Prayer Template

The following is a sample template for morning prayer. A good sleep the night before will make it easier for you to pray well the following morning.

The idea is to follow the template all the way through each of the steps, eventually working your way up to about forty five minutes of prayer in total.

1.

Reflection on the uniqueness of my creation, the blessing of being alive this day, and the Lord’s call to embrace today as the day of salvation

    In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

    Begin with spontaneous prayer from the heart praising God for your existence, for the opportunities and blessings of this day

     In my own words, praise God for:

              - my existence

              - my redemption through Christ's sacrifice on the cross

              -  the sacraments of baptism, reconciliation and the Eucharist

              - my family and friends

              - my home, food, shelter, education

              - all the blessings I have received throughout my life in which God has been continually calling me

              - especially for the grace of being alive this day and the chance to unite myself to the Lord in mind, body and spirit

               

    Glory be the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Amen.

2.

Consecration of this Day to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

(Here is a classic form of the prayer. Recall that Maximilian Kolbe, Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II and many other saints made Marian consecration a central part of their spiritual lives).

 

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day,

for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart,

in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world,

for the salvation of souls, the reparation of sins, the reunion of all Christians,

and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father this month.

- May I treat my family members and all whom I meet today with love, patience, kindness, and justice,

   through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

- May I look on everyone with purity of heart,

   through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

- May I bear all insults, offences, slights and criticisms with silence and dignity,

   through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

- May I tell the truth today, look out for the underprivileged and be sensitive to those who are hurting or isolated,

   through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

- May I see everything that befalls me today with the eyes of faith,

   through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

- May everything I say and do and think today be for the glory of God,

   through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, AMEN.

3.

A decade of the Rosary as a way of beginning to journey with the Blessed Virgin towards the Lord this day

We recommend reflecting on the mystery of the Annunciation. 

Our Father, who art in Heaven. . .

- At the Annunciation, Mary, you received the word of God with openness and humility – I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let what you have said be done onto me. Pray for me that I may receive the saving word of the Lord today in a similar manner.  (Hail Mary, full of grace. . . two times)

- The way in which you received the word of God and acted upon it, Mary, is what makes you blessed among women – Blessed is she who believed that the word spoken to her by the Lord would be fulfilled! Mary, help me today to follow you in your humble adherence to God’s life-giving word. (Hail Mary, full of grace. . . two times)

- At Cana, Mary, you exhorted us: Do whatever he tells you. In other words, “That we might receive the word that Jesus gives us and act upon it faithfully.” (Hail Mary, full of grace. . . two times)

- That reflection on the Annunciation might be a fitting morning offering for me. Today, Mary, the Lord will be speaking his word to me, just as he spoke it to you. That I might receive it humbly! That it might bear fruit in me! Unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12,24).  (Hail Mary, full of grace. . . two times)

- Woman behold your son! Son behold your mother! (John 19,26-27). Mary, just as you formed the Son of God in your womb according to the flesh, may we be formed by your intercession and example into images of God according to the Spirit.  (Hail Mary, full of grace. . . two times).  

 

Glory be to the Father...

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of Hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.

4.

The Mass Readings of the Day

Read the Scriptures attentively here. Then read them a second time, pausing at length at any phrase that strikes us or moves us. The psalm of the day is always carefully chosen to echo the themes that are found in the first reading and the Gospel. They transform the events recounted in the readings into a prayer raised directly to God. Don’t hurry your reading of the psalm of the day! You might find that you want to repeat again and again one of the verses. (If you need assistance in reflecting on the Gospel, you could click here).

5.

Contemplation

- Some spiritual masters recommend that we aim for twenty minutes of contemplation. This might be difficult at first. Be patient with yourself! We are on a journey and all that matters is that we follow the Lord. Do not force yourself. We must be led by the Spirit. A couple of good minutes is a good beginning.

- The aim is to rid our minds of images and distractions, to place ourselves in the presence of God, and allow him to speak to us.

- Contemplation is different to meditation. Meditation involves using our own impoverished methods to lift our minds and hearts up to God, in other words, everything we have been doing in this template up to now! Contemplation, by contrast, is produced by God. “We have entered into a wordless prayer, an awareness of the Divine Guest within, not through the use of the intellect but through a knowing loving, a deep communion with the Triune God. It is a prayer of quiet calmness in which we drink deeply at the life-giving fount. There are different intensities within this prayer but the way of experiencing and the passion of the experiences will vary among individuals”. (Sr Mary Colombiere, https://carmelitesistersocd.com/2013/meditation-contemplation)

Masters of contemplation do not need to use words, but for the rest of us the repetition of a simple formula is permitted to aid us in stilling our minds and our hearts. Some examples are given below. The classic formula used by many is called the Jesus prayer:

           

            - Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy on me!

             Other spiritual masters recommend the shortest formula possible, in order to aid perfect stillness of the mind and heart. Some say the formula should have no more than two syllables! An example would be "Jesus"

             Here are some longer formulae which might be of assistance until you settle on your own pattern of contemplation

            - Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving (Psalm 95)

            - O God you are my God, for you I long, for you my soul is thirsting (Psalm 62)

            - Jesus, son of David, have pity on me! (Luke 18,38)

            - Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? (1 Cor 6,19)

            - Bless the Lord my soul, all my being bless his holy name (Psalm 103)

            - You have the message of eternal life (John 6,68)

            - Master it is good that we are here (Matthew 17,4)

            - Near restful waters he leads me (Psalm 23)

            . The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? (Psalm 27)

            - Let us bow and bend low, let us kneel before the God who made us (Psalm 95)

            - You are my father, my God, my Rock, my saviour (Ps 89)

            - Have mercy on me God in your goodness (Ps 51)

            - That I may walk in your truth (Ps 86)

            - Now is the day of salvation (2 Cor 6,2)

            - One thing I ask of the Lord . . . to behold the beauty of the Lord and meditate in his temple (Psalm 27)

            - Out of the depths I cry to you O Lord (Ps 130)

            - I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with all my heart (Ps 138)

            - I trust in the Lord, my soul trusts in his word (Ps 130)

            - Glorify the Lord with me (Ps 34)

            - Help us O God our Saviour because of the glory of your name (Ps 79)

            - These words I have spoken to you so that my joy might be in you (John 15)

            - It is I, do not be afraid (John 6,20)

            - Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God (Psalm 31)

            - I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst (John 6,35)

            - Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, 

               and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him (John 14,23) 

Repeat the phrase you have chosen over and over again as you inhale and exhale. Relax. God loves you and wants to spend this time with you! If you need help with contemplation, please click here.

6.

Conclusion

Lord, I may have been distracted during my prayer today, but I know that you value the time spent with me regardless. Complete the work that you have begun in me!

 

- And so I am sure that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it on until it is finished on the Day of Christ Jesus. (Phil 1,6)

- "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12,9)

 Let us praise the Triune God: the Father who creates us, the Son who redeems us and the Spirit who sanctifies us

Glory be the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be. Amen (three times)

 

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

7.

Living out our union with God in our family life, our work and our encounters with others

Once the prayer time is over, then it needs to be carried into our daily lives, so that the mercy we experience from God becomes mercy that we show to others; that the trust we place in him during our meditation becomes unwavering trust in him during the difficulties of the day; that the feeling of being in his presence is not diminished when we encounter people who bring out the worst in us. To aid us in bringing our morning prayer to bear on our entire day, it is helpful to set aside a few minutes of recollection in the middle of the day and to do an examination of conscience in the evening.