March 19, 2019

The Catholic Youth Prayer Book


This second edition of The Catholic Youth Prayer Book, which Saint Mary’s Press kindly sent me to review makes a highly appropriate gift for Easter or any time of the year – not only for Catholic teens and young people but Christians of all ages.

Divided into four sections, the book includes:

Part I Prayers for Daily Life
Part II Prayers from the Catholic tradition
Part III Methods for Personal Prayer
Part IV Liturgical Prayer

Throughout the book, Bible prayers appear, often from the Psalms but also Ezekiel, Matthew, Philippians, 1 Peter, and other books found in Hebrew scriptures or the New Testament. In addition, you’ll find creeds of faith and prayers from spiritual giants such as St. Augustine, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Jerome, Ignatius, and more.

As you might imagine, Part II, Chapter 5, “Prayers and Devotions to Mary,” is most apt to cause concern for non-Catholic Christians, who have assumed the honor given to her is a form of worship, rather than the devotion, respect, and just plain love rightfully due the young woman who humbly and willingly gave her consent to become the Mother of Jesus. Even an angel – a messenger of God – called her “Blessed!”

In those poetic words, which begin the Rosary, we learn to pray through stages of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (If you don’t have a string of beads to help you keep track of where you are in your prayers, you can always use your fingers!) Regardless, the chapter includes instructions and an illustrated “Guide to Saying the Rosary,” which, Catholic or not, has been known to move mountains and help people with insomnia sleep better at night!

“Chapter 6: Prayers about the Holy Spirit” includes an insert, “Scripture Tells Us about the Holy Spirit,” which encourages Bible readings in the epistles and the prophet Joel. For example

“You will do great things! ‘It shall come to pass/ I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh./ Your sons and daughters will prophesy,/ your old men will dream dreams, / your young men will see visions,” (Joel 3:1).

In Chapter 7, “Prayers from the Saints,” you’ll find prayers that speak to or for you so well, you might want to check out other works from those early Christians. For example:

“Take Me, Give Me

Lord, take me from myself and
give me to yourself.”

Saint Catherine of Seina

Or, for another example:

“In God’s Service

Lord God,
whose we are and whom we serve,
help us to glorify you this day,
in all the thoughts of our hearts,
in all the words of our lips,
and in all the works of our hands,
as becomes those who are your servants,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Saint Anselm

In the third section on personal prayer, the chapters and “methods” include:

Praying the Lord’s Prayer
Praying with Scripture: Lectio Divina
Praying with Guide Meditation
Prayer and Journaling

The final section gives liturgical prayers used in the church community and ones for a month of private devotions too. Typically those personal times of prayer begin with:

“Call to Prayer

God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.”

And end with a “Closing Prayer,” followed by:

“Dismissal

May the Lord bless us
and protect us from evil
and bring us to the joy of Heaven.
Amen.”

Yes and amen.

Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2019, poet-writer and pray-er


Click to order: 




August 11, 2018

Nehemiah’s Prayer is surely ours

“Great Lord, God of heaven,
Who inspires us to awe,

You always keep Your Word,
Your love, Your promises
with mercy shown
to those who love and obey You.

So now I ask You to open Your eyes,
Your ears to this prayer as I pray -
night and day - for Your servants,
Your children.

Lord, I confess we have sinned
against You,
and so have those before us.

How greatly we have wronged You!

We have failed to obey
Your commandments and laws given
to us through Your servant Moses.
But, Lord, do You remember what
You told us back then? You said,

‘If you are not faithful to Me,
I will scatter you among the nations.

But if you return to Me
and obey My commands - even
if you are as far away as you can go -

I will come and get you.

I will bring you to the place I have chosen
for My Name’.”


Nehemiah 1:5-9

as prayer-a-phrased by Mary Sayler after reading various translations on Bible Gateway

©2018

July 7, 2018

Praying for Christ to be glorified in you!


And so, with the Apostle Paul:

we’re always praying
for God to make you worthy of His calling,
fulfilling every good purpose
and every work of faith
by His power.

And then, the Name
of Jesus Christ our Lord
will be glorified in you –
and you in Him,
by the grace of God and Christ Jesus.



Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2018, prayer-a-phrased 2 Thessalonians 11-12 using scriptures from various translations provided by Bible Gateway.


June 16, 2018

Armor of God: Gearing Up for Team Jesus

This isn't a Bible prayer to God. It's God's prayer for us!

Armor of God: Gearing Up for Team Jesus


Gear up! Dress out! Put on the armor of God, and get in uniform for Team Jesus.

June 14, 2018

Praying triumphantly with Psalm 20

May the Lord answer us
in times of trouble and distress.

May the Name of the God of Jacob
protect us.

May the Lord send help from His holy place
and sustain us from on high.

May the Lord remember
and graciously accept
all we have to offer.

May He give us the desires of our heart
and fulfill our plans and life purpose.

Let’s sing a song of triumph
and raise our flag in the name of our God!

May the Lord fulfill our requests.

Now this is what we can know for sure:
the Lord gives victory to His anointed.
The Lord answers from a place of holiness
with success in hand.

Some depend on war machines
and others on horses,
but we rely on the Name of the Lord our God.
They collapse and fall,
but we rise and firmly stand.

Give success to our leaders, O Lord.
Answer us on the day we call.


Mary Harwell Sayler
, ©2018, prayer-a-phrased today’s Psalm reading in the ecumenical Revised Common Lectionary, with the help of many translations on Bible Gateway.

June 6, 2018

Getting grounded in the love of God

I’m asking God to gift us
the riches of His glory,
so we will be given
Inner strength and power
through His Spirit,
and Christ will live in us
through faith.

And I pray our roots will spread
deeply
into His love,
so we - and all of God’s children -
can begin to glimpse

how wide,

how long,

how high,

how deep

is His love for us.

Then we will
know
Christ’s love reaches far
beyond our understanding
and fills us wholly
with our Holy God.


Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2018, prayer-a-phrased Ephesians 3:16-19 as found in many translations on Bible Gateway.

May 21, 2018

One Lord, One Praise, One Power

May our God,
Who encourages us
and empowers us to endure,

help you to hold yourselves in harmony
with one another and
with Christ Jesus,

so that you may praise and glorify
the God and Father of our Lord,
Jesus Christ,

with one voice -
always
on-key.

Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2018, prayer-a-phrased Romans 15:5-6 after referring to these and other translations on Bible Gateway.