Prayers bring us closer to God. We pray to change our own hearts and bring them into alignment with the heart of God. We pour ourselves out to God and know that we are heard. We also let God speak to us.
Below is a collection of prayers on this site. Prayers based on the psalms are on a separate page.
You can also find and share prayers in the Catholic Moms, Dads, Catechists, and Teachers Facebook Group.
Lectio Divina means “divine reading”. It is a practice which trusts that God speaks to us through scripture. This is a practice I started doing regularly a few years ago.
St. Ignatius of Loyola believed that God gave us our imaginations and could use this gift to speak to us. One method of praying in the tradition called Ignatian Contemplation, by putting yourself in a gospel scene and to see where that leads you.
This encourages us to look at our day and reflect how God is speaking to us in our experiences and emotions. The Examen helps us see how God is moving in our lives. It is especially useful for discernment.
Gratitude can be one of the most fruitful forms of opening ourselves up to God. When we specifically notice things to be grateful for, we become aware of and acknowledge God’s constant presence in our lives. Practicing gratitude daily is a practice which can change your whole attitude and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time.
It is good to keep your spiritual life fresh by trying a new technique from time to time. There are times when something less structure is helpful. And sometime a traditional method or devotion brings comfort and inspiration. See some suggestions here.
Traditional Catholic Prayers
The Jesus prayer is a form of contemplative prayer. It ties your breath to praying, making your very life a prayer. If you do it often enough, you will be praying as you breathe, making it part of your natural rhythm.
This is a traditional prayer which honors Jesus Christ as the king of the universe. It can be prayed on its own or as a novena.
Confiteor means “I confess” or “I acknowledge” in Latin. It is one of the options for the Penitential Rite near the beginning of Mass. It is also just a good prayer to say to help remember our own weaknesses.
The first part of the Hail Mary echoes the visit from the angel Gabriel. The middle part repeats Elizabeth’s greeting to her. And in conclusion, we ask our Blessed Mother to pray for us, just as we might ask a relative or friend to do.
This Memorare is entrusts our petitions to our Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary. In it, we ask her to pray for our needs. Download a printable version here.
This is a really peaceful way to end the day. Some people feel like the Liturgy of the Hours is too “old fashioned” to use with teens and children, but many can appreciate it. Just use a portion of it if that is more appropriate.
A challenge when we say the Our Father is to not say it automatically, without thinking. Instead when we pray it, try to see which phrase stands out the most. It will vary from day to day. Maybe that’s what God wants us to focus on in that moment.
This litany helps us remember and pray the beatitudes. It also asks for our Lord’s grace so we can live these values in our daily lives.
This Litany of the Call to Discipleship asks our Lord to give us the grace to be His disciples. It focuses on various people in the gospel and asks for the grace to answer His call as they did.
In this Litany of St. John the Baptist, we ask this saint by his many titles and roles to pray for us so we can be more like him.
This Litany of Humility asks Jesus to lead us down the path of humility, wanting to be less than all others around us, so that He might be glorified instead of us.
This litany of belief is a prayer based upon the statement of the father of the boy possessed by a demon (Mark 9:24) and the profession of faith of St. Thomas the Apostle (John 20:28). The responses are “I do believe, help my unbelief” and “My Lord and my God”.
This prayer asks for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is in the form of a litany, which is a prayer where there is a prompt and then a response.
In this Litany of the Names of Jesus, we pray to Jesus using some of his many names
St. Faustina suffered greatly in this life, both physically and spiritually. She found consolation in offering her suffering for the souls of all of those suffer, and especially for those sinners who needed God’s mercy. Her devotion to the Blessed Sacrament helped her endure much pain. This is a litany she wrote to pray while in the presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
When Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, he promise several graces to those who practiced the First Friday devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Most Catholic youth are familiar with the rosary, but the Chaplet of Divine Mercy is less well known. The Divine Mercy Chaplet is a devotion which reminds us that God is merciful and that we too must show mercy.
During the apparitions at Fatima, our Blessed Mother asked Lucia that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart through this devotion. Lucia also received another vision several years later to do this devotion in reparation for the atonement of sins.
In the Seven Sorrows devotion a person meditates on the seven sorrows of our Blessed Mother. Mary experienced tremendous suffering during the life, passion, and death of her son, Jesus Christ.
The rosary is one of the most misunderstood Catholic devotions. While some non-Catholics see it as worshiping Mary, it is in fact focused on Christ. The mysteries of the rosary are based on important events in the life of Christ. When we meditate on these mysteries we consider these events and how they relate to our own lives and our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Prayers for Discernment and Openness
This is a Catholic prayer before reading the Bible. It asks God our Father to send His Holy Spirit to make us ready to hear Him.
This discernment prayer asks for God’s grace in seeing His will for us and understanding our own hearts. And then it asks us to be able to help others see.
This is often attributed to St. Ignatius of Loyola, but it was probably not actually written by him. Even so, it is sometimes called the St. Ignatius Prayer.
This asks God for the grace to let go of our need to be admired and the center of attention. It is hard to put God first when we are focused on ourselves.
The Suscipe was written by St. Ignatius of Loyola. It reflects his belief that all we have is given to us to serve and reverence God.
This is a beautiful expression of peace and abandonment of our own purpose to God’s will. “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”
Say this before reading scripture. It would also work well will a discussion of discernment or discipleship.
This is attributed to St. Augustine. It is all about the call to holiness, which our Holy Father recently focused on. Download a printable copy.
This Pope St. John Paul II Prayer for Guidance asks for the knowledge of God’s will and the freedom to do it. It also remembers God’s mercy and asks for solidarity among all people .
This is about waiting patiently for God. It is especially good for high school students and young adults who are discerning a vocation or possible career. We can be impatient about wanting an answer from God during the discernment process. We need to trust that God will eventually show us where we are supposed to head.
Prayers for Where We Are In Our Lives
Pour out your heart to God when you have been rejected. God understands your pain. Jesus knew very well the sting of betrayal and rejection.
St. Michael the Archangel is a warrior who fights evil. He is a protector. Children can understand St. Michael as a spiritual superhero whose nemesis is Satan. He is often depicted dressed in armor, but maybe a cape would be more representative of St. Michael’s role to today’s youth.
When you feel like it is all just too hard, follow St. John Neumann’s example and pray from your despair with this prayer in discouragement.
“Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me… ” St. Patrick’s Breastplate is a prayer for protection and guidance. Christ is always with us providing us strength and wisdom.
This Identity Prayer asks God to show us how he sees us. Then confident in His love for us, we can give the glory to Him.
Jesus tells us to love one another as he loves us. That is not easy! This Prayer to Love One Another asks for the grace to do just that.
St. Raphael is one of the archangels of God and is associated with healing. So ask this angel of God to pray for you when you need physical or spiritual healing.
For when you need the strength and courage to resist evil and stand up for what is right. This is written with youth in mind and the types of experiences they have in their daily lives.
For authenticity and being your true self. This is a good lesson for teens who are feeling overwhelmed by the need to be popular.
Prayers for People and Causes
Military chaplains serve the spiritual needs of men and women in the service. And they do so much more also. Ask God to bless the chaplains who give themselves to support others.
St. Jude is the patron saint of hope and of impossible causes. That makes him a good saints for students when they feel overwhelmed by studies and other demands on their time.
Pope Francis gives us a way to remember who to pray for. Download a printable PDF copy.
Yes, internet users have a patron saint! So ask for the intercession of St. Isidore to keep us safe while using the internet.
Ask the the Holy Spirit to help us reject the Culture of Death and to be committed to promoting a Culture of Life in our nation.
The sin of racism impacts all of us. Our communities are so divided. We don’t understand or listen to each other. We seem unable to make the sacrifices necessary to even the playing field for all of God’s children.
Praying for someone who has hurt you is difficult. This is especially powerful if you are still harboring some resentment. Pray from your heart, but if you are having trouble getting started, try the prayer given here.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness of the Americas. This includes themes of dedication of our efforts, justice for all people, leadership for bishops, desire for holiness, blessing for homes and families, call to reconciliation, love of the sacraments, and freedom from hatred.
One person who often requests our prayers is our Holy Father, Pope Francis. In fact, his very first Instagram post was simply captioned “Pray for me”.
It is easy to look at the divisions in our country and the injustices and loose hope. But our merciful God is first and foremost our reason for hope. Let us place our country in his hands.
Let us remember all of the brave men and women who have given their lives for our freedom.
Stop and pause and use your senses at the parts where it says breathe in and breathe out. Really feel your breath. It is a sign of life and a gift from God.
This is appropriate for national holidays, during election season, or in times of turmoil. If we are truly one nation under God, then we should pray for our nation
Giving your whole life to the service of the Church is counter-cultural and many young people do not even consider it. God calls us all to a specific vocation. So we should pray that those being called to the priesthood will hear and answer that call.
Group and Family Prayer Ideas
A popcorn prayer circle gives everyone an opportunity to offer an intention, either silently or vocally. This is a nice way to pray if you are doing an activity where you are practicing silence. But it is also just another way to pray together, or if you want to make sure everyone has a chance to offer their whole intention without interruption.
This helps youth consider how to filter out unclean or inappropriate thoughts. This would be good to use at a meeting focused on using electronic devices or the internet.
A paper chain puts our prayers in a tangible form. For children, this can be a good way to teach about adoration, petition, intercession, and thanksgiving.
Paper airplane prayers are a way to offer intentions in a group setting.
The pretzel is a symbol of prayer. The twist in the pretzel is meant to look like hands in prayer. And pretzels are made with simple ingredients – no sugar, butter, eggs, milk, etc. Includes a prayer you can say together before you enjoy your pretzels.
Ball Toss circle is an activity to help give everyone a chance to offer an intention. It also encourages the more quiet ones in your group to participate.
Flashlight Circle is a simple activity to hold attention during prayer time and to make sure everyone has a chance to offer a prayer.
This is a simple idea for a way to remember to pray at home during everyday activities. This would be a good activity for VBS or youth ministry to make and take home with them.
You can use whatever hat fits your theme. Think of a cowboy hat, a train conductor hat, a construction helmet, a baseball cap, etc.
A labyrinth is a path which is walked very slowly while praying. The walking can help calm and focus the mind. You can create your own labyrinth, either indoors or outdoors. See some tips.
This prompt is to discover ideas to pray about which start with different letters of the alphabet. ABC Circle is a suggestion for a group, but it could also be used as an individual prayer starter.
A one word spontaneous circle is a way to encourage spontaneous prayer in a group. The simplicity helps group members participate even if they are a little intimidated by spontaneous prayer.
This is a simple way to teach youth about different types of prayer. Write the prompts on the board, and let them fill in the blanks silently or by writing.
Prayers for Feasts and Seasons
This suggests something to fast from and then an alternative to feast upon. We don’t give something up to make ourselves suffer. We give things up for Lent to make room for something better.
The “O Antiphons” are part of the Liturgy of the Hours for December 17 to December 23. In them, Old Testament imagery is used to proclaim the coming of the Christ child. Incorporate them into your family devotions during Advent.
This is a simple Advent prayer service for families to say together. A prayer service doesn’t need to be lengthy. In fact, with very young children, shorter is sometimes better.
Use the this wreath prayer service to make any evergreen wreath serve as a reminder of our salvation.
Doing a Christmas tree blessing helps us focus again on the true meaning of this busy season, which is especially important as we draw nearer to Christmas and are worrying about things like purchasing few more gifts or getting ready for guests.
The Jelly Bean Prayer is a fun Easter prayer for your family or youth ministry. Make up some jars of jelly beans to give away with the prayer during the Octave of Easter. Put them on display for the end of Lent to remember that we are walking this Lenten journey with the hope of celebrating the resurrection of our Lord on Easter.
Advent Stations are a devotion which is similar to the Stations of the Cross. They encourage the participant to take a journey through scripture. In the case of Advent Stations we are taking a journey which shows us God’s preparation for the coming of Christ through the ages.
This mediation will take youth through the way of the cross. They will see each station as if they were there. The prayers are meant to relate to their own lives. This is appropriate during Lent or even if you will be offering youth an opportunity for reconciliation soon.
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Christ has no body but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes with which he looks with compassion on this world…
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…
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us…