At different times in our lives we have special intentions that are close to our heart. Sometimes, we are not able to put these intentions into words. At such times, it is consoling to read in scripture: ‘The Spirit too comes to help us in our weakness, so when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit Himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words’ (Romans 8:26). However, it is often helpful to be able to express these needs. We are often asked to pray for many of these intentions and we offer the following prayers to try to articulate some of them.
I thank you for the gift of my children. I thank You for the gift of faith that you have given me. I ask You to keep me faithful and to give me the grace to pass this on to them, so that they grow up loving You and knowing that they are loved by You.
Keep them safe. I worry so much about them sometimes, because the world in which we live today has so many dangers. I cannot possibly watch over them constantly, and so I ask you to do this. Give them good friends who will help them mature and develop into caring adults.
I thank You for their health and I ask You to give them continued good health. I know that they are precious in Your sight. I know that You love them even more than I do and so I entrust them to Your care. I consecrate myself and all my family to Your divine mercy.
Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them.
Please help me to sleep tonight. I find it so hard when I cannot sleep. The more I think about it, the more restless and anxious I get. It defeats the purpose, I know, but I can’t seem to help it. I should go to bed because I need the sleep, but part of me dreads the long hours of darkness. Let Your Holy Spirit fill me with Your peace, so that I can relax and get the sleep I need. And, if I cannot sleep, give me the deep serenity in my heart of knowing that I am loved by You and that You want me to rest in Your love.
Unload all your worries on to Him, since He is looking after you.
1 Peter 5:7
Heavenly Father, I thank You that You always take care of me. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. There are so many areas where I need healing
(Pause for a moment to think of the areas that come to mind; particularly recall incidents that have occurred during the day)
Holy Spirit, let Your grace repair those areas now. Heal the wounds I am not aware of, especially things that are an obstacle to love of God and my neighbour. Heavenly Father, I repent of any ways that I have offended You, consciously or unconsciously. As I settle down to sleep, I surrender it all to You. I ask for the gift of a good night’s sleep. I trust that Your healing action will continue through the night because, as the psalmist says …
‘You pour gifts on Your beloved while they slumber.’ (Psalm 126)
I entrust myself and my family to Your mercy. I ask all of this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
I thank You for the precious gift of my child. I ask You to heal her. You know how much it upsets me to see her suffer. I feel so helpless, unable to take her pain away and I can do so little to help her. I beg You to bring relief to her. You are our loving Father and I believe that You therefore understand exactly how I feel.
Please help me to be what I should be in this situation and give me the grace to trust in You always. I believe that in Your will is our peace, but please help me to live this out, as I find it so hard when she is suffering. I entrust her to Your care. I ask this in Jesus’ name.
Jesus said, ‘Do not be afraid; only have faith.’ Taking with Him the child’s father and mother and His own companions, He went into the place where the child lay. And taking the child by the hand, He said to her, ‘Talitha, kum’ which means, ‘Little girl, I tell you to get up.’
I ask You to heal me. I feel so wretched and it seems to be constant. When I am submerged by sickness, it takes over and I can think of nothing else. I ask You to lay Your healing hands on me and bring me some relief. I believe in Your power to heal, which You showed so much when You were on earth. I believe that You want only what is best for me, and so I ask You to give me the graces I need. If it is not Your will that I be healed at this time, send Your Holy Spirit to comfort and strengthen me and use my suffering to somehow help others. I ask You especially to bless those who are looking after me. I trust in You and Your great love for me, and so I leave myself in Your hands.
Lord, heal me, my body is racked: my soul is racked with pain.
Sometimes I feel so lonely and seem to get engulfed by these feelings. The more I think about it, the more I get bogged down by it all. Let me experience Your deep love for me, so that I may be strengthened in my inner self. Let me find my security in You, so that, even when I am alone, I may not feel this dreadful loneliness.
I know that if this sense of being loved by You takes a deep root in my heart, my self-worth will return and I will find it easier to have the confidence to face situations in life that I often avoid now and which leave me feeling lonely. I ask you to heal me of this. I trust in You – let me not be disappointed.
You are precious in my eyes and I love you.
I beg You to help me with Your grace. I feel so desperate and am so burdened at this time that I can see no way out of the rut I am in. My whole life seems to be crumbling around me and I feel that I cannot go on. I know deep down that You have created all life and that it is sacred, but it feels like life is no longer worth living. I know, too, that You have created me and love me and that You came that we may have life and have it to the full.
Please help me to experience that, as I seem to be struggling to exist at the moment. I beg You to allow Your love for me to penetrate the darkness that I am living in, because I know that it has the power to change me. Let Your Holy Spirit fill me with hope for the future and give me the security that I crave. I entrust myself to Your divine mercy.
As soon as Peter felt the force of the wind, he took fright and began to sink. ‘Lord! Save me!’ Jesus put His hand out at once and held him.
I ask You to have mercy on all those who have taken their life and especially on ______________________ You alone know what burdens he was carrying. I ask You to forgive anything that needs to be forgiven and to let him enjoy eternal happiness with You. I ask You to give us the graces we need at this time as we struggle to come to terms with our loss. Nothing we have ever lived through could have prepared us for this.
Even as we try to cope with this loss, help us to overcome the deep, gnawing sense of guilt that we feel – even though we know that this feeling, that maybe there was something more we could have done, is senseless. I ask You to heal and strengthen us and bring us through these difficult times. I find great comfort in knowing that You are the Good Shepherd and that, even as we go through this dark valley, we do not need to be afraid, because You are with us and will comfort us (Psalm 22).
He will wipe away all tears from their eyes; there will be no more death, and no more mourning or sadness, because the former things have passed away.
I come to You for consolation in my loss. I don’t know how to pray, nor do I really feel like praying.
I am only conscious of the deep pain in my heart, which is caused by my great loss.
I wish I could get beyond this pain, but each day brings reminders of ___________ whom I love and who has now died.
I know that Your mercy is boundless and so I entrust ___________ to You now.
My faith gives me the consolation of knowing that ___________ is still close to me.
In You and by our prayers, we can still express our love for each other and help each other.
But the reality in my day to day life, is that I am lonely and miss ___________.
Please fill me with Your grace and consolation, and heal my pain-filled heart.
Give comfort to all the other people who are also grieving at this time. I ask this in the name of Jesus.
Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon her.
May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen
We often have regrets when someone close to us dies – things we should have said or done. We often mull over them in our minds and it can prevent us from moving on and letting the person go. We have purposely chosen to add a prayer for regrets, separately.
Since this death, I often have regrets. Sometimes I think of things I should have said or done. They might not be very big, but now it seems too late. I know it is not helpful, but sometimes I can’t stop myself regretting and it can be unsettling. So I now surrender all to You. I believe that with You all things are possible and that in You they are aware of my sorrow. Come into the situation and bring healing. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen
I understand the grief of people who have to endure great suffering, yet slowly but surely we all have to let the joy of faith slowly revive as a quiet yet firm trust, even amid the greatest distress: ‘My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is … But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness … It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord’
(Lam 3:17, 21-23, 26) Pope Francis, ‘The Joy of the Gospel’, paragraph 6
When we are confronted with death, it is the ultimate experience of coming face to face with our poverty and helplessness. Whether it is our own death, or the death of someone we love, circumstances are out of our control and it can be frightening. God’s Word is all embracing at a time like this, as it expresses His compassionate presence and power. It is incisive and works in a mysterious, yet real way. When we are facing our own death, we may find it difficult to pray. And yet, that is the very time when we would like to be able to communicate with God, but may not know how or where to start. Similarly, if we are with someone in their last days or hours, we may feel helpless. We long to give them some comfort and reassurance to support them in their final journey. We may be unsure of how to pray, particularly if we are not used to praying. The following reflections and prayers, interspersed with Scriptural quotations, are offered as a way of dialoguing with the Lord at this lonely time. They are written as one would pray them for oneself. However, they may be prayed in the same way on behalf of someone else. Given that the sense of hearing continues, even when other senses have failed, it may give great comfort to the one listening, who may not be able to articulate the prayers. You are lending them your voice to facilitate their conversation with God.
Jesus, You have said, Do not let your hearts be troubled Trust in God still, and trust in me. There are many rooms in My Father’s house; if there were not, I should have told you. I am going now to prepare a place for you, and after I have gone and prepared you a place I shall return to take you with me; so that where I am you may be too.
Jesus, I believe in Your Word and that You are faithful to Your Word. Therefore, I place all my trust in you now. I believe that You have gone to prepare a special place for me, in Your Father’s house. I long to go there, to be freed to live fully in You. And yet, there is fear in me; not so much a fear of You, but fear of the unknown, a fear of letting go. And I feel for those I am leaving behind. Be with me and take me by the hand and lead me to the Father.
Jesus, we recall the story of the good thief on the Cross and the wonderful promise You made to him.
‘Jesus,’ he said, ‘remember me when You come into Your kingdom.’ And You replied, ‘Indeed, I promise You, today you will be with Me in Paradise.’
Jesus, I can only imagine the reassurance this brought to this condemned criminal. It is a source of great comfort to me at this time, that You are so merciful. In my struggle, between life and death, I too appeal to you, ‘Jesus, remember me; be with me, strengthen me, so that I can go in peace.’
Come to my help, for I am alone and have no one but you, Lord.
Free me from my fear.
Esther 4:17t and 17z
Sometimes the fears just well up in me and I feel overcome. Strengthen me, be with me, Jesus, my Saviour. Take away the anxieties that sap my energy and choke my trust. Jesus, I trust in You. I may not feel that, but still I will continue to repeat it, hoping that trust in You will take deep root in me. Let my every breath say, “Jesus I trust in You, Jesus I trust in You”. I need You now. Come, Lord Jesus, come.
The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. Fresh and green are the pastures where He gives me repose. Near restful waters He leads me, to revive my drooping spirit.
He guides me along the right path; He is true to His Name. If I should walk in the valley of darkness
no evil would I fear. You are there with Your crook and Your staff; with these You give me comfort.
You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes. My head You have anointed with oil my cup is overflowing.
Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life. In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell forever and ever.
This Psalm is a source of comfort and consolation to me. I ask You Father, to revive my drooping spirit now. Be with me in this dark valley, as You have promised, You who are true to Your name, You who are ever faithful. I trust that You are always with me, and so there is nothing to fear. Help me to focus on the banquet that You have prepared for me, rather than on my present sufferings and my sins. And in Your mercy lead me safely to Your own house, that I may dwell there with You forever.
‘Blessed those who die in the Lord! Blessed indeed, the Spirit says; now they can rest for ever after their work, since their good deeds go with them’ (Rev 14:13). Lord, as I approach the end of my life, I realise how few ‘good deeds’ I have. My life seems to have gone by so fast. In my own way, I think I tried to live a good life, to be kind. But, it seems so little now and there are regrets about what I could or should have done. At this time, it is Your great mercy that gives me comfort and hope, because mercy loves and forgives when it is not deserved. So this fills me with confidence. I come to You with empty hands, trusting in Your merciful love. I trust You; let me not be disappointed. Because you have come to give Your people:
knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins; this by the tender mercy of our God who from on high will bring the rising Sun to visit us, to give light to those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Luke 1: 77–79
Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace, just as you promised; because my eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared for all the nations to see, a light to enlighten the pagans and the glory of your people Israel.
May He support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done.
‘Then in His mercy may He give us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last.’
Blessed John Henry Newman
It has always been considered important to say the Act of Contrition in the face of death. If one is with someone who is dying, it is a commendable practice to whisper an Act of Contrition into the ear of the dying person.
I am very sorry I have sinned against You,
because You are so good,
and with the help of Your grace I will not sin again.
Many of the prayers given in the 'Everyday Prayers' section of the website are ideal for praying with someone who is dying. Particularly suitable prayers are:
• Act of Faith • Act of Hope • Act of Love • The Rosary • The Chaplet of Divine Mercy • Prayer to my Guardian Angel • Prayer at Night • Prayer for the Whole Human Family
You know the darkness that envelops me. This cloud descends on me and, when it does, I seem to lose all perspective. It seems like it will never lift. I know I have pulled out of it before, but when it starts again, it clouds everything. Help me to trust in You in this difficult time. I know that after the rain, the sun shines again and that above the clouds, the sun is always shining. But please impress this conviction in my heart, so that Your gift of hope will carry me through. I believe that You can heal me and so I entrust myself to You. Give me the graces I need to ‘hang in there’ until Your healing Love, which I know is constantly working on me, finally penetrates and gives me the relief that I need.
Out of His infinite glory, may He give you the power through His Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong.
I thank You for the gift of new life and especially for the child in my womb. I ask You to bless him or her so that the child will grow up in the way that You would wish. I also ask that my child will be healthy in every way and will grow to love You in his or her life. I ask that You give me good health, especially during my pregnancy, and that You will see that all goes well for both of us during childbirth.
For it was You who created my being, knit me together in my mother’s womb. I thank You for the wonder of my being.
You know the deepest longings of our hearts and how much we would love to have a child. We know every child is a gift from You. You know that we would cherish that child so much and that we long to have the joy of giving life in this deep sense. If it is your will, Lord, we ask You to bless our marriage by giving us the gift of a child. If this is not to be, give us the grace to accept what is Your will with love. Show us other ways to express the fruitfulness of our married love, and be Yourself the fullness of our love.
O God, hear my cry! Listen to my prayer.
You know the fears that are in my heart just now, as I carry a child within me. You know I hadn’t planned this and that I am really struggling. I beg You for Your grace to come to terms with the reality of it all. I know in my heart of hearts that each new life is a gift from You, to be cherished. Give me the grace to do just that, because I am finding it so hard just now. Please support me with Your grace so that I keep firm in my resolution to keep this child. Give me the material support that I will need in order to do so and put the right people in my path to help me. Bless and protect the child in my womb, so that he or she will be healthy and grow up in Your care.
Do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
You know the anguish that engulfs me. You have seen the spiral of horror in my life, the way my addiction consumes me and has taken over completely. You know I hate what I am doing to my family and friends, as they look on helplessly. It causes me such deep pain, and yet I seem to be totally unable to just kick the habit and start afresh. Please, please help me. I seem to live for the ‘high’, but it is all so empty and meaningless and sometimes I just despair. Give me hope and the courage to change. Give my family the graces they need to cope. You have said that You came that we would have life to the full. Let me be open to this through the power of Your Holy Spirit.
For God, everything is possible. Matthew 19:26
You know how difficult it is to make ends meet. Everything seems to be so expensive and it is a constant struggle to keep going. Help me to have hope and provide for us so that I will be less consumed by this gnawing fear that is always with me. Help me to trust You to do this for us.
We are in difficulties on all sides, but never cornered; we see no answer to our problems, but never despair.
2 Corinthians 4:8
Banish from my mind all anxieties, troubles and fears of any kind. Make my mind calm and serene and fill it only with loving thoughts and confidence in You.
When cares increase in my heart, Your consolation calms my soul.
The deepest desire of my heart is to meet someone with whom I can share love. I would really love to get married, to meet someone who could be a true soulmate, someone I could love and cherish, as I wish to be loved myself. It seems so hard today. People are afraid of commitment and, in truth, there is some fear in my own heart. So I ask You, Lord, to grant this desire of my heart and let Your grace and love grow in me. I ask this in Jesus’ name.
If you find your delight in the Lord, He will grant you your heart’s desire.
I thank You for my marriage partner, for the gift of our married life together. At this point in time, as You know, we are struggling. It can be so painful at times – to be living so closely with someone and yet unable to communicate in a constructive way. I ask You to come into the situation. You are the third person in our marriage and we need Your grace to continue on. Let Your Spirit of love and reconciliation renew and deepen our love for each other and help us to grow in trust. We ask this in Jesus’ name.
Love is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes.
1 Corinthians 13:7
In exams, much depends on our performance over a period of a few intense hours. Keeping a calm mind is half the battle in recalling what we have studied and giving a good performance. To be able to centre yourself for a few minutes before starting to study or even to stop for a brief pause is a great help. Even the few minutes sitting at the desk before the exam actually starts can be used profitably to become relaxed.
We offer the following exercise to help release the tension and calm the mind:
Close your eyes.
Take a few deep breaths. As you inhale, silently say, ‘Come, Holy Spirit, inspire me.’
The Holy Spirit is the breath of God and the One who is the source of all our inspirations. As you pray this, imagine the Holy Spirit coming in to do this within you.
Exhaling slowly, silently say, ‘Release the tension, bring your peace.’
As you pray this, feel the Holy Spirit drive the tension from your body.
This can be simplified to say ‘Come, Holy Spirit’ on inhalation and ‘Bring your peace’ on exhalation.
I ask You to help me at this stressful time. I feel that so much depends on these exams. I feel that in addition to carrying my own burdens, I am carrying the expectations of so many others – family, friends, society. Help me to keep calm at this time, so that I can think straight and apply myself to the best of my ability. Let Your Spirit help and inspire me, so that I can remember all that I have studied and put together my answers in the best way. Guide me in all my ways, so that I will find fulfilment in You.
Let Your good spirit guide me. Psalm 142/143:10
I ask you to send Your Spirit to inspire ___________ in her studies. Help her to be attentive and alert. Help her to study the right topics. Inspire her during her exam so that she will stay calm and perform to the best of her ability. I pray also that, in her quest for knowledge, she will come to know You and Your great love for her.
There is nothing I cannot master with the help of the One who gives me strength.
As we conclude our reflections, we leave you with some words from the inaugural homily of Pope Benedict XVI.
Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away and He gives you everything. When we give ourselves to Him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life. Amen.
We hope that these reflections have given you a way of coming closer to the Lord. We hope that you will come to experience, in a full and deep way, God’s all-embracing love for you. A prayer that beautifully expresses the fullness that is possible was written by St Paul, found in the third chapter of the letter to the Ephesians. This is our prayer for you:
This, then, is what I pray, kneeling before the Father, from whom every family, whether spiritual or natural, takes its name.
Out of His infinite 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 the 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 filled with the utter fullness of God.
Glory be to Him, whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He show His face to you and have mercy on you. May He turn His countenance to you and give peace to you.
The Blessing of St Clare
Mary is mother, she always assists us: when we are working and when we are looking for work, when we have clear ideas and when we are confused, when prayer flows spontaneously and when the heart is desolate: She is always there to help us. Mary is the Mother of God, our mother and mother of the Church. So many men and women, young and old have turned to Her to say ‘thank you’ and to beg a favour. Mary takes us to Jesus and Jesus gives us peace. Let us turn to Her, trusting in her assistance, with courage and hope.
Pope Francis to young people in Abruzzi