Prayer Index

The following index is just the beginning of a compilation of various prayers used within the SNDdeN network and organized by category for easy navigation.

This index is a work-in-progress and we will continue to add categories and prayers regularly. You may also view other prayer resources made available for downloading (Adobe PDF or Microsoft Word) on the Notre Dame Online website. Please click on the category below to jump to that section of prayers. If you have a prayer you would like to contribute to this Index, please email it to the Sponsorship Office for review and posting.

LentThanksgivingAdvent/ChristmasNew Year Prayers for Hope,
Courage, Comfort
Prayers for


Prayer for Ash Wednesday

Jesus invites us to walk with him during Lent, 
Meeting and being present with the humble and poor. 
Let us walk his way with joy. 

Jesus beckons us to a way of risk, 
Letting go of our security. 
Let us walk his way with joy. 

Jesus challenges us to listen to the voices 
Of those who have nothing to lose. 
Let us walk his way with joy. 

Jesus points us to a way of self-giving, 
Where power and status are overturned. 
Let us walk his way with joy. 

Jesus calls us to follow the way of the cross, 
Where despair is transformed by the promise of new life. 
Let us walk his way with joy.

Lenten Prayer for Ash Wednesday

May Lent be for us
A time of learning to see
Where Christ is crucified today,
A time of learning
To recognize the complex roots of injustice,
To recognize the Gethsemanes
In our global community. 
May we witness the suffering 
Of God’s children
As Mary witnessed
Her beloved son’s suffering. 

May Lent be for us
A time of learning to become
An Easter people,
A time of learning
To recognize the deep roots of compassion,
To recognize we too are called
To witness the empty tomb and 
To announce
To a world in despair
The Hope of the Resurrection. 


-Clarissa Aljentera

Lenten Prayer for Ash Wednesday

Good and Gracious God,
In the midst of our Lenten journey
may our hearts be drawn into deeper solidarity,
May our actions of fasting, almsgiving, and prayer
bring about a more just world.
May our fasting free us from the heaviness of the world
May our praying draw us into our inner light to find that
closeness with you we seek.
May our almsgiving be offered through the actions of
our love for others.
May we move through our Lent with
kindness and hopefulness.
As we walk the way of the Cross with courage
we walk knowing that we are closer to your love.


-Jane Deren, Ph.D.

Prayer for Renewal Through Lent

Listen and look to the earth,
to the gift of Creation.
In spite of present cold and the darkness,
The winter will be nearing its end,
And the light will warm us again,
As we move through Lent
Toward the Light who is our salvation.
Even now in the dark earth,
hidden seeds are growing, moving,
Reaching toward the hope of a Spring,
Just as Easter moves us forward,
Calling us to the work of inner renewal
So we may be strengthened for the work of
our day,
The renewal of hearts, the renewal of
The renewal of our common home.
Guide us in these weeks ahead,
Loving Lord of Resurrection;
Draw us forward despite our pain and fear,
May we learn, like the barren trees,
To blossom again, to bear fruit,
To praise you by our lives,
Continuing the great work of justice, of


-Jane Deren, Ph.D.

The Fast

Fast from judging others; 
Feast on Christ dwelling in them. 
Fast from fear of illness; 
Feast on the healing power of God. 
Fast from words that pollute; 
Feast on speech that purifies. 
Fast from discontent; 
Feast on gratitude. 
Fast from anger; 
Feast on patience. 
Fast from pessimism; 
Feast on hope. 
Fast from negatives; 
Feast on encouragement. 
Fast from bitterness; 
Feast on forgiveness. 
Fast from self-concern; 
Feast on compassion. 
Fast from suspicion; 
Feast on truth. 
Fast from gossip;
Feast on purposeful silence. 
Fast from problems that overwhelm; 
Feast on prayer that sustains. 
Fast from anxiety; 
Feast on faith. 

-Author Unknown

Prayer for Holy Thursday

You Lord, you have loved us.
You have bowed before us,
Washed our feet and fed us hope with
your words.
You have showed us in your body,
With your hands and heart,
How to return the favor of your love.
We are to bend in respect and honor
before all others,
Caring for them and their needs as
And as intimately as you have done with
each of us.
Lord, you stay with us now,
Telling us to look into the face of every
other person
And see your face mirrored back to us.
Let us recognize each one’s dignity,
And bend before each person, tending to
their needs,
Encouraging them, being gentle and
strong with them.
Let us bless you in gratitude
By drawing everyone closer
And deeper into your presence among us.
Lord, make us one with them in you
As you are One in your community of the


-Dr. Megan McKenna

Prayer To Fast From Consumerism

Help us pull back
From mindless consuming,
From endless spending,
To fast from buying things,
So we may have space and time
To be present to the Spirit.

Help us to open our hands.
To let go of material goods,
To breathe slowly,
And recognize the abundance
Of grace and goodness
We are freely given.

May our fasting from wanting more
Sharpen our awareness
Of the needs of others;
May the hunger to be more
Rather than to have more
Restore us to wholeness.

May our fasting from consuming
Bring us a peace and joy
That is more lasting than material goods,
And that allows us to be free,
With hands and hearts open,
Seeing the value of every human person.


-Jane Deren, Ph.D.


An Advent Prayer

Advent is a coming to consciousness of God who is already present and loving us.  We are not waiting for what is not there, what has not arrived; more truly this is a time to attend to the signs of the holy all around us.  It is a time to respond to others with generosity and compassion. (adapted from comments by Sr. Ilia Delio)
Loving and good God, help us
	to recognize what you are doing within in and around us;
	to see those in search of gifts and abilities we have to offer;
	to have the courage to be welcoming;
	to not be swept up in the materialism of this holy holiday time
	to find contentment in what we already possess
	to be a blessing of support and peace to others.
Loving God, for this we pray.


Season of Holy Darkness

God will enter into your night,
As the ray of the sun enters into the dark, hard earth,
Driving right down to the roots of the tree,
And there, unseen, unknown,
Unfelt in the darkness,
Filling the tree with life,
A sap of fire
Will suddenly break out,
High above the darkness,
Into living leaf and flame.

-Carol Houselander

Fear of the Dark

When young, it is not uncommon to harbor some fear of the dark.  But our fear is not so much of the dark, but of not knowing what is there, what it is I hear in the dark. And, more often than not, there is nothing to fear.

“Too many of us panic in the dark.  We don‘t understand that it’s a holy dark and that the idea is to surrender to it and journey through to real light.”  

-Sue Monk Kidd in When the Heart Waits


Darkness is essential for personal growth: it makes us, in our times of uncertainty and lack of clarity, to stretch our hearts, to seek the good.  Advent is a season of holy darkness that seems to intrude on our light-filled lives.  But these special days call for attention to what we seek deep in our hearts: the love and goodness of God.  

We pray:
Teach us O God, to accept this season of holy darkness with the intention to be a light of friendship, generosity, patience, and prayer.  May we ourselves be the light of  “Emmanuel”—God-is-with-us


Let us go to Bethlehem

St. Julie prayed with the story of the Holy Family and suggested to her sisters, “let us go to Bethlehem with the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, to study there the lesson of humility and poverty which they preach to us.” St. Julie and the sisters of Notre Dame de Namur live out this incarnational story by living with the knowledge that God is with us in the most ordinary of circumstances, continually offering hope and grace in the most challenging times and places.

As a Notre Dame de Namur community, we believe that God is actively present in our lives, in our schools, and in the communities we serve. May we take to heart the humble circumstances of the Holy Family, recognizing that Jesus was born to a family of poor means, who were migrants, and outcast, yet had the courage and hope to say yes to God who is Love. 

Loving God, during this holy season, help us prepare to receive Jesus anew. Let us go to Bethlehem with the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, that we may see with new eyes the hope of the season, and remember that you, God who is Love, is with us in our most humble and human encounters. Amen.

He Sleeps

A vagrant, a destitute wanderer with dusty feet, finds his way down a new road.
A homeless God, lost in the night, without papers, without identification,
without even a number, a frail expendable exile lies down in desolation under
the sweet stars of the world and entrusts Himself to sleep.

-by Thomas Merton, Hagia Sophia IV Sunset, The Hour of Compline, Collected Poems

The Work of Christmas

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins: 
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among all beings,
To tend the earth,
To make music in the heart.

-by Howard Thurman, 1956

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New Year

Standing at the Gates of the New Year

Sacred Mystery,
waiting on the threshold of this new year,
you open the gates and beckon to us:

“Come! Come! Be not wary 
of what awaits you
as you enter the unknown terrain,
be not doubtful of your ability
to grow from its joys and sorrows.

For I am with you.
I will be your Guide.
I will be your Protector.
You will never be alone.”

Guardian of this new year,
I set aside my fears, worries, concerns,
I open my life to mystery, to beauty,
To hospitality, to questions,
To the endless opportunity
Of discovering you in my relationships,
And to all the silent wisps of wonder
That will draw me to your heart.  

I welcome your unfailing Presence
And walk with hope into this new year.

- Joyce Rupp

Help Us Enter the New Year

God of all time, help us enter the New Year quietly, 
thoughtful of who we are to ourselves and to others,
mindful that our steps make an impact
and our words carry power.
May we walk gently.
May we speak only after we have listened well.
Creator of all life,
help us enter the New Year reverently,
aware that you have endowed
every creature and plant, every person and habitat
with beauty and purpose.
May we regard the world with tenderness.
May we honor rather than destroy.
Lover of all souls,
help us enter the New Year joyfully,
willing to laugh and dance and dream,
remembering our many gifts with thanks
and looking forward to blessings yet to come.
May we welcome your lavish love.
In this new year, may the grace and peace of Christ bless us now and in the days ahead.

- Vanita Hampton Wright

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Prayers for Hope, Courage, Comfort

Prayer of St. Teresa of Avila

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us. 

A Step Along the Way

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view. 
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. 
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. 
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying 
that the Kingdom always lies beyond us. 
No statement says all that could be said. 
No prayer fully expresses our faith. 
No confession brings perfection. 
No pastoral visit brings wholeness. 
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission. 
No set of goals and objectives includes everything. 

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 lay foundations that will need further development. 
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities. 

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. 
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. 
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest. 

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. 
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. 
We are prophets of a future not our own.


- Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw wrote this prayer as a reflection on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Bishop Romero. Even though he never spoke it, the prayer is often attributed to Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, who was assassinated in 1980.

A Prayer of Julian of Norwich

In you, Father all-mighty, we have our preservation and our bliss. 
In you, Christ, we have our restoring and our saving. 
You are our mother, brother, and Savior. 

In you, our Lord the Holy Spirit, is marvelous and plenteous grace. 
You are our clothing; for love you wrap us and embrace us. 
You are our maker, our lover, our keeper. 

Teach us to believe that by your grace 
all shall be well, 
and all shall be well, 
and all manner of things shall be well. 


Hildegard of Bingen Greeting

Good people,  
Most royal greening verdancy,
Rooted in the sun,
You shine so finely,
It surpasses understanding.
God hugs you.
You are encircled by the arms of the mystery of God.

Hildegard of Bingen

Our Lady of Guadalupe
As spoken to St. Juan Diego

Let not your heart be disturbed.
Do not fear any sickness or anguish.
Am I not here, who is your Mother?
Are you not under my protection?
Am I not your health?
Are you not happily within my fold?
What else do you wish?
Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything.

Prayer for Good Humor

Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest. Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humor to maintain it. Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil, but rather finds the means to put things back in their place. Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumbling, sighs and laments, nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called ‘I’. Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humor. Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke and to discover in life a bit of joy, and to be able to share it with others.

Attributed to St. Thomas More, from Pope Francis, Gaudete e Exsultate, Section 126, footnote 101.

Oremus – Let us Pray

So let us pick up the stones over which we stumble, friends, and build altars. 
Let us listen to the sound of breath in our bodies. 
Let us listen to the sounds of our own voices, of our own names, of our own fears. 
Let’s claw ourselves out from the graves we’ve dug. 
Let’s lick the earth from our fingers. 
Let us look up and out and around. 
The world is big and wide and wild and wonderful and wicked, and our lives are murky, magnificent, malleable, and full of meaning. 
Let us pray.

- Pádraig Ó Tuama

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Prayers for Wisdom

Prayer for Exams

God of Wisdom,
I thank you for the knowledge gained
and the learning experiences of the semester. 
I come to you and ask you to illuminate my mind and heart. 
Let your Holy Spirit be with me as I prepare for exams, guiding my studies and giving me insight so that I can perform to the best of my ability. 
Grant me the strength to handle the pressure of these days, the confidence to feel secure in my knowledge, and the ability to keep a proper perspective through it all. 
Help me to keep in mind what is truly important, even as I focus my time and energy on these exams. 
Finally, may I sense your peace in knowing that I applied myself to the challenges of this day.

- Author Unknown

Some Centering Moment

How good it is to center down!
To sit quietly and see one’s self pass by!
The streets of our minds seethe with endless traffic;
Our spirits resound with clashings, with noisy silences,
While something deep within hungers and thirsts for the still moment and the resting lull.
With full intensity we seek, ere the quiet passes, a fresh sense of order in our living;
A direction, a strong sure purpose that will structure our confusion and bring meaning in our chaos.
We look at ourselves in this waiting moment — the kinds of people we are.
The questions persist: what are we doing with our lives? — what are the motives that order our days?
What is the end of our doings? Where are we trying to go?
Where do we put the emphasis and where are our values focused?
For what end do we make sacrifices? Where is my treasure and what do I love most in life?
What do I hate most in life and to what am I true?
Over and over the questions beat in upon the waiting moment.
As we listen, floating up through all the jangling echoes of our turbulence, there is a sound of another kind—a deeper note which only the stillness of the heart makes clear.
It moves directly to the core of our being. Our questions are answered,
With the peace of the Eternal in our step.
How good it is to center down!

- Howard Thurman

Prayer of Thomas Merton

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though
I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone

Patient Trust

Above all, trust in the slow work of God. 
We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. 
We should like to skip the intermediate stages. 
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. 
And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability—and that it may take a very long time. 
And so I think it is with you. 
Your ideas mature gradually—let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste. 
Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time (that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make of you tomorrow. 
Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. 
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.

- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ

Thich Nhat Hahn

Our true home is in the present moment. 
To live in the present moment is a miracle. 
The miracle is not to walk on water. 
The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now. 
Peace is all around us—
in the world and in nature—
and within us—
in our bodies and our spirits.
Once we learn to touch this peace, 
we will be healed and transformed. 
It is not a matter of faith;
it is a matter of practice.

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Give Thanks

Give thanks for everything you have,
For everything you receive,
And for everything you are going to receive.
Never cease to give thanks,
For this positive attitude towards life—
The very act of giving thanks—
Draws the best out of you,
Helps to keep your heart and mind open;
Helps to keep your awareness expanding.
The more blessings you count,
The more they increase.

- Eileen Cady

The "Honorable Harvest": Lessons From an Indigenous Tradition of Giving Thanks

The canon of indigenous principles that govern the exchange of life for life is known as the Honorable Harvest. They are "rules" of sorts that govern our taking, so that the world is as rich for the seventh generation as it is for us. The Honorable Harvest, a practice both ancient and urgent, applies to every exchange between people and the Earth. Its protocol is not written down, but if it were, it would look something like this: 

* Ask permission of the ones whose lives you seek. Abide by the answer. 
* Never take the first. Never take the last. 
* Harvest in a way that minimizes harm. 
* Take only what you need and leave some for others. 
* Use everything that you take. 
* Take only that which is given to you. 
* Share it, as the Earth has shared with you. 
* Be grateful. 
* Reciprocate the gift. 
* Sustain the ones who sustain you, and the Earth will last forever.

How can we reciprocate the gifts of the Earth? In gratitude, in ceremony, through acts of practical reverence and land stewardship, in fierce defense of the places we love, in art, in science, in song, in gardens, in children, in ballots, in stories of renewal, in creative resistance, in how we spend our money and our precious lives, by refusing to be complicit with the forces of ecological destruction. Whatever our gift, we are called to give it and dance for the renewal of the world.

- Robin Wall Kimmerer


To be grateful for what is, 
instead of underscoring what is not. 

To find good amid the unwanted aspects of life, 
without denying the presence of the unwanted. 

To focus on beauty in the little things of life, 
as well as being deliberate about the great beauties
of art, literature, music and nature. 

To be present to one’s own small space of life, 
while stretching to the wide world beyond it. 

To find something to laugh about in every day,
even when there seems nothing to laugh about. 

To search for and to see the good in others, 
rather than remembering their faults and weaknesses. 

To be thankful for each loving deed done by another, 
no matter how insignificant it might appear. 

To taste life to the fullest,
and not take any part of it for granted. 

To seek to forgive others for their wrongdoings, 
even immense ones, and to put the past behind. 

To find ways to reach out and help the disenfranchised, 
while also preserving the dignity and self-worth. 

To be as loving and caring as possible,
in a culture that consistently challenges these virtues. 

To remember to say or send “thank you”
for whatever comes as a gift from another. 

To be at peace
with what cannot be changed. 

- Joyce Rupp (from The Circle of Life)

Thanksgiving Prayer


As we approach the wonderful celebration of Thanksgiving, we cannot escape the news of Earth’s people suffering, mass migration, homelessness, hunger, fear, hatred, oppression, war and violence.  
Let us hold those who suffer and grieve in a moment of silent prayer. 

This time of Thanksgiving calls us to remember beyond the turmoil in our world, for we do live in the midst of many great blessings and for this it is right that we should express gratitude:
  • We have the truth of the Gospel and of the compassion of our God. [Compassion!]
  • There are multitudes who work for peace and for justice, who attend to the suffering of others, and who bring hope to others. [Hope!]
  • We experience daily acts of kindness and friendship shared among us. [Kindness!]
  • There is a deeper understanding of our solidarity with Creation and of our opportunities to conserve and protect our wondrous natural world beauty and resources. [Beauty!]
  • We do live in the midst of great blessing. [Great Blessing!]
We offer our gratitude, God, for the abundant love 
that is always present for us 
in the depths of our being and in the wonders of creation. 
in the depths of our being and in the wonders of creation.

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