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e believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.


e believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Diocese of Westminster AG E N C Y F O R E VA N G E L I S AT I O N


Let us pray

Acknowledgements Let us Pray Compiled by Mark Nash (Agency for Evangelisation) Designed by Julian Game Produced by the Agency for Evangelisation, Vaughan House, 46 Francis Street, London, SW1P 1QN. Tel: 020 7931 6043 or email: Published by WRCDT, copyright 2009, Diocese of Westminster, Archbishop’s House, Ambrosden Avenue, London, SW1P 1QJ Print arranged by Transform Management Ltd:

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photo-copying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the publishers.

Images Front cover: W. Christian Symons, Altarpiece: The Divine Redeemer (1904), Holy Souls Chapel, Westminster Cathedral. (W. Christian Symons also designed the great Crucifix that dominates the Cathedral interior.); Pages 5-6: Rembrandt van Rijn, The return of the prodigal son (c.1662), currently on display in the State Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia; Pages 19-20: Baptism of Christ, Baptistry, Notre-Dame de Lorette, Paris; Pages 33-34: Holy Spirit Rose Window, All-Saints Pastoral Centre Chapel, London Colney; Pages 47-48: Christ crucified, currently on display in the Louvre, Paris; Page 61: Girl praying by criswatk (; Page 62: Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janiero; Page 64: Stained Glass from Lady Chapel, St Eustache, Paris; Page 70: Paolo Caliari known as Veronese, Supper at Emmaus(1559), on display at the Louvre, Paris; Page 78: Andrei Rublev, Icon of the Trinity (c.1410); Page 79: Icon of St. Patrick, displayed at St Patrick’s church, Sliema, Malta; Page 80: Andrei Rublev, Vladimirskaya Mother of God Icon; Page 81: Novgorod School, The (Arch)angel with the Golden Hair (1130-1190); Page 82: Icon of the resurrection of Jesus Christ (16th century). Throughout: Illuminated Letters from the Bulley Bible (1969-1983), Westminster Cathedral

Contents Foreword


A Father’s Forgiveness: Prayers on Reconciliation


Adopted Children of God: Prayers on Baptism and Discipleship


Strengthened in the Spirit: Prayers on ConďŹ rmation and the Spirit


His body broken... His Blood poured out: Prayers on Eucharist 47 Classic Prayers


Icons: Windows for Prayer



Foreword For several years the Diocese of Westminster has produced a series of autumn and Lent reflections for group and individual use. The prayers used to open and conclude these reflections have proved helpful to many. Let Us Pray brings many of these prayers together for the first time. Some have been specially composed, but the vast majority of the prayers included here are drawn from the Sacred Scriptures, the Saints, the Mass and other Rites of the Church. St. Thérèse of Lisieux described prayer as a ‘serge of the heart, a simple look towards heaven, a cry of recognition and love, embracing both trial and joy’. In bringing these prayers together we hope to encourage this ‘serge of the heart’, where our relationship with the Father is deepened, and to encourage the prayer for others which Christian charity demands. You may wish to use this prayer book within the small group context. Yet, whether privately or with others let us, in the words of St. Paul, be always praying (1 Thessalonians 5:17) modelling ourselves, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, on Jesus himself who learnt to pray according to his human heart, joining his will to that of the Father. Indeed, whenever prayer is difficult, let us be mindful that the Holy Spirit is at work in us, ready to articulate what we find hard to say. So, Let us Pray Pray.


A Father’s Forgiveness


The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation

Through the sacraments of Christian initiation, man receives the new life of Christ. Now we carry this life ‘in earthen vessels,’ and it remains ‘hidden with Christ in God.’ We are still in our ‘earthly tent,’ subject to suffering, illness, and death. This new life as a child of God can be weakened and even lost by sin. The Lord Jesus Christ, physician of our souls and bodies, who forgave the sins of the paralytic and restored him to bodily health, has willed that his Church continue, in the power of the Holy Spirit, his work of healing and salvation, even among her own members. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1420-1421 6

Prayer for those approaching the sacrament rd Jesus, you chose to be called the friend of sinners. By your saving death and resurrection free me from my sins. May your peace take root in my heart and bring forth a harvest of love, holiness, and truth. The Rite of Penance

We pray for others celebrating the sacrament ay the grace of the Holy Spirit ďŹ ll our hearts with light, that we may confess our sins with loving trust and come to know that God is merciful. Amen. The Rite of Penance, adapted


God in whom is all consolation, who doth discern in us nothing that is not thine own gift, grant me, when the term of this life is reached, the knowledge of the first truth, the enjoyment of your Divine Majesty. Amen. St. Thomas Aquinas (c.1225-1274)

od of your goodness, give me yourself, for you are sufficient for me. If I were to ask for anything less I should always be in want, for in you alone do I have all. Amen. Julian of Norwich (1342–1416)


racious God, look upon a sinner who is yet created in your image. Look upon a disciple into whose heart you gaze. Look upon a child who longs to love you with a heart yet more perfect, and looking, forgive, and gazing, pardon and bless; for your truth and your mercy’s sake. Amen. François Fenelon (1651-1715)

iving God, we praise you for the multitudes of women and men, young people and children who, across the earth, are striving to be witnesses to peace, to trust and to reconciliation. Amen. Taizé prayer, Time of the Church, 14 9

hrist, innocent though you were, you died once for our sins, you died for the guilty, to lead us to God. In the body you were put to death, in the spirit you were raised to life. For this we give thanks. Adapted from the Responsory, Easter Octave: Friday, Divine OfďŹ ce

ather, look with love on those you have called to share in the one sacriďŹ ce of Christ. By the power of the Holy Spirit make them one body, healed of all division. Keep us all in communion of mind and heart, and help us to work together for the coming of your kingdom. Amen. From the Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation I 10

od and Father, to those who go astray you reveal the light of your truth and enable them to return to the right path: grant that all who have received the grace of baptism may strive to be worthy of their Christian calling, and reject everything opposed to it. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. Concluding Prayer, Eastertide Monday Week 3, Divine OfďŹ ce blessed Jesus, give me stillness of soul in you. Let your mighty calmness reign in me. Rule me, O King of Gentleness, King of Peace. St. John of the Cross (1542-1591)


rd Jesus Christ, help us go forward in hope! Relying on your help as we venture upon the vast ocean of this new millennium help us not to rely on our efforts alone but to believe in the grace of God the Father, and the assurance of your presence amongst us. Amen. From Communion and Mission: Pastoral Priorities for the Diocese of Westminster, adapted

e believe in one holy, catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the word to come. Amen. Part of the Profession of Faith


hanks be to thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, for all the beneďŹ ts which thou hast won for us, for all the pains and insults thou hast borne for us. Omostmerciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother, may I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly and follow thee more nearly day by day. Amen. attributed to St. Richard of Chichester (1197-1253) In order to enter more deeply into the life of prayer and to come to grips with St. Paul’s challenge to pray unceasingly (1 Thessalonians 5:1), the Orthodox Tradition offers the Jesus Prayer, which is sometimes called the prayer of the heart. Say it often, both out loud and in your heart. rd Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. The Jesus Prayer, see Luke 17:13; 18:14; 18:38 13

od our Father, by the promise you made in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ your Son, you bring together in your Spirit, from all the nations, a people to be your own. Keep the Church faithful to its mission: may it be a leaven in the world renewing us in Christ, and transforming us into your family. Amen. Opening Prayer, Mass for the Universal Church, Roman Missal (1974)

ehold me, my beloved Jesus, weighed down under the burden of my trials and sufferings, I cast myself at Your feet, that Youmay renewmy strength andmy courage, while I rest here in Your Presence. Amen. 14

hrist, our Morning Star, splendour of Light Eternal, shining with the glory of the rainbow, come and waken us from the greyness of our apathy, and renew in us the gift of hope. Amen. Bede the Venerable (673 – 735)

od, you reveal your glory in the life and in the power of your Risen Son. We pray that your Kingdom will come. We long for the glorious day of Christ’s revelation when the kingdom of death and tears will end and your kingdom of peace, justice and love will be established forever. Amen. Prayer by Ethiopian Orthodox during Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2004 in Jerusalem 15

rd, I believe in you: increase my faith. I trust in you: strengthen my trust. I love you: let me love you more and more. I am sorry for my sins: deepen my sorrow. I adore you as my first beginning, I long for you as my last end, I praise you as my constant helper and I call on you as my loving protector. The beginning of ‘The Universal Prayer’, attributed to Pope Clement XI (1649-1721) rd Jesus Christ – hope of my heart, strength of my soul, help of my weakness, by your powerful kindness complete what in my powerless weakness I attempt. My life, the end to which I strive, although I have not yet attained to love you as I ought, still let my desire for you be as great as my love ought to be. Amen. From ‘Prayer to Christ’, St. Anselm (1033-1109) 16

od, youmade us in your image but we are imperfect. We were slaves to this world, to our past, to our sin. In your boundless love, you sent your son to redeem us through the Cross. God, you freed us that we should remain free, free to become more like Christ, free to become more worthy of your love. Adapted from Galatians 5:1 and a prayer by Blessed John Duns Scotus (c.1265 – 1308)


od, Our Father, In your inďŹ nite love and goodness you have shown us that prayer, fasting and almsgiving are remedies for sin: Accept the humble admission of our guilt and when our conscience weighs us down let your unfailing mercy raise us up. We make our prayer through Our Lord, Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever, Amen. From the Divine OfďŹ ce, Morning Prayer Sunday Week 3 of Lent


Adopted Children of God 19

The Sacrament of Baptism

Holy baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons and daughters of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: ‘baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.’ Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1213


Prayer for those approaching the sacrament ving Father, you enlighten us by Christ. Help us to walk always as children of the light and keep the ame of faith alive in our hearts. When the Lord comes, may we go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom. Amen. Prayer which accompanies the presentation of a lighted candle, The Rite of Baptism, adapted


We pray for others celebrating the sacrament lmighty and eternal God, you continually bless your Church with new members. Deepen the faith and understanding of those candidates chosen for baptism. Give them a new birth in your living waters and make them members of your family. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. Good Friday, Prayers of Intercession, For Those Preparing for Baptism


od the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has freed you from sin, given you new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and welcomed you into his holy people. Now he anoints you with the chrism of salvation. As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so may you live as members of his body, sharing everlasting life. Amen. The Rite of Baptism for Children, Anointing with Chrism


y Jesus, from all eternity you were pleased to give yourself to us in love, and you planted within us a deep spiritual desire that can only be satisďŹ ed by yourself. We can only be satisďŹ ed by setting our hearts, imperfect as they are, on you. We are made to love you; you created us as your lovers. My Jesus, how good it is to love you. Let me be like your disciples on Mount Tabor, seeing nothing else but you. Let us be like two bosom friends, neither of whom can ever bear to offend the other. St. Jean Vianney (1786-1859)


rd, through the gift of your grace, help me walk in the light of truth - my heart enlightened, my burdens washed away - that I may keep in mind the good deeds to be done. Adapted from Thomas À Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, Book III, Chapter 55

rd Jesus Christ, no one is freed from sin by themselves nor by their own power, no one is raised above themselves, no one is completely rid of their sickness or solitude. On the contrary, all stand in need of you, our Christ, ourmodel, ourmentor, our liberator, our Saviour, the source of life. Amen. Adapted from Second Vatican Council Decree Ad Gentes, 8


esus Master, sanctify my mind and increase my faith. Jesus, teaching in the Church, draw everyone to your school. Jesus Master, deliver me from error, from vain thoughts, and from eternal darkness. Jesus, Way between the Father and us, I offer you all and await all from you. Jesus, Way of sanctity, make me your faithful imitator. Jesus Way, render me perfect as the Father who is in heaven. Jesus Life, live in me, so that I may live in you. Jesus Life, do not permit me to separate myself from you. Jesus Life, grant that I may live eternally in the joy of your love. Jesus Truth, may I be light for the world. Jesus Way, may I be example and model for souls. Jesus Life, may my presence bring grace and consolation everywhere. ’Invocations to the Divine Master’ by Blessed James Alberione, Practices of Piety and the Interior Life 26

lmighty, ever-living God, only hope of the world, by the preaching of the prophets you proclaimed the mysteries we celebrate at Easter Help us to be your faithful people, for it is by your inspiration alone that we can grow in goodness. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. From the prayers after the readings at the Easter Vigil rd, you are the life and light of all this wonderous world we see; its glow by day, its smile by night, are but reections caught from you. Where ever we turn, your glories shine, and all things fair and bright are yours. Amen. Adapted from a poem by Thomas Moore (1779 – 1852) 27

ear Jesus, ood our souls with your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly that our lives may be a radiance of yours. Shine through us and be so in us that every soul we come in contact with may feel your presence in our soul. Amen. Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801- 1890)

Christ! You have shown us the beauty of eternal peace and the duty of inseparable love, grant that we may ever think humbly of ourselves, abounding in gentleness and pity towards all, that following the example of your humility and imitating you in all things, we may live in you and never depart from you. Amen. Mozarabic Sacramentary 28

ving Father remembering all you have done, and mindful of your kindnesses, we worship you. In baptism we put on your son Jesus Christ, for this we give you thanks. Recalling your forgiveness, your tenderness and compassion, we praise you and give you glory. Amen. Adapted from Psalm 103 (1-3, 8-10) od of eternal compassion, each Easter you rekindle the faith of your consecrated people. Give them still greater grace, so that all may truly understand the waters in which they were cleansed, the Spirit by which they were reborn, the blood by which they were redeemed. Amen. The Divine OfďŹ ce, Concluding Prayer for Second Sunday of Easter 29

lmighty God it is by your goodness that we, your adopted children can address you as our Father with conďŹ dence, can share in the grace of Christ, can be called children of the light, anticipating in faith the beauty of the reward to come. For this we thank you and we praise you, loving and eternal God. Amen. Adapted from a reading from the treatise of St. Basil the Great (c.330-379)


lmighty Father you command us to awake from our slumbers, to arise from the dead. You made us not to be held prisoner in the underworld, nor to be held captive in sin. We are the work of your hands; we are fashioned in your image. Help us to rise, and go forward; for you in me and I in you, together we are one undivided person. Amen. Adapted from a reading from an ancient homily for Holy Saturday


lmighty and eternal God, you keep together those you have united. Look kindly on all who follow Jesus your Son. We are all consecrated to you by our common baptism; Make us one in the fullness of faith and keep us one in the fellowship of love. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. Opening prayer – Mass for the Unity of Christians (Year A)



in the Spirit 33

The Sacrament of Confirmation

Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace. It unites us more firmly to Christ; it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us; it renders our bond with the Church more perfect; it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ. ‘Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear in God’s presence. Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with his sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed his pledge, the Spirit, in your hearts’ (St.Ambrose). Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1303


Prayer for those approaching the sacrament n baptism, God our Father gave the new birth of eternal life to his sons and daughters. Let us pray to our Father that he will pour out the Holy Spirit to strengthen us, his sons and daughters, with his gifts and anoint us to be more like Christ, the Son of God. Amen. Laying on of hands from the Rite of ConďŹ rmation, adapted


We pray for others celebrating the sacrament ll-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by water and the Holy Spirit you freed your sons and daughters from sin and gave them new life. Send your Holy Spirit upon them be their Helper and Guide. Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence. Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. Prayer from the Rite of ConďŹ rmation


ome down, O love divine, Seek thou this soul of mine, And visit it with thine own ardour glowing; O Comforter draw near, Within my heart appear, And kindle it, thy holy ame bestowing. Bianco da Siena (c.1350 - 1434)

racious and holy Father, give us wisdom to perceive you, intelligence to understand you, diligence to seek you, patience to wait for you, eyes to behold you, a heart to meditate on you, and a life to proclaim you; through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen. St. Benedict of Nursia (c.480-c.547)


his is what I pray, kneeling before the Father, from whom every family, whether spiritual or natural takes its name: Out of his inďŹ nite glory, may he give you the power through his Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong, so that Christ may live in your hearts, through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love, you will with all the saints have strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; until knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, you are ďŹ lled with the utter fullness of God. Amen. Ephesians 3: 14-19


racious God, grant me the grace to serve you all the days of my life and in serving you to become truly free and truly holy. Amen. Adapted from Thomas Ă€ Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, Book III, Chapter 10. od, send forth your Holy Spirit into my heart that I may perceive, into my mind that I may remember, and into my soul that I may meditate. Inspire me to speak with piety, holiness, tenderness and mercy. Teach, guide and direct my thoughts and senses from beginning to end. May your grace ever help and correct me, and may I be strengthened now with wisdom from on high, for the sake of your inďŹ nite mercy. Amen. St. Anthony of Padua (c.1195-1231)


eavenly Father, through the gift of your grace still in our minds, open our hearts to your Word and our lives to your will, that we might ourish in our humanity and come to share in your divinity. We ask this through your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. he kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own. Amen. Attributed to Oscar Romero (1917-1980) 40

Teacher, Jesus, be favourable to your children. Grant that we who follow your command may attain the likeness of your image and in accord with our strength ďŹ nd in you both a good God and a judge who is not severe. Amen. Clement of Alexandria (c.150-c.211)

ear Lord and Father, help us each day to be like perfect children, help us to shine in the world like bright stars. Through our words and our actions, we ask you to bring others to see your offer of the word of life. Amen. Based on Philippians 2:15-16


oly Spirit, divine Consoler, O Giver of all supernatural gifts, I adore You as my true God, with God the Father and God the Son. Grant me the gift of piety, so that I may serve You. Grant me the gift of knowledge, so that I may know the things of God. Grant me the gift of fortitude, so that I may overcome that which threatens my salvation. Grant me the gift of counsel, so that I may choose what is from God. Grant me the gift of understanding, so that I may apprehend the divine and not the worldly. Grant me the gift of wisdom, so that I may rightly direct all my actions to God, so that, having loved Him and served Him in this life, I may have the happiness of possessing Him eternally in the next. Amen. St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) adapted 42

God, teach me to breathe deeply in faith. Amen. Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1845)

hrist, my God, you humbled yourself in order to lift me, a straying sheep, on to your shoulders. You fed me in green pastures and nourished me with the waters of true doctrine by the hands of your shepherds. Lord, lighten the heavy burden of my sins, like a bright lamp, guide me along the right path. Let your good Spirit guide me in the right way and may my works be in accordance with your will. Let it be so, right to the end, Amen. St. John of Damascus (c.665-c.750) 43

shall follow you, Lord Jesus. I shall follow you, Lord, to the garden where your flesh was sown. Here, yes, here, you sleep, Lord; here you keep a gentle Sabbath in Sabbath rest. May my flesh be buried with you Lord, that what I live in the world I may live not in myself, but in you who gave yourself up for me. Let my flesh be anointed with you, O Lord. Adapted from ‘The Mirror of Charity’ by Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167) rd Jesus Christ, take all my freedom, my memory, my understanding, and my will. All that I have and cherish you have given me. I surrender it all to be guided by your will. Your grace and your love are wealth enough for me. Give me these, Lord Jesus, and I ask for nothing more. St. Ignatius Loyola (c. 1491-1556) 44

ost High and glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart. Give me right faith, sure hope and perfect charity. Fill me with understanding and knowledge that I may fulfill your command. Prayer of St. Francis before the Crucifix od our Father, in the transfigured glory of Christ your Son, you strengthen our faith by confirming the witness of your prophets, and show us the splendour of your beloved sons and daughters. As we listen to the voice of your Son, help us to become heirs to eternal life with him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever, Amen Opening Prayer – The Transfiguration of the Lord 45

Do you reject sin, so as to live in the freedom of God’s children? Do you reject the glamour of evil, and refuse to be mastered by sin? Do you reject Satan, father of sin and prince of darkness?

I do. I do. I do.

Do you believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth?

I do. Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was cruciďŹ ed, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father? I do. Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting? I do. God, the all-powerful Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and forgiven all our sins. May God also keep us faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ for ever and ever. Amen. Renewal of Baptismal Promises 46

His body broken...

...His Blood poured out 47

The Sacrament of the Eucharist

The holy Eucharist completes Christian initiation. Those who have been raised to the dignity of the royal priesthood by baptism and configured more deeply to Christ by confirmation participate with the whole community in the Lord’s own sacrifice by means of the Eucharist. ‘At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Saviour instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again.’ The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’ ‘The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself.’ Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1322-1324 48

Prayer for those approaching the sacrament and we pray for others celebrating the sacrament rd, look upon this sacriďŹ ce which you have given to your Church; and by your Holy Spirit, gather all who share this one bread and one cup into the one Body of Christ, a living sacriďŹ ce of praise. From Eucharistic Prayer IV


od our Father, from living stones, your chosen people, you built an eternal temple to your glory. Increase the spiritual gifts you have given to your Church, so that your faithful people may continue to grow into the new and eternal Jerusalem. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. Opening Prayer, Dedication of a Church, Roman Missal (1974)

ather of mercy, in your great love for us you have given us your only Son. May he take us up into his own perfect sacriďŹ ce, that we may offer you ďŹ tting worship. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. Prayer over the Gifts Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart 50

ome then, good Shepherd, bread divine, still show to us thy mercy sign; oh, feed us, still keep us thine; so we may see thy glories shine in ďŹ elds of immortality. O thou, the wisest, mightiest, best, our present food, our future rest, come, make us each thy chosen guest, co-heirs of thine, and comrades blest with saints whose dwelling is with thee. St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) rd Jesus Christ, we worship you living among us in the sacrament of your body and blood. May we offer to our Father in heaven a solemn pledge of undivided love. May we offer to our brothers and sisters a life poured out in loving service of that kingdom where you live with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. Roman Missal, Alternative Opening Prayer for Corpus Christi 51

lmighty God, help us to encourage one another to walk joyfully, our hearts filled with wonder, towards our encounter with the Holy Eucharist, so that we may experience and proclaim to others the truth of the words with which Jesus took leave of his disciples: ‘Lo, I am with you always, until the end of the world’. Amen. Adapted from Sacramentum Caritatis, 97 rd Jesus Christ, you gave us the eucharist as the memorial of your suffering and death. may our worship of this sacrament of your body and blood help us to experience the salvation you won for us and the peace of the kingdom where you live with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Rite of Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction, Prayer before Blessing I 52

This prayer, one of those offered by the Church for use at Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, expresses beautifully the lifegiving power of Christ’s gift of himself in the Eucharist. You are the Bread of life: Alleluia! You are the Bread of salvation: Alleluia! You are the Blood that redeemed us: Alleluia! You are the source of our joy: Alleluia! You are the Bread that feeds us: Alleluia! You are the Blood that quenches our thirst: Alleluia! You are the Bread that comforts us: Alleluia! You are the Bread that gives us strength: Alleluia! You are the Bread that heals us in body and mind: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist outside Mass, Supplementary Appendix


ee in this bread the body that hung on the cross; see in this cup the blood that owed from his side. Take and eat the body of Christ; take and drink his blood. For now you are members of Christ. Receive the bond of love and be united; receive the price of salvation and know your worth. For now you are members of Christ. Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist outside Mass, Appendix e though many are one bread, one body; for we all share one bread and one cup. You have made us live in peace in your house, O Lord; in your kindness you have prepared a banquet for the poor. For we all share one bread and one cup. Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist outside Mass, Appendix


e share in the gift of Christ’s body, given to us in the form of bread, given to us for all time. This food from heaven brings us together in unity as parts of the one body of Christ. In this sacrament we are drawn to share in God’s life, a foretaste of the glory of heaven. Father, our human words are not enough to thank you... our human minds cannot penetrate this mystery... Open our hearts to sing your praises... open our minds to your Spirit of wisdom and love... Help us to know that we are one... Show us the way to be more closely united in you, through your Son whose body and blood we eat and drink, through the love and the fire of the Spirit. Amen. Meditation Prayer offered for use during Exposition. Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist outside Mass, Supplementary Appendix


ake us worthy, Lord, to serve our fellows throughout the world who live and die in poverty and hunger. Give them through our hands, this day their daily bread, and by our understanding love, give peace and joy. Amen. Pope Paul VI (1897-1978) ather in heaven, our hearts desire the warmth of your love and our minds are searching for the light of your Word. Increase our longing for Christ our Saviour and give us the strength to grow in love, that the dawn of his coming may ďŹ nd us rejoicing in his presence and welcoming the light of his truth. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen. Alternative opening prayer – First Sunday of Advent 56

Lord our God, help us to realise our dependence on one another each dispensing and receiving the graces and gifts you bestow remembering that, unless we do this for love of you, it is worth nothing. Amen. Adapted from the Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Your cross we adore, O Christ, and in your resurrection we praise and glorify: You are God.We know no other besides you. It is your name that we proclaim. For through the cross joy has come into all the world. Ever blessing the Lord, let us sing his glory: for, having endured the cross for us, he has by his death trampled death. Amen. Adapted from Byzantine hymn


lmighty and ever-living God, I approach the sacrament of your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I come sick to the doctor of life, unclean to the fountain of mercy, blind to the radiance of eternal light, poor and needy to the Lord of heaven and earth. Lord, in your great generosity, heal my sickness, wash away my deďŹ lement, enlighten my blindness, enrich my poverty, and clothe my nakedness. May I receive the bread of angels, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, May I receive the sacrament of the Lord’s body and blood, and its reality and power. Amen. From a Prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas (c.1225-1274)


rd Jesus Christ, you offered yourself to God the Father on the altar of the cross as a sacrifice for our reconciliation. You shed your blood for our ransom and our cleansing, so that we might be redeemed from wretched captivity and cleansed from all sins. How precious and wonderful the Eucharistic banquet, how full of all delight. Enable us to share in your divinity, by sharing in your body and blood received under the appearance of bread and wine. Amen. Adapted from ‘The Eucharistic Banquet’ St. Thomas Aquinas (c1225-1274)

rd Jesus Christ, you are the Holy Bread of life. Bring to the glory of the resurrection the people you have redeemed by the wood of the cross. We ask this through Christ our Lord Amen. Triumph of the Cross 59

will sing a new song to my God. Lord you are great, you are glorious, wonderfully strong, unconquerable. May your whole creation serve you! For you spoke and things came into being, you sent your breath and they were put together, and no one can resist your voice. A little thing indeed is a sweet smelling sacriďŹ ce, still less the fat burned for you in holocaust; but whoever fears the Lord is great forever. Judith 16:13-17


Classic prayers 61

The Lord’s Prayer

The gospels contain two versions of the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:2-4, Matthew 6:9-13). It is the longer version of the prayer, given in Matthew’s gospel, that is used in the liturgy. The doxology, ‘Thy Kingdom come’ which Catholics pray as a separate prayer and some other churches include in the Lord’s Prayer was probably a later addition. It occurs in a 1st Century liturgical document, probably from Syria, called the Didache, and in some later manuscripts of the gospels. The prayer is traditionally associated with the Eucharist. It was taught to those preparing for baptism so that they could pray it publicly for the first time at the Mass following their baptism.This is a practice re-introduced by the RCIA for those adults preparing for baptism.


ur Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we have forgiven those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.


Marian Prayers

Devotion to the Blessed Virgin began with the Archangel Gabriel’s greeting ‘Hail, full of grace’ at the Annunciation and has continued throughout the Church’s history. Prayers addressed to Mary do not imply any divinity on her part but rather they seek to take advantage of her role as the ultimate intercessor with her Son which began with her ‘intercession’ at the Wedding Feast of Cana. Just as we offer prayers to God through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, so we offer our prayers to Jesus through Mary so that she may add her superabundant grace to them, making them more effective and acceptable to God.


ail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. Hail Mary (Ave Maria) ail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our, life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, to, thee do we send up our sighs, mourning, and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and, after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that, we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen. 65

Hail, holy Queen

he Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Behold the handmaid of the Lord be it done unto me according to thy word. Hail Mary... And the Word was made Flesh. and dwelt among us. Hail Mary... Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Hail Mary... Let Us Pray. Pour forth, we beseech thee,OLord, thy grace into our hearts; that,we towhomthe Incarnation of Christ,Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by his Passion and Cross, be brought to the glory of his Resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen. The Angelus 66

y soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour; for he has looked with favour on his lowly servant, and from this day all generations will call me blessed. The Almighty has done great things for me: holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has ďŹ lled the hungry with good things, and has sent the rich away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and to his children for ever. MagniďŹ cat (or Song of Mary, Luke 1:46-55)


emember, O most loving Virgin Mary, that it is a thing unheard that anyone who ed to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left forsaken. Filled, therefore with conďŹ dence, I turn to you, O Mother, Virgin of virgins, to you I come, before you I stand, a sorrowful sinner. Despise not my poor words O Mother of the Word of God, but graciously hear and grant my prayer. Amen. Memorare


Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia: For he whom you merited to bear, alleluia, Has risen, as he said, alleluia. Pray for us to God, alleluia. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia. Because the Lord is truly risen, alleluia. Let us pray. O God, who by the Resurrection of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, granted joy to the whole world: grant, we beg you, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, his Mother, we may lay hold of the joys of eternal life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen. Regina Coeli (Caeli)


Further Prayers

The Catechism of the Catholic Church talks about the various ways of praying (CCC, 2626-2639). Prayer is a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God, and over the centuries many people have tried to express precisely this. For St. Therese of Lisieux ‘prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.’ We are called to remember what Our Lord said to his apostles (Matthew 18:20), that praying together with others and sharing our faith brings us into a closer relationship with Christ. Here follows a short selection of further prayers for personal use.


ay Christ’s words be in my mind, on my lips, and in my heart. Prayer to accompany the signing of the forehead, the lips and the breast before the gospel reading

my God, because you are so good, I am very sorry that I have sinned against you, and with your help I will try not to sin again. Amen. An Act of Contrition

ngel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day, be at my side, to light and guard, rule and guide. Amen. Prayer To Your Guardian Angel 71

rd, 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. Amen. The Peace Prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi (c.1181-1226) t last, all-powerful Master, you give leave to your servant to go in peace, according to your promise. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all nations, the light to enlighten the Gentiles, and give glory to Israel, your people. Amen. Nunc Dimittis (or Song of Simeon, Luke 2:29-32)


rant Lord as we pray, that as our faith is built on the Risen Christ, so too may our hope be steadfast, as we await the resurrection of your servants from the dead. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen. From Morning Prayer for the OfďŹ ce for the Dead

rd, be the beginning and end of all that we do and say. Prompt our actions with your grace, and complete them with your all-powerful help. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen. From the Divine OfďŹ ce


lessed be the Lord the God of Israel! He has visited his people and redeemed them. He has raised up for us a mighty saviour in the house of David his servant, as he promised by the lips of holy men, those who were his prophets from of old. A saviour who would free us from our foes, from the hands of all who hate us. So his love for our fathers is fulďŹ lled and his holy covenant remembered. He swore to Abraham our father to grant us, that free from fear, and saved from the hands of our foes, we might serve him in holiness and justice all the days of our life in his presence.


As for you, little child, you shall be called a prophet of God, the Most High. You shall go ahead of the Lord to prepare his ways before him, To make known to his people their salvation through forgiveness of all their sins, the loving-kindness of the heart of our God who visits us like the dawn from on high. He will give light to those who dwell in darkness, those who dwell in the shadow of death, and guide us into the way of peace. Benedictus (or Song of Zechariah, Luke 1:68-79)


Icons: Windows for Prayer The Eastern Churches’ long-revered tradition of praying before icons offers a concrete way of ďŹ nding the holy in the ordinary affairs of life. God uses them as a leaven in our life to raise our awareness of the presence of the holy in our midst. As such, they are welcome reminders of God’s deep personal care for our life and of His desire to nourish us throughout our long, harrowing journey to holiness.Icons are more than just pious pictures. The Christian East regards them as transparent mysteries, windows through which a person can glimpse the dimension of the eternal in the present moment. Icons are prayer and contemplation turned into art. Every person is called to become transparent to the divine life, to rediscover the lost image of God within, to become a living icon of Christ. Prayer is the ordinary means that God has given us to bring about this gradual transformation of our life. Before an icon, it can assume many shapes. One may sit or stand in front of the icon and simply ponder its meaning. A person may use the icon as a focal point for centring prayer or rhythmic breathing. One may simply gaze upon the icon-and allow oneself to be gazed upon by it in return.The following observations come to the fore: 1. As windows to eternity, icons offer us the opportunity to peer beneath the transitory veneer of life and to behold, if only for the shortest part of a moment, the underlying ground of being, toward which all things tend. 76

Praying with them and through them helps us to become transparent to the activity of God’s Spirit in our life. They enable us to participate more deeply in the process of our own divinization and propel our gaze forward to that time when all things will be renewed in Christ. 2. No one prays before an icon in exactly the same way. Since everyone’s relationship with God is ‘unique in all the world,’ it follows that the actual manner in which he prays will contain subtle shades of difference. For this reason, it would be a mistake to view the various kinds of prayer as a static framework that must be reflected in exactly the same way in every beholder. On the contrary, a person should look for the particular combination of prayer forms that gives his relationship with God its peculiar identifying trait. Although some people may be more prone to one type of prayer than another, the goal here is to find the right blend that suits the personality and individual needs of each believer. 3. Ultimately, it is God who determines that pattern of prayer in our life and who provides us with the correct balance to meet our spiritual needs. This is an excerpt from an article which first appeared as ‘Windows for Prayer’ in The Priest 52 (no. 12, 1996): 12-15 and is reproduced with kind permission from Fr Dennis J Billy C.Ss.R


Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.


Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me. Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger. From St. Patrick’s Brestplate


Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.


Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom his love entrusts me here, ever this day be at my side to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.


Lord, by your cross and resurrection you have set us free. You are the Saviour of the world.


Let us pray  
Let us pray  

For several years the Diocese of Westminster has produced a series of autumn and Lent reflections for group and individual use. The prayers...