“So, prayer is a kind of musical staff, where we inscribe the melody of our lives. It is not in contrast with daily work, it does not contradict the many small obligations and appointments; if anything, it is the place where every action finds its meaning, its reason and its peace. In prayer.” —Pope Francis
Most of us would wholeheartedly acknowledge the importance of prayer, but sometimes in our haste, we can forget to do it! These four prayers for catechists and teachers are a reminder and an encouragement to start your class off with prayer.
Prayer for Catechists #1: Saint Augustine’s Version of a Familiar Classic
Many teachers and parents turn to the Holy Spirit to start their classes with the familiar prayer, “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful and kindle in them the fire of thy love.” Yet, St. Augustine has a similar prayer to the Holy Spirit that might appeal to some as well:
"O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams." —St. Augustine
Prayer for Catechists #2: Open our Eyes, Mind, and Heart
The following prayer may be more appropriate for praying with younger students, but depending on their temperaments, it might appeal to teenagers as well because of its simplicity. Although the source of this prayer is unknown, it asks God to open our eyes, mind, and heart:
“Lord, Creator of the Universe, open my eyes to see what is beautiful, my mind to know what is true, and my heart to love what is good, all through the grace of Your Son, Jesus. Amen."
Prayer for Catechists #3: St. Padre Pio’s Prayer to His Guardian Angel
Though not originally composed as a prayer for catechists, Padre Pio’s daily prayer to his guardian angel is another great way to start the day or for study:
“Angel of God, my guardian, to whom the goodness of the Heavenly Father entrusts me. Enlighten, protect and guide me now and forever. Amen.”
Prayer for Catechists #4: Teach Me All that is Necessary
Recently, I was blessed to hold in my hands a well-worn, leather-bound catechism—with text in Irish and English—published in 1742: "The Catechism Or Christian Doctrine By Way of Question and Answer." It belonged to my great uncle, Fr. Tim Harris, who, in the 1920s, traveled from parish to parish testing the catechetical instruction of the children.
The following instructions leaped off the opening pages. Certainly, they can be added to a catechist’s arsenal of prayers—ever ancient, ever new! The prayer is presented in a question-and-answer format:
Q: What Prayer do you say [when studying the Catechism]?
A: “O, Lord, through thy great mercy, teach me all that is necessary for knowing Thee, for loving Thee, and for doing Thy holy will.”
It is worthwhile to record the question and answer that follows as it advises us how to end our study:
Q: What is fit to be done after the Catechism is over?
A: It is proper to give thanks to God, and to beg the Grace to retain what we heard, and to turn it to our Good. (2 Cor 6:1)
May all of your good words, works, and prayers bear fruit in your life and the lives of your students!
"It is, in fact, in Jesus that man becomes able to approach God in the depth and intimacy of the relationship of fatherhood and sonship. Together with the first disciples, let us now turn with humble trust to the Teacher and ask him: 'Lord, teach us to pray' (Lk 11:1)." Pope Benedict XVI, Catechesis on Christian Prayer