It was during the time when my husband and I were rediscovering our faith when I came across this prayer in a Catholic newspaper. I remember us wanting to pray together (just us, without the kids) and trying to figure out what works best for us. What time in the day? What prayers? How long? Should we read the bible? Pray the Rosary? Novenas? What should we do? I wanted our prayer together to be consistent (everyday and always at the same part of the day) so it’s a solid routine.
After much trial and error we realized that right before bed, when the kids are asleep, is the one consistent time we are together and able to pray. We found that at that early stage in our prayer life we were not ready for a daily rosary/chaplet or praying several Our Fathers or Hail Mary’s since at that initial stage it felt like we were just reciting words and our hearts weren’t in it. We also felt a little weird using our own words since we weren’t used to praying like that before and we just weren’t sure of what to say. When we would try reading scripture, often times we weren’t sure what the message was and somehow it just didn’t feel like we actually prayed. (Maybe we picked passages from the old testament which was hard to apply to our life or we were just not so good at reflecting on what we read).
It was a long process of trying many different ways until we found the Universal Prayer by Pope Clement XI. We loved this prayer because it covered everything from an increase in faith and love, to more particular daily struggles such as temperance in food and drink, a well ordered life, diligence in our work, attentiveness at prayer and more.
We decided to not do any other prayers but commit to this prayer every night. We put our heart in it, sincerely meant every word from this prayer, and we stuck with it. It was exactly what we needed.
We grew in faith and perseverance. We looked forward to our prayer time. As our faith grew, we learned a lot more. Eventually, praying the rosary or chaplet, reading from the bible, praying novenas or using our own words for prayer had much more meaning and we were able to mix things up and incorporate them into our prayer time when we wanted.
The greatest fruit of this particular prayer was that it gave us a solid prayer habit which we are so thankful for! It was the perfect one to get us going and I thought it’s a great one to share in case anyone else is in need of such a “down to earth” prayer.
If you’re struggling to have consistency in prayer, and up for a challenge, try praying this everyday for 30 days and see what happens. :-) Maybe you have young people in your life who have a hard time getting into prayer. Maybe this is the prayer they need to help kickstart a great prayer habit.
Offer them this Universal Prayer challenge and make sure to pray for them as they take it on!
I hope you find this helpful!