Often, we do not know what to pray for, or even how to pray. Below are some prayers from famous saints and ordinary people that have been helpful to those seeking to pray more.
People have also turned to the Book of Psalms in the Bible to help them pray. The Psalms are ancient Israel’s prayer book and hymnal. They reflect a wide variety of human experience. Below are lists of Psalms that reflect these various experiences and needs.
May you be blessed as you deepen your prayer life.
PRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
ST. FRANCIS – CANTICLE OF THE SUN
Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing. To you, alone, Most High, do they belong. No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.
Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them, precious and beautiful.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather, through which you give your creatures sustenance.
Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten the night. He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you; through those who endure sickness and trial. Happy those who endure in peace, for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.
Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whose embrace no living person can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Happy those she finds doing your most holy will. The second death can do no harm to them.
Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks, and serve him with great humility.
By Reinhold Niebuhr
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
ST. PATRICK BREASTPLATE
I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness, Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.
I arise today through the strength of Christ’s birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.
I arise today through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels, in service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs, in preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors, in innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
I arise today through the strength of Heaven
the rays of the sun, the radiance of the moon,
the splendor of fire, the speed of lightening,
the swiftness of the wind, the depth of the sea,
the stability of the earth, the firmness of rock.
I arise today through the power of God:
God’s might to comfort me, God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to lead me,
God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me,
God’s Heavenly Host to save me from the snares of the devil,
from temptations to sin, from all who wish me ill,
from near and afar, alone and with others.
May Christ shield me today against poison and fire,
against drowning and wounding, so that I may fulfill my mission
and bear fruit in abundance.
Christ behind and before me,
Christ behind and above me,
Christ with me and in me,
Christ around and about me,
Christ on my right and on my left,
Christ when I lie down at night,
Christ when I rise in the morning,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone that speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness, through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.
TWO PRAYERS OF ST. AUGUSTINE
Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace. Amen.
Lead us, O God, from the sight of the lovely things of the world
To the thought of thee their Creator;
And grant that delighting in the beautiful things of thy creation,
we may delight in thee, the first author of beauty
and the Sovereign Lord of all thy works, blessed for evermore.
A PRAYER OF ST. IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.
A PRAYER OF ST. ANSELM
Lord Jesus Christ; Let me seek you by desiring you,
And let me desire you by seeking you;
Let me find you by loving you, and love you in finding you.
I confess, Lord, with thanksgiving, that you have made me in your image.
So that I can remember you, think of you, and love you.
But that image is so worn and blotted out by faults,
And darkened by the smoke of sin,
That it cannot do that for which it was made,
Unless you renew and refashion it.
Lord, I am not trying to make my way to your height,
For my understanding is in no way equal to that,
But I do desire to understand a little of your truth
Which my heart already believes and loves.
I do not seek to understand so that I can believe,
But I believe so that I may understand;
And what more, I believe that unless I do believe, I shall not understand.
TWO PRAYERS FOR THE MORNING
God of my life, I welcome this new day. It is Your gift to me, a new creation, a promise of resurrection. Dear Lord, I thank You for the Grace of being alive this morning; I thank You for the sleep that has refreshed me; I thank You for the chance to make a new beginning. Dear Lord, I give you my hands to do Your work; I give You my feet to go Your way; I give You my eyes to see as You see; I give You my tongue to speak Your words; I give You my mind that You may think in me; I give You my spirit that You may pray in me. Above all, I give You my heart that You may love in me – love the Father and love all humankind. I give You my whole self, Lord, that You may grow in me, so that it is You who lives, works and prays in me. Amen.
Holy God, Beloved Trinity, let me always be rooted in you so that I may live in you and you in me. Bless me so that your grace may flow through me, allowing me to bear your fruit to a hungry and helpless world. As I wander, prune me of all that inhibits your growth in me. Let me do nothing apart from you so that your joy may be complete in me. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.
Eternal God, grant me true quietness
For you are rest and quiet without end.
Eternal light, grant me the abiding light,
And may I live and quicken in thy good.
O Lord my God, I am serene because I know you love me.
Because you love me, naught can move me from my peace.
Because you love me, I am as one to whom all good has come.
O Lord, grant the spirit of courage to come alive within me.
May I go into the duties and events of the day with a hopeful mind,
confident that with your help,
I can make something good out of whatever is given to me today.
In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.
Dear God, grant me this day to live a simple, sincere and serene life,
Letting go every thought of anxiety, discouragement, self-seeing,
Cultivating joy, generosity, love, and the habit of holy silence.
Grant me to be faithful in the habits of prayer, work, study, exercise,
eating and sleeping.
As I cannot by my own strength do this,
nor even with the hope of success attempt it,
I look to you, O Lord my Father, in Jesus Christ my Savior
and ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
O Lord, you are the guard and guide of all who put their trust in you. Grant me your peace. You know the cares that torment my spirit. You see the pathway of experience this day holds for me. You keep me in your strong hand through fortune or misfortune.
Forgive the worries that sap my strength and cloud my thinking. Save me from anxious self-concern, and help me to give today’s work to you, realizing that my efforts are a part of your great plan working out in this world. All my mixed feelings of love and resentment, trust and doubt, belief and unbelief, I place in your hand, thankful that you love me as I am. Grant me the grace to use problems to bless others rather than hurt them.
Now let me walk forth with confidence because I claim you as my Father, and because you accept me as your son, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
O God, give me strength to live another day.
Let me not turn coward before its difficulties be timid to its duties.
Let me not lose faith in my neighbor.
Keep me sweet and sound of heart in spite of ingratitude, treachery, or meanness. Preserve me from minding little stings or giving them.
Help me to keep my heart clean and to live so honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take the joy of conscious integrity.
Open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see good in all things.
Grant me this day some new vision of thy truth;
Inspire me with the spirit of joy and gladness,
and make me a cup of strength to the suffering souls;
in the name of the strong Deliverer, our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Enter my heart, O Holy Spirit, come in blessed mercy and set me free.
Throw open, O Lord, the locked doors and my mind;
Cleanse the chambers of my thought for thy dwelling:
Light there the fires of thine own holy brightness
In new understandings of truth,
O Holy Spirit, very God, whose presence is liberty, grant me the perfect freedom
To be thy servant, today, tomorrow and evermore.
You are holy, Lord, the only God, and your deeds are wonderful.
You are strong, you are great, you are the Most High, you are almighty.
You, holy Father, are King of heaven and earth.
You are Three in One, Lord God, all good.
You are Good, all Good, supreme Good, Lord God, living and true.
You are love, you are wisdom, you are humility, you are endurance.
You are rest, you are peace. You are joy and gladness.
You are justice and moderation. You are riches, and you suffice for us.
You are beauty, you are gentleness.
You are our protector, you are our guardian and defender.
You are courage, you are our haven and hope. You are faith, our great consolation.
You are eternal life, great and wonderful Lord, God almighty, Merciful Savior.
Lord God Almighty, I pray thee for thy great mercy and by the token of the holy rood,
Guide me to thy will, to my soul’s need, better than I can myself;
And shield me against my foes, seen and unseen;
And teach me to do thy will that I may inwardly love thee
before all things with a clean mind and a clean body.
For thou art my maker and my redeemer,
My help, my comfort, my trust and my hope.
Praise and glory be to thee now, ever and ever, world without end.
PRAYING WITH THE PSALMS
PSALMS OF COMFORT
PSALMS FOR DEATH & DYING
PSALMS OF JOY
Psalm 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150
PSALMS OF LAMENT
12, 44, 60, 74, 79, 80, 83, 85, 90, 94, 123, 126
PSALMS OF DELIVERANCE
Psalm 85, 120, 126, 142
PSALMS FOR LACK of FAITH
Psalm 73, 78
PSALMS OF FORGIVENESS
PSALMS OF HOPE AND CONFIDENCE
PSALMS OF PROTECTION
Psalm 91, 23, 86, 121, 145
PSALMS FOR SADNESS & SORROW
Psalm 42, 43, 88
PSALMS FOR HELP IN TIMES OF TROUBLE
Psalm 70, 71, 74, 80, 83
PSALMS and AFFIRMATIONS FOR WORRY, ANXIETY AND ANGUISH
Psalm 55, 102