10 Really Short Prayers to Say During the Day

In his epistle to the Catholics in Thessalonica, St. Paul encouraged them to be in a constant state of prayer. He wrote, ‘Always rejoice. Pray without ceasing…’ Over the melliena since he wrote thats he Church has developed many short prayers that can be said throughout the day.

Grace, colored photograph, Eric Enstrom, 1918. Wikipedia.

Listers, in his epistle to the Catholics in Thessalonica, St. Paul encouraged them to be in a constant state of prayer. He wrote, “Always rejoice. Pray without ceasing. In all things give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you all. Extinguish not the spirit.”1 In her attempt to follow this mandate, Holy Mother Church has over the centuries developed thousands of prayers and devotions for the Faithful to use. Along with the two public prayers of the Church – the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass & the Liturgy of the Hours – there are plenty of incredible short invocations that a Catholic can whisper under his or her breath throughout the day. Whether its right before you walk in to give a presentation and you whisper Come Holy Spirit, or right after that car narrowly misses you on the highway and with a sigh of relief you say Domine non sum dignus. The opportunity to pray throughout the day is ever-present, but often times we are not sure what to pray. The following list is a primer of the many short prayers Catholics can say throughout the day for a variety of occasions.2


1. Come Holy Spirit

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Under the heading of Come Holy Spirit, the Catechism of the Catholic Church comments on this short invocation:

“No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.” Every time we begin to pray to Jesus it is the Holy Spirit who draws us on the way of prayer by his prevenient grace. Since he teaches us to pray by recalling Christ, how could we not pray to the Spirit too? That is why the Church invites us to call upon the Holy Spirit every day, especially at the beginning and the end of every important action.

If the Spirit should not be worshiped, how can he divinize me through Baptism? If he should be worshiped, should he not be the object of adoration?

The traditional form of petition to the Holy Spirit is to invoke the Father through Christ our Lord to give us the Consoler Spirit.23 Jesus insists on this petition to be made in his name at the very moment when he promises the gift of the Spirit of Truth.24 But the simplest and most direct prayer is also traditional, “Come, Holy Spirit,” and every liturgical tradition has developed it in antiphons and hymns.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love.

Heavenly King, Consoler Spirit, Spirit of Truth, present everywhere and filling all things, treasure of all good and source of all life, come dwell in us, cleanse and save us, you who are All Good.

The Holy Spirit, whose anointing permeates our whole being, is the interior Master of Christian prayer. He is the artisan of the living tradition of prayer. To be sure, there are as many paths of prayer as there are persons who pray, but it is the same Spirit acting in all and with all. It is in the communion of the Holy Spirit that Christian prayer is prayer in the Church.

Though Come Holy Spirit is woven throughout many Catholic prayers, one of the more popular uses is in the following invocation:

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.

V. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created.

R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray. O God, Who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise, and ever to rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.3


2. Thy will be done.

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The short prayer thy will be done invokes the prayer our Savior taught us – the Lord’s Prayer. Though saying the invocation softly under your breadth certainly calls to mind the entirely of the Lord’s Prayer, the specific line reads in full – thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.4


3. My God and my all.

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Deus meus et omnia! The short invocation my God and my all has a long history in the Church and currently serves as a motto within the Franciscan Order. The origin of the phrase from a Franciscan perspective comes from a story about St. Francis staying up all night in prayer. The good saint, “lifting up his eyes and hands to heaven, and saying, with great devotion and fervor: ‘My God, my God’. And so saying and weeping continually, he abode even until morning, always repeating: ‘My God, my God,’ and nothing else.”5


4. Domine non sum dignus.

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The Domine non sum dignus prayer – Lord, I am not worthy – is a longstanding acknowledgement of one’s unworthiness to receive the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. While that is certainly its most proper context, it can be used during the week as we ask for grace or experience some unexpected mercy.


5. O Heart of Jesus, all for Thee.

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This short petition to the Heart of Jesus certainly shares similar characteristics to the prayers uttered in the Litany to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. While this specific line is not mentioned, any of the lines within the litany could also serve as short invocations. For example:

Heart of Jesus, burning furnace of charity, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, abode of justice and love, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts, have mercy on us.

Many find the imagery surrounding the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus to be stunning and certainly something on which it is worthy to mediate. These short invocations – though part of a larger devotion – can be an excellent way to incorporate the Sacred Heart into your day. Praying Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us is another excellent short invocation.


6. O God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

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The short prayer is taken directly from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke. The passage in pertinent part reads:

The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican. I fast twice in a week: I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven; but struck his breast, saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner.6

The phrase is also incorporated into the Jesus PrayerLord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner. While worthy of an entire independent conversation, the importance of the Jesus Prayer in Eastern Christianity is analogous to the prominence of the Hail Mary in the West. In Latin, this prayer reads – Domine Iesu Christe, Filius Dei, miserere me peccatorem.


7. Sit nomen Dómini benedíctum!

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Blessed be the Name of the Lord! According to Fisheaters, “this prayer is a reparation for blasphemy. If one hears someone take the Name of the Lord in vain, it is good to say this prayer. The response to this prayer is “ex hoc nunc, et usque in sæculum!” (“from this time forth for evermore!”) or “per ómnia saecula saeculórum” (“unto ages of ages”).”7


8. All you holy men and women of God, pray for us.

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Along with this invocation to all of the saints, any petition to any saint serves as an excellent short prayer. Which saint should you have pray for you? Each saint has a patronage over some area in life. St. Thomas Aquinas is the patron of academics and often prayed to by students and professors alike. St. Ambrose is a patron of students but also of bee keepers and domestic animals. St. Catherina of Siena is the patron against fire, miscarriages, and sexual temptation. Do not make the mistake the protestants do. Saints are not demigods over certain aspects of Creation. Imagine you struggle with alcoholism and you have a friend who did as well but has now been sober for over twenty years. Would you not go to him for prayer? His experience and virtue in this area seasons his prayers to God. He is intimately aware of the struggles you face. So too with the patronages of the saints. Their purview is predicated according to their experiences they had in life. A student does not pray to St. Thomas Aquinas, because the Angelic Doctor is the demigod of academics. He prays to him because his experience and virtue in academics lends him an excellent soul to join the student in prayer before God. Invoking the saints and particularly your personal patron saint throughout the day is an excellent practice.


9. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

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Do not overlook this prayer. Like all commonly used prayers, it is in danger of becoming hackneyed. Invoking the Most Holy Trinity and making the sign of the cross is an excellent way to for a Catholic to bless themselves as they go about their day.


10. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

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A wonderful prayer from the Roman Rituale included in both litanies and in prayers used while saying the Holy Rosary.



More on Prayer

  1. I Thess. 5:16-19, DR. []
  2. Timing of Prayers: The prayers are listed in order from shortest to longest, and the timing is certainly not scientific – unless you count sitting at a coffee shop with an iPhone timer scientific. []
  3. Latin: Veni, Sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium: et tui amoris in eis ignem accende. V. Emitte Spiritum tuum, et creabuntur. R. Et renovabis faciem terrae. Oremus. Deus, qui corda fidelium Sancti Spiritus illustratione docuisti: da nobis in eodem Spiritu recta sapere; et de eius semper consolatione gaudere. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen. []
  4. Catechism of the Catholic Church (“CCC”) on the Lord’s Prayer. []
  5. Source: The Story of Deus meus et Omnia in the Franciscan Tradition. []
  6. Luke 18:11-13, DR. []
  7. Fisheaters – A handful of the prayers in this list were adopted from the longer list of short invocations listed on the traditional Catholic site Fisheaters. []
  • Sally Shelton

    One of my personal favorites is: “All for Jesus!” I picked it up from Sister Luke, the main character in The Nun’s Story, a novel I read as a teenager, long before I ever thought about becoming Catholic. I loved the book because of Sister Luke’s running interior dialogue with the Lord. She was a nurse, and whenever she had to do a particularly distasteful task she would say, “All for Jesus.” To this day when I write a note or an email to a colleague, I’ll often end it with an “All for Jesus!” It’s to let the person know that I take joy in what I do because it’s “All for Jesus.” In retrospect, I think it became so ingrained in my psyche because it was part of a little chorus my mother would sing over and over, “All for Jesus, all for Jesus, all my days and all my hours. All for Jesus, all for Jesus, all my days and all my hours.”

  • Roxanne

    These are all constantly used in the Orthodox church. In fact, most of them are in the Divine Liturgy itself. :)

    1. “O Heavenly King…” is said by the priest at the beginning of the liturgy. There is no service where the Holy Spirit is not invoked at the beginning. This prayer is usually part of the “Trisagion Prayers” which the Orthodox use as the beginning of most services and the hours. Some churches sing this as a whole instead of it being said by the priest alone.

    2. Well, that’s self explanatory.

    3. Haven’t heard a prayer quite like this in the Orthodox Church, but there are so many it’s hard to keep track!

    4. This is a very common phrase for the Orthodox. It is heard constantly in the Divine Liturgy, mostly in the second half of liturgy, the Liturgy of the Faithful, as well as in the many preparatory prayers and cannon of preparation said privately before taking the Eucharist and the thanksgiving prayers said afterward.

    5. While the Orthodox do not hold to the Catholic dogma of the “Sacred Heart” we do have what we call “akathists”. One akathist, I believe it’s titled “The Akathist To Our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ”, there are many litanies similar to these in idea; calling on Christ by His many names and titles and continually asking for his mercy. I must say that the Orthodox are the Kings of “Lord have mercy”! We say it again and again and again in all of our services. “Again and again in peace let us pray to the Lord” “Lord have mercy!”

    6. The Jesus Prayer is very instrumental in the Orthodox Church indeed, as well as in Eastern Catholic practice. Between this and the “Trisagion Prayers” they are used in the same frequency as a Western Catholic would say the Rosary and/or Hail Marys. The “Hail Mary” is typically reserved as a hymn to the Theotokos every liturgy and as a Festal Hymn on certain feasts of the Theotokos, what we would call a “Troparion” or “Kontakion: Primary and Secondary Festal Verses.

    7.”Blessed be the name of the Lord, henceforth and forevermore” is sung thrice at the end of every Divine Liturgy in the Orthodox Church. It acts somewhat like a “benediction” and calling to attention the “liturgy after the liturgy” or taking the gospel out with you to the world after liturgy (to my knowledge this is part of its purpose, though I’m not a liturgical expert).

    8. Constantly at the end of services “through the prayer of sts. ___” or “through the prayers of our holy fathers” is said. As we venerate icons, we say this “saint __ pray for me a sinner” or “holy ___, pray for me”. This is a very well used intercessory prayer used in the Orthodox Churches. It is a very common fabric making up a good portion of our prayer life, devotion, and our way of life in general.

    9. This is pretty self explanatory. Obviously quite common in both Eastern and Western traditions. In Orthodoxy, this begins and ends most prayers, and naturally so! :)

    10. While we do not have this specific prayer, we have many similar. We ask constantly for the Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary, the Mother of Our God, Queen of Heaven and First of all Christians, to intercede with a mother’s boldness before her Son and God.

    I hope you enjoyed my comment. I enjoyed reading this post! :) Cheers!

    Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.

  • Paul

    “Kyrie eleison” – God have mercy