What Is Prayer?

For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.

(St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Manuscrits autobiographiques, C 25r.)

The Pope Video, December 2018


Prayers for December

The Angelus
Traditionally said three times a day: 6am, 12noon and 6pm.

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to thy word.
Hail Mary.

V. And the Word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray;
Pour forth, we beseech thee, O Lord,
thy grace into our hearts;
that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ, thy Son,
was made known by the message of an angel,
may by his Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of his Resurrection.
Through the same Christ, our Lord.

Sub tuum
Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genetrix.
Nostras deprecationes ne despicias in necessitatibus,
sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper,
Virgo gloriosa et benedicta. Amen.

We fly to thy protection, O holy Mother of God.
Despise not our petitions in our necessities,
but deliver us always from all dangers
O glorious and blessed Virgin.

This prayer, first found in c. 300, is the oldest known prayer to the Virgin.

Prayer to Holy Michael, Archangel
Holy Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God cast into hell Satan
and all the evil spirits
who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
The Great ‘O Antiphons’

17th December
O WISDOM you come forth from the mouth of the Most High. You fill the universe and hold all things together in a strong but gentle manner. Come and teach us the way of truth

18th December
O ADONAI and Leader of Israel, you appeared to Moses in a burning bush and you gave the Law on Sinai. O Come and save us with your mighty power.

19th December
O STOCK OF JESSE, you stand as a signal for the nations. Kings fall silent before you whom the people acclaim. O Come, deliver us and do not delay.

20th December
O KEY OF DAVID and sceptre of Israel what you open no-one can close again: what you close no one can open. Come to lead the captive from prison; free those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.

21st December
O RISING SUN, you are the splendour of eternal light and the Sun of Justice. O Come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.

22nd December
O KING whom all the peoples desire, you are the cornerstone that makes all one. O Come and save mankind whom you have made of clay.

23rd December
O EMMANUEL, you are our King and Judge, the one whom the peoples await and their Saviour. O Come and save us, Lord our God.

A hymn for Advent

Creator of the stars of night,
Thy people’s everlasting light,
Jesu, Redeemer, save us all,
And hear Thy servants when they call.

Thou, grieving that the ancient curse
Should doom to death a universe,
Hast found the medicine, full of grace,
To save and heal a ruined race.

Thou cam’st, the Bridegroom of the bride,
As drew the world to evening-tide;
Proceeding from a virgin shrine,
The spotless Victim all divine.

At Whose dread Name, majestic now,
All knees must bend, all hearts must bow;
And things celestial Thee shall own,
And things terrestrial, Lord alone.

O Thou Whose coming is with dread
To judge and doom the quick and dead,
Preserve us, while we dwell below,
From every insult of the foe.

To God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit, Three in One,
Laud, honor, might, and glory be
From age to age eternally.


The Morning Offering, to the Heart of Christ, has been at the heart of the spirituality of the Prayer Network for all of its existence of nearly 175 years.

Generations of Catholic Christians, and many other followers of Jesus, have made this daily offering, faithfully.

From the earliest moment of the Apostleship of Prayer, in 1844, this prayer was missionary; oriented to the mission of all Christians.

When we now make that Morning Offering, we are expressing a desire to unite that offering with the Pope’s Intention for the month. We want to train our hearts to be more like Christ’s.

The deeper, larger meaning is that we want to pray with the whole Church, all of us invited to consider and pray for a particular Intention by the Holy Father.

The mission of this Network, the world’s largest, is to spread the word of the Pope’s Intention for the challenges that face humanity and the mission of the church.

By uniting our prayerful self-offering to the concerns that are in the Pope’s heart, we are in fact drawing together in prayer with the whole church, the whole People of God.

In this month of December, he asks us to turn to the Service of the Transmission of Faith; that people who are involved in the service and transmission of faith, may find, in their dialogue with culture, a language suited to the conditions of the present time.

In this intention, the Holy Father recognises the need to adapt our language and all of our means of communication the message, the Good News, which itself will never change.

This is not only an invitation to enter into dialogue with the culture but to think about the language we use to do so.

This is why the Pope’s Prayer Network now presents various ways of participation in its mission, such as our Click-to-Pray digital platform and the Pope Video monthly broadcasts.

The traditional Morning Offering prayer is still used by many and so too are the newer forms, such as the daily morning offering on Click-to-Pray.

It is unhelpful to use language that the culture, the world does not understand because so many people in our times are not hearing the proclamation of the Word.

There are many for whom the language and idioms of Christian spirituality, to say nothing of our liturgy, are meaningless.

That is not their fault; it does not make them bad people. We need to be honest, asking ourselves if we have made the necessary changes to how we transmit what we believe so that others may hear. Again, we can do so without tarnishing the truth that we have received – but that takes great care and sensitivity.

This month’s intention invites us all to think about these things.

Jesuit retreat director Philip Fogarty SJ reminds us, in this month’s “Living Prayer” booklet, that faith is much more than proclaimed doctrines and dogmas. If it is not a lived experience it can’t be transmitted.

Fr.Philip suggests that the “language of the church and of the Bible can often seem foreign and so has to be ‘translated’ in a way that speaks to the heart as well as the mind”.

The language we use needs to be “suited to the conditions of the present time”. For we are certain, in faith, that the message it communicates is suited to all time, to all of humanity across all of history.


1: Reflect: during this month, dedicate a time to reflect on the ways in which faith is transmitted in your community, the language and methods used and in particular how it is received by younger people.

2: Accept the challenge of helping others in your family, and parish community, to prepare for Christmas, meditating on the Word of God, devoting time to prayer and to the central theme of this liturgical time; how can you adapt your language to touch them with the good news that does not change?

3: Make a point of spending time with family and friends to talk and reflect about the meaning of Christmas, the meaning of the manger and the presence of Jesus in everyone's life, especially at home. It can so easily get lost in the rush of these December weeks.


A suggested daily offering prayer for this month, for yourself or your family, or prayer-group:

Lord Jesus,
You sent your disciples to announce the Good News to all the places of the world,
in different languages, in different times and to different cultures.
Through your Spirit, you inspired many people to transmit the faith so that everyone can understand it and embrace it.
Today, Lord, I/we pray, with the Holy Father, for all those who are given the task and mission of proclaiming the Gospel in their own communities.
May they, through their words and gestures, be witnesses of your love.
Our Father...

As St.Ignatius suggested, let’s take a few moments to try to be silent, or at least a little more calm in our hearts.
Imagine the Trinity gazing on you now, and gazing on the whole world.
See what the Three Divine Persons see – so much anger, so much violence, yet good souls too, trying to bring peace to a troubled world.
God’s messenger approaches one good person with a unique mission; she is asked to bear the Son of God, as the Trinity is moved by compassion and love for the troubled world.
Speak to Mary in your own heart, let her tell you of these things. And be with her nine months or so later, shut out in the cold as a refugee with Joseph and her infant son.
Let her ask you if you would like to hold this little baby, as mothers do. Let whatever prayer arises in your heart come freely and with passion.

Click to Pray:
Log on to our website https://clicktopray.org/ and download the app. (on App Store, iTunes and Google Play) to pray with the Pope, and hundreds of thousands of Christians around the world.

Prayer for Peace (from the Catholic Church in England and Wales)

At this time of heightened international tension, we ask our priests and people to pray daily for peace in the world and for a greater collaboration between all nations. We recommend that, in the coming months, the following Prayer be used at Mass:
Let us pray, through the intercession of Mary Queen of Peace, for peace on earth and an end to violence and terrorism in our world, for a new spirit of trust and collaboration between nations, for the gift of wisdom for our politicians and leaders, and especially for the resolution of long-standing conflicts in Syria, Gaza and Ukraine, and in other countries around the world.

Prayers for upcoming events