St. John Vianney, the patron saint of all priests, left us an important lesson about prayer:
“Prayer is the source of all graces, the mother of all virtues, the efficacious and universal way by which God wills that we should come to him. He says to us: 'Ask, and you shall receive.' None but God could make such promises and keep them. He says to us, 'If you ask the Father anything in my name, he will give it to you.'…Ought not this promise [to] fill us with confidence, and to make us pray fervently all the days of our poor life? Within the reach of the ignorant, prayer is the virtue of all mankind; it is the science of all the faithful! Everyone on earth who has a heart, everyone who has the use of reason out to love and pray to God.”
What a wonderful reminder and beautiful truth!
God created us for the intimacy of the heart-to-heart conversation that is called prayer. The greatest prayer is the public prayer of the Church, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Liturgy of the Hours (the breviary) and Eucharistic adoration outside of Mass are two additional important forms of prayer.
Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap. teaches the following about adoration and contemplation:
“Eucharistic adoration may be personal or communal; in fact, it expresses the full force of what it signifies when an assembly is before the Blessed Sacrament, singing, praising, or simply kneeling. Contemplation is an eminently personal activity; it calls for silence and requires that one be isolated from everything and everyone to concentrate on the object contemplated and to be lost in it.”
What then can an individual do to engage in intercessory prayer for priests?
Here are 12 suggestions for your discernment:
- Make a daily morning offering to God of all your actions and prayers for the sanctification of priests.
- Attend Mass as often as possible and offer your Holy Communion for clergy who need the most spiritual assistance that day.
- Offer an individual Holy Hour for all clergy, or for a priest that you know needs prayers. Remember to pray for seminarians, bishops, cardinals and the Pope.
- Pray a daily rosary for seminarians and priests that they may remain faithful and fervent in their vocations.
- Offer a Chaplet of Divine Mercy for priests at the 3 o’clock hour of mercy as often as possible.
- At noon, offer the Angelus Prayer for priests. It only takes a few moments and in this way you are lifting up the priesthood to God through Mary. (Click here to see the Angelus Prayer).
- If you pray the Liturgy of the Hours (the breviary), offer it for the intentions of priests, especially those who are suffering the most.
- If you make a daily examination of conscience, remember a priest who may be exhausted and in need of spiritual fortification.
- If you suffer at all, please consider offering your suffering for priests who help countless people carry their cross of suffering.
- Offer 7 First Fridays or First Saturdays for priests, living and deceased.
- In a prayer journal list the seminarians and priests that you pray for by name and keep lifting them up to the Lord in prayer as often as possible.
- Obtain from your diocesan directory (often available online) the names of the seminarians and/or priests in your diocese and pray for one or more by name.
For additional prayers and more information about private Eucharistic adoration, see:
- The Priesthood, Eucharistic Adoration and Spiritual Motherhood sections under the "Learn More" heading of this website.
- The Congregation for the Clergy’s 2012 booklet Eucharistic Adoration for the Sanctification of Priests and Spiritual Maternity
- Appendix 1 of Praying for Priests: A Mission for the New Evangelization by Kathleen Beckman, L.H.S..
May the Holy Spirit and Mary guide you in your discernment regarding how best to personally pray for priests and vocations!