prayer of thanksgiving, or prayer of praise.  Likewise, it can be any expression of prayer: vocal prayer, meditation, contemplative prayer, community prayer, liturgical prayer, or psalm prayer. The second major source of that spiritual energy we call grace comes from practicing the virtues, such as faith, hope, charity, prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance.  In fact, some 56 virtues have been cataloged over the years.  (Even suffering could be considered a virtue when it is motivated by love, [...]

THE ADVENT EUCHARIST: Transformation, by Johnnette Benkovic

From Full of Grace: Women and the Abundant Life Like Mary, our mother, we have been called by God to bring the life of Jesus Christ to the world.  And like our mother, we, too, must be impregnated by the spirit of the gospel, imbued by the one whose name is Jesus Christ.  We have considered the supreme degree to which our Holy Mother, assimilated to the Word of God, became a reflection of him whom she bore.  She models for us the degree of transformation to which each of us is called. Prayer, obedience, and acting with the wisdom of God lead us on the path of transformation.  But it is when we receive into our bodies the one whose image we wish to reflect that we are most powerfully transformed.  As Mary conceived Jesus in the [...]

THE ADVENT EUCHARIST: The Spiritual Hour Of Power, by Andrew Apostoli

From Walk Humbly With Your God: Simple Steps to a Virtuous Life Devotion to the Holy Eucharist is at the very heart of Catholic life.  In his first message to the church after his election, Pope Benedict XVI said that the Eucharist is “the heart of Christian life and the source of the church’s evangelizing mission.”  As we know, Pope John Paul II also frequently emphasized the church’s Eucharist-centered spirituality.  In fact, he died during the Year of the Eucharist, a time he had set aside for the church to focus its attention on this sacrament, the center of our faith. Every Catholic needs the vitality, wisdom, and strength that come forth from Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.  Whether encountering the Lord [...]