Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Prayer by Heart

A few weeks ago, Fr Hunwicke bewailed the impossibility of learning psalms by heart due to the vast number of translations in use. I am not even at the stage of contemplating this, but I thought that some prayers might be a good place to start.

So, if we take the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be as given, because these are the only three I can consistently remember without mental blanks and grievous errors, what would be in a must learn list?

Here is mine:

1)Salve Regina
3)Anima Christi
4)Prayer of St Michael
5)Apostles Creed
6)Mysteries of the Rosary
7)Regina Coeli

This is in no particular order and certainly not exhaustive, but just those that I find myself looking through books for the most. And as there are seven, I could learn one a week during lent and, appropriately, have the Regina Coeli left for Easter week. And of course I'll post them here so you all do it with me! (I'm sure most of you are not as ignorant or forgetful as I am and so you know them already).

But I would like to know if there's anything really obvious that I've forgotten, or any that you would add and why. Or make you own list and leave it in the comments.


  1. Anything really obvious that you've forgotten?

    The Prayer to Our Lady of Walsingham:

    O Mary, recall the solemn moment when Jesus, your divine Son, dying on the Cross, confided us to your maternal care.

    You are our Mother, we desire ever to remain your devout children. Let us therefore feel the effects of your powerful intercession with Jesus Christ. Make your name again glorious in this place, once renowned throughout our land by your visits, favours and many miracles.

    Pray, O holy Mother of God, for the conversion of England, restoration of the sick, consolation for the afflicted, repentance of sinners, peace to the departed.

    O blessed Mary, Mother of God,Our Lady of Walsingham, intercede for us. Amen.

  2. Every Staggers bag should know this:

    O Jesus, living in Mary,
    come and live in thy servants,
    in the spirit of thy holiness,
    in the fullness of thy might,
    in the truth of thy virtues,
    in the perfection of thy ways,
    in the communion of thy mysteries.
    Subdue every hostile power
    in thy spirit,
    for the glory of the Father.

  3. Thank you Dave.

    Fortunately I'm not a 'staggers bag' but it is a lovely prayer despite that!

  4. Mmm. All the above!
    You have a double challenge with the Anthems, or a choice between the English and Latin. In addition, how about the prayer of St Ignatius Loyola ('Teach me good Lord..'), Aquinas 'Adoro te devote' and the Nunc Dimittis?

    I'm lucky in having a good memory for text, but for what it's worth here are my thoughts.

    It depends why you want to learn the psalms in the first place. If it's to recite the office it makes sense to stick to one translation, but if it's for private devotion I think it leaves an open question. Although there are many translations of psalms and canticles, there will always be some that come to mind more readily, either by preference or familiarity. For example, the Mag from vespers and BCP are different, but it's still the Mag.
    Can the same be applied to psalms? If you find a particular translation of a certain psalm memorable or helpful, memorise that version. It's a start, and probably more valuable (and less daunting) than starting at Ps 1 and working through to Ps 150.

    Frances (Blogger made me choose 'Anonymous' :o(

  5. On my list would be this evening prayer, from S. Augustine:

    Watch thou, o Lord,
    with those who wake,
    or watch, or
    weep tonight;
    and give thine angels
    charge over those who sleep.
    Tend thy sick ones, O Lord Christ;
    rest thy weary ones;
    bless thy dying ones;
    soothe thy suffering ones;
    pity thine afflicted ones;
    shield thy joyous ones;
    and all for thy love's sake.

  6. I would like to add the Prayer of St Richard of Chichester. I think it makes a lovely prayer before going to bed.
    I would also add a few of the BCP prayers such as the General Thanksgiving, the collect for aid against all perils, and the Prayer of St Chrysostom. These are wonderful prayers that I use in different circumstances, especially when praying feels difficult.