Pilot of the soul,
Guide of the righteous,
and Glory of the saints:
grant us, O Lord, eyes of knowledge ever to see thee
and ears also to hearken unto thy word alone.
When our souls have been filled with thy grace,
create in us pure hearts, O Lord,
that we may ever understand thy greatness,
who art good and a lover of men.
O our God, be gracious to our souls,
and grant unto us thy humble servants
who have received thy body and blood,
a pure and steadfast mind,
for thine is the Kingdom, O Lord,
blessed and glorious, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
— an Ethiopian liturgical prayer (source)
A prayer from St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380):
O Holy Spirit, come into my heart;
by your power draw it to yourself, God,
and give me charity with fear.
Guard me, Christ, from every evil thought,
and so warm and enflame me again
with your most gentle love
that every suffering may seem light to me.
My holy Father and my gentle Lord,
help me in my every need.
Christ love! Christ love!
A prayer from Frederick Buechner:
O Thou who didst rise again,
Thou Holy Spirit of Christ, arise and live within us now, that we may be thy body, that we may be thy feet to walk into the world’s pain, thy hands to heal, thy heart to break, if need must be, for the love of the world.
Thou risen Christ, make Christs of us all. Amen.
A prayer for Holy Week from Henri Nouwen:
Dear Lord, your disciple Peter wanted to know who would betray you. You pointed to Judas but a little later also to him. Judas betrayed, Peter denied you. Judas hanged himself, Peter became the apostle whom you made the first among equals. Lord, give me faith, faith in your endless mercy, your boundless forgiveness, your unfathomable goodness. Let me not be tempted to think that my sins are too great to be forgiven, too abominable to be touched by your mercy. Let me never run away from you but return to you again and again, asking you to be my Lord, my Shepherd, my Stronghold, and my Refuge. Take me under your wing, O Lord, and let me know that you do not reject me as long as I keep asking you to forgive me. Perhaps my doubt in your forgiveness is a greater sin than the sins I consider too great to be forgiven. Perhaps I make myself too important, too great when I think that I cannot be embraced by you anymore. Lord, look at me, accept my prayer as you accepted Peter’s prayer, and let me not run away from you in the night as Judas did.
Bless me, Lord, in this Holy Week, and give me the grace to know your loving presence more intimately. Amen.
You who guided Noah over the flood waves:
You who with your word recalled Jonah from the deep:
You who stretched forth your hand to Peter as he sank:
Help us, O Christ.
Son of God, who did marvelous things of old:
Be favorable in our day also.
— a Scots Celtic prayer (source)
Heaven and earth and all that is in the universe cry out to me from all directions that I, O God, must love You, and they do not cease to cry out to all so that they have no excuse.
— St. Augustine (source)
A prayer for understanding from Evelyn Underhill:
O Lord Christ who, in this difficult world, was tempted in all things, as I am, yet fell into no sin, look pitifully, I pray you, upon me. Guide me with your adorable wisdom. Teach me in everything and in every hour what I ought to do. You alone know, both that I suffer, and what I need. To you that perfect path that I should walk is known. Show it to me and teach me how to walk it. Keep me, O Saviour, in body, mind and spirit, for into your strong and gentle hands I commit myself. Give me, O Lord, I beseech you, courage to pray for light and to endure the light here, where I am on this world of yours, which should reflect your beauty but which we have spoiled and exploited. Cast your radiance on the dark places; those crimes and stupidities I like to ignore and gloss over. Show up my pretensions, my poor little claims and achievements, my childish assumptions of importance, my mock heroism.
Take me out of the confused half-light in which I live. Enter and irradiate every situation and every relationship. Show me my opportunities; the raw material of love, of sacrifice, of holiness lying at my feet disguised under homely appearance; and only seen as it truly is…in your light.
A prayer from The Venerable Bede (ca. 672 – 735):
I beseech thee, good Jesus, that as thou hast graciously granted to me here sweetly to partake of the words of thy wisdom and knowledge, so thou wilt vouchsafe that I may some time come to thee, the fountain of all wisdom, and always appear before thy face, who livest and reignest, world without end.
A prayer from St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380):
Eternal Trinity, You are a deep sea. The more I enter You, the more I discover of You; and the more of You I discover, the more I know to look for You.
God, You are voracious, and in Your depths the soul is satisfied, yet I always remain hungry for You and thirsty for You, Eternal Trinity, longing to see You with the light in Your Light.
As the deer longs for a stream’s living water, my soul longs to escape from the prison of my problematic body. I want to see You in truth, absolutely. How long will You hide Your face from my eyes?
A prayer from Henri Nouwen:
Help me, O Lord, to let my old self die, to let die the thousand big and small ways in which I am still building up my false self and trying to cling to my false desires. Let me be reborn in you and see through you the world in the right way, so that all my actions, words, thoughts can become a hymn of praise to you.
I need your loving grace to travel on this hard road that leads to the death of my old self and to a new life in and for you. I know and trust that this is the road to freedom.
Lord, dispel my mistrust and help me become a trusting friend.