It helps us to memorise certain prayers, so that we can use them at different times of the day and of the week, and so that our own personal prayer does not become too narrow. These prayers are especially useful and powerful when we do not know how to pray; or when we are worried or afraid; or when we are facing special trials or temptations. There are many prayers worth memorising – the more the better! Here are five essential prayers to memorise and use.

  1. The Sign of the Cross: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. [Cross yourself by using your right hand to touch your forehead, then your chest, then your left shoulder, and then your right shoulder].
  2. The Our Father: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
  3. The Hail Mary: 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. Amen.
  4. The Glory Be: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
  5. The Apostles’ Creed: I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen. [There are slightly different translations of the Apostles’ Creed. This is the modern one used in the Mass]


Here are five other extremely useful prayers, which you can gradually memorise.

  1. Come Holy Spirit: Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of your love. [Verse] Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created. [Response] And you shall renew the face of the earth. Let us pray: O God, who has taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that by the gift of the same Spirit we may be always truly wise and ever rejoice in his consolation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
  2. Hail, Holy Queen: Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy; hail our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. [Verse] Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. [Response] That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
  3. The Memorare: Remember, O most loving Virgin Mary, that it is a thing unheard of, that anyone ever had recourse to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession, was left forsaken. Filled therefore with confidence in your goodness I fly to you, O Mother, Virgin of virgins. To you I come, before you I stand, a sorrowful sinner. Despise not my poor words, O Mother of the Word Incarnate, but graciously hear and answer my prayer. Amen.
  4. Prayer for the dead: Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen. [And make the sign of the cross at the same time].
  5. Prayer to your Guardian Angel: Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here; ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.


Here are five other prayers to say during the day.

  1. A morning offering: O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day, in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart, and for the intentions of the Holy Father. Help me not to sin today. Help me to love you, and to love my neighbour, and to do your holy will in all things. [There are many versions of this prayer, but the main idea is simply to start each day by offering everything that will happen during the day to God].
  2. The Angelus: The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. HAIL MARY, etc… Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done to me according to your word. HAIL MARY, etc… And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us: HAIL MARY, etc… Pray for us, O holy Mother of God: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Let us pray: Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord, your grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ, your Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may be brought by his passion and cross to the glory of his resurrection, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen. May the divine assistance remain always with us, and may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. [To remind us that God the Son became man for our salvation. Traditionally said in the morning, at midday, and in the early evening. It is customary to genuflect at the phrase ‘And the Word was made Flesh’].
  3. Grace before meals: Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
  4. Thanksgiving after meals: We give you thanks, almighty God, for these and all your benefits, who live and reign, world without end. Amen. [It is customary then to pray for the dead] May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
  5. Commendation: [Just before going to sleep] Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, assist me in my final agony. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with you.


In the tradition of Catholic prayers an ‘act’ is a prayer in which we express our conviction about something. When we make an ‘act’ we strengthen this conviction and it becomes more a part of us. It’s like telling someone that we love them: This is not just passing on information, it actually makes the love more real and powerful. We can make these ‘acts’ at any time. We should especially make them when our conviction is weak or even disappearing, because that is just when we need to renew them. For example, if you feel your faith is weak or even non-existent, that is the very time to make an act of faith – even though we don’t feel like it. This is not hypocrisy. Praying an ‘act’ allows us to touch something deeper than our feelings, and strengthens and renews that hidden conviction.

  1. An act of faith: My God, I believe in you and all that your Church teaches, because you have said it, and your word is true.
  2. An act of hope: My God, I hope in you, for grace and for glory, because of your promises, your mercy, and your power.
  3. An act of charity: My God, because you are so good, I love you with all my heart, and for your sake, I love my neighbour as myself.
  4. An act of contrition: O my God, because you are so good, I am very sorry that I have sinned against you; and I promise that with the help of your grace, I will not sin again. Amen.
  5. An act of entrustment to the Sacred Heart: Sacred Heart of Jesus, I put my trust in thee. Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on me.