Prayers for Schools

The prayers on this page have been found through experience to work well with children and young people.

1 Prayer for Generosity
Jacques Sevin SJ (1887-1951)
Lord, teach me to be generous:
to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost;
to fight and not to heed the wounds;
to toil and not to seek to rest;
to labour and to ask for no reward
save that of knowing I do your will.

2 Offering the Day
Lord, we come to you before we begin our day's work:
we ask you to bless this day.
May we find whatever is good in the tasks we are set
and the time that we share.
Help us when we find some things too hard to understand;
Teach us to be fair and generous with one another;
So may we thank you for a day well spent. Amen.

3 Before the Day’s Work
George Dawson (1821-76)
Lord, as we go to our work this day,
help us to take pleasure therein.
Show us clearly what our duty is,
help us to be faithful in doing it.
May all we do be well done, fit for thine eye to see.
Give us enthusiasm to attempt, patience to perform.
When we cannot love our work,
may we think of it as thy task,
and make what is unlovely beautiful through loving service,
for thy name’s sake. Amen

4 Beginning the Day
Heavenly Father,
I offer you this day:
All that I think and do and say,
uniting it with what was done by Jesus Christ, your only Son. Amen.

5 Prayer for Guidance
Charles Kingsley (1819-75)
Lord, guide me, teach me, strengthen me,
‘till I become such a person as thou would have me be;
pure and gentle,
truthful and high-minded,
brave and able,
courteous and generous,
dutiful and useful. Amen.

6 Morning Offering
Lord Jesus, as I start this day.
I gaze at your face, your pierced side and your wounded heart showing God’s love for us.
Take, Lord, and receive my heart:
The words of faith that I speak,
the works of justice I would do,
my joys and sufferings.
May these be united with your own offering
for the life of the whole world. Amen

7 An Evening Prayer
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-90)
May he support us all the day long,
'till the shades lengthen
and the evening comes
and the busy world is hushed
and the fever of life is over
and our work is done.
Then in his mercy may he give us a safe lodging
and a holy rest and peace at the last. Amen.

8 Live Simply
Compassionate and loving God,
you created a beautiful world for us to share:
Give us the desire to live simply,
so that our lives show your generosity.
You made us responsible for the earth:
guide us so that those who come after us may enjoy your creation. Amen.

9 Solidarity Prayer
God of peace and justice,
help us to change,
so that we work for a world that mirrors your wisdom.
Give us the desire to act in solidarity,
so that the pillars of injustice crumble
and those now crushed are set free. Amen.

10 Making a Difference
Grant, gentle Father,
that your Spirit may give us the will and the courage
to act to make a difference,
in order to make real your kingdom among us,
so that we may we all live together
in peace, truth, justice and love,
sharing the resources of the earth. Amen.

11 Make Poverty History
Loving God,
look with mercy upon the human race you have created.
May our hearts see your kingdom
in which the destructive poverty of our world is destroyed
and so that we will make poverty history. Amen.

12 Peace and Justice
lead us from death to life,
from falsehood to truth.
Lead us from despair to hope,
from fear to trust.
Let peace fill our hearts, our world and our universe.
Let us dream together, pray together and work together,
to build one world of peace and justice for all. Amen.

13 To Renew the World
Merciful God,
hear our prayer for a world that will respect the God-given rights of all.
We dedicate ourselves to work for the rights of each human person,
especially for those who find life a burden
and who know the suffering of hatred, poverty and war
.Help us to share the fire of your peace with all people in all places at all times. Amen

14 Prayer for Wisdom
In everything we do, O Lord, give us a desire to seek out the truth;
give us a willingness to heed the advice of others;
give us wisdom in reaching decisions;
give us faith to believe in our conclusions;
give us courage to put our ideas to the test;
and, if we prove ourselves wrong, give us the grace to admit it. Amen.

15 Prayer of Petition
from the Roman Missal (1973)
All powerful and ever-living God,
in your abundant love you give us more than we deserve
and more than we ask for;
grant us your mercy in great measure;
forgive us when we have gone against our conscience
and give us what we dare not even pray for.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

15 Dedication of Studies
Adrian Porter SJ
Father, you are creator of the universe
and author of all that surrounds our lives.
Send us your Spirit of wisdom as we study.
Let our efforts lead us to a deeper knowledge of you, of your people and of your world.
May we find you, our Creator and Lord, our God and Saviour, in all things, Father, Son and Spirit. Amen.

16 Prayer before Examinations
Adrian Porter SJ
Lord, as I prepare for this examination,
let your strength and your wisdom be present to me.
May I revise my work thoroughly.
May I understand what it is I have to know.
May my memory be reliable and orderly.
May I be calm and focused on the task ahead.
May I know and feel the love and support of my family and friends.
And may you, the author and creator of all things, enlighten me.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

17 The Lord's Friendship
Lord Jesus,
you invited ordinary people like me to see where you lived.
You welcomed them and asked them to work and rejoice with you.
You are the greatest person who ever lived
and I hardly believe you want me for your friend.
Draw me more and more into your friendship
And lead me along your way which brings deep and lasting happiness. Amen  

18 Prayer of Saint Richard of Chichester
St Richard of Chichester (1197-1253)
Thanks be to you, our Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits which you have given us,
for all the pains and insults
which you have borne for us.
Most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother,
may we know you more clearly,
love you more dearly,
and follow you more nearly,
day by day. Amen.

19 Prayer for Serenity
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.

20 Prayer of Thanksgiving
Adrian Porter SJ
We thank you, God our Father,
for the shelter and comfort of our homes;
for the love and companionship of our family and friends;
for our health, and our many gifts and abilities;
and for all the blessings which we take for granted.
Hear our prayer for all who are less fortunate than we are
and bless those who work to help them.
For Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.  

21 Prayer of Intercession
William Barclay (1907-78)
O God our Father,
help us all through this day so to live that we may bring help to others,
credit to ourselves and to the name we bear,
and joy to those that love us, and to thee.
Help us to be cheerful when things go wrong;
persevering when things are difficult;
serene when things are irritating.
Enable us to be helpful to those in difficulties;
kind to those in need;
sympathetic to those whose hearts are sore and sad.
Grant that nothing may make us lose our tempers;
nothing may take away our joy;
nothing may ruffle our peace;
nothing may make us bitter towards anyone.
This we ask for thy love’s sake. Amen.

22 Soul of Christ
A 14th Century prayer used by St Ignatius
Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from Christ’s side, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within your wounds hide me.
Let me not be separated from you.
From the enemy defend me,
At my death call me
And bid me, come to you
That with your saints I may praise you
For ever and ever. Amen.

23 Evening Prayer
from the Liturgy of the Hours
Stay with us, Lord Jesus,
be our companion on our way.
In your mercy inflame our hearts and raise our hope,
so that, in union with our brothers and sisters,
we may recognize you in the scriptures and in the breaking of bread,
who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

24 Prayer for the Sick
Adrian Porter SJ
Father, as Jesus cured the sick and raised Lazarus from the dead,
give comfort to those in our community who are sick.
We pray that your Spirit may heal their bodies
and soothe their minds
leading them to find peace and hope in your grace.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

25 Prayer for the Dead
adapted from the Funeral Liturgy
Lord, we entrust those who have died to your mercy:
welcome them into your presence.
You loved them greatly in this life,
now give them happiness and peace for ever.
Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace. Amen.

26 Prayer of Blessing
Sarum Breviary 13thC
May the eternal God bless us and keep us,
guard our bodies,
save our souls,
direct our thoughts,
and bring us safe to the heavenly country, our eternal home,
where Father, Son and Holy Spirit ever reign, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

27 Prayer of St Thomas More
St Thomas More (1478-1535)
O Lord,
give us a mind that is humble, quiet, peaceable,
patient and charitable,
and a taste of your Holy Spirit
in all our thoughts, words and deeds.
O Lord,
give us a lively faith, a firm hope, a fervent charity,
a love of you.
Take from us all lukewarmness in meditation,
and all dullness in prayer.
Give us fervour and delight in thinking of you,
your grace, and your tender compassion toward us.
Give us, good Lord,
the grace to work for
the things we pray for.

28 Campion Prayer
Adrian Porter SJ
throughout the ages you inspire heroic men and women
to preach your gospel
and proclaim the truth of your love.
We pray that the example of St Edmund Campion
may encourage us to stand up for what it right;
to hold to what is true;
and to love even those who persecute us,
for Christ's sake. Amen.

29 Prayer for Christmas, Epiphany or Holy Name of Jesus
from the Orthodox Liturgy
What shall we present to you, O Christ,
for your coming to earth for us?
Each of your creatures brings you a thank-offering:
the angels - singing;
the heavens - a star;
the wise men - treasures;
the shepherds - devotion;
the earth - a cave;
the desert - a manger:
but we offer you the virgin-mother.
O eternal God, have mercy upon us.

30 Day for Life Prayer
Bishops' Conference of England and Wales
I thank you Lord for the precious gift of my body.
Whatever its strengths or limitations;
whatever it brings me in terms of joy or suffering,
help me always to see it as your gift.
As I run the race of life, help me to have a healthy attitude to my body
and a reverence for its part in my eternal future.
Help me to give glory to you by treating my body and the body of others,
with care and respect.
As I marvel at the wonder of your creation,
may the whole human family work together to protect creation
and especially the precious gift of human life, from conception to natural death.
Enable us by your grace to promote the well-being and dignity of every person,
serving you and the gospel of life in a spirit of generosity, faith and love,
through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

31 Holy Light
from the Liturgy of the Hours (Week 3 Wednesday Morning Prayer)
Lord God,
in your wisdom you created us;
by your providence you rule us;
penetrate our inmost being with your holy light,
so that our way of life may always be one of faithful service to you.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

32 Be With Us Today
St Thomas More (1478-1535)
Father in heaven,
you have given us a mind to know you,
a will to serve you,
and a heart to love you.
Be with us today in all that we do,
so that your light may shine out in our lives.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

33 Prayer for Forgiveness
Bishop David Konstant (b.1930)
Lord God,
our loving Father,
you know all my sins and failures,
my weaknesses and temptations.
I come to you with deep sorrow in my heart
for the wrong I have done
and for the good I have failed to do.
Forgive me,
accept me,
stengthen me,
now and always.

34 Prayer of Dedication
Adrian Porter SJ
This prayer was written for St Aloysius College Glasgow and is said together by pupils and staff at weekly assembly standing before the altar of the church..

we gather in your presence
in prayer and praise.
We thank you for our health and happiness,
for forgiveness and healing,
for our talents,
and for our friends.
We thank you for the wonderful world you have given us
to explore and to use to your greater glory.
We thank you for the gift of Jesus Christ, your Son,
who died that we might have life and live it to the full.
Send your Spirit to accompany us on our daily journey.
Give us wisdom that we may find you in all things.
Give us understanding that we may learn our lessons well.
Give us compassion that we may show your face to those we meet.
Give us generosity that we may share the gifts you have given us.
Give us faith that we may have confidence in ourselves.
Above all give us love that we may bring joy into the lives of those around us.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

35 The Dedication of Studies
John Twist SJ
The dedication of studies traditionally takes place at the beginning of the school year or on a feast of Our Lady. In Jesuit schools, Our Lady is invoked in the dedication of studies as she is at the end of this prayer. This prayer was written to reflect the Jesuit Pupil Profile and its pairs of virtues and could be used with the visual image of the profile.
Jesuit Pupil Profile
Jesuit Pupil Profile image

God, our almighty Father,
to you we dedicate our studies
and the work that we do this year.
Open our minds and our hearts
so that together we may be grateful for our gifts and the gifts of others;
generous to become men and women for others;
attentive and discerning in the events of daily life;
compassionate with the needy;
loving towards others;
faith-filled in our beliefs, with hope in the future;
eloquent and truthful in our speech;
learning to find God in all things;
curious to know;
engaged with the world;
committed to change for the better.
May we use the resources of the earth prudently
and set a prophetic example by our conduct,
so that we may employ our knowledge to benefit others
and create one family of all nations
to the greater glory of God.
May Mary, the mother of your son,
and our mother too,
assist us in all that we do
and make us more like her son,
our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

36 A Prayer for Teachers
Adrian Porter SJ
Christ the Teacher Icon

you have called me to teach
and you give me your son, Jesus the Teacher, as my guide.
You send me to be your face and word in school today,
to bring your message of faith, hope and love.

With my pupils may I be always patient and understanding
and never resentful or despairing.

With my colleagues may I be always generous and supportive
and never dismissive or hurtful.

With those entrusted to lead the school may I be always considerate and constructive
and never obstructive or difficult.

With myself may I be always grateful for daily blessings
and never take things for granted.

With everyone I encounter today may I be just in my actions
and forgiving with my words.

May I praise, not criticise; encourage, not deter;
help, not hinder; accompany, not direct;
and bring light and joy to those I meet. .

May my lessons be truthful and inspiring
as they reveal the wonderful traces of your presence in creation
and in the best of human kind.

May my classroom be a place of peace and respect,
discovery and learning,
where each person is given space and encouragement to flourish,
growing to be the person you call them to be.

Give me energy, and faith and commitment,
especially when I am tired or despondent,
let down, or wondering if my efforts are worthwhile.

Give me the wisdom and strength of your Spirit,
today and each day,
that I may help the souls committed to my care
for the common good
and for your greater glory. Amen.

36 A Short Prayer for Staff Meetings
Clare McCullough (St Mary's Hall, Stonyhurst)
let us walk with you today,
see your faces in others,
feel your presence in all things.
Help us to give as much as we can
for your greater glory.

37 Teach Me Your Way
Pedro Arrupe SJ (1907-91)

Teach me your way of looking at people:
as you glanced at Peter after his denial;
as you penetrated the heart of the rich young man
and the hearts of your disciples.

I would like to meet you as you really are,
since your image changes those
with whom you come into contact.

Remember John the Baptist’s first meeting with you?
And the Centurion’s feeling of unworthiness?
And the amazement of all those who saw miracles
and other wonders?

How you impressed your disciple?,
The rabble in the Garden of Olives?
Pilate and his wife
and the Centurion at the foot of the cross?

I would like to hear and be impressed
by your manner of speaking,
listening, for example, to your discourse
in the synagogue in Capernaum
or the sermon on the mount where your audience
felt you “taught as one who has authority.”

38 Let your God love you
Edwina Gately (b.1943)
Be silent.
Be still.
before your God.
Say nothing.
Ask nothing.
Be silent.
Be still.
Let your God look upon you.
That is all.
God knows.
God understands.
God loves you with an enormous love
and only wants to look upon you
with that generous love.
Be still.
Let your God love you.

39 A Magnificat
Translated from the German by Olga Warnke IBVM
My soul glorifies the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour!
For he has blessed me lavishly
and makes me ready to respond.
He shatters my little world
and lets me be poor before him.
He takes from me all my plans
and gives me more than I can hope for or ask.
He gives me opportunities and the ability to becomefree
and to burst through my boundaries.
He gives the strength to be doing, to build on him alone,
for he shows himself as the ever greater One in my life.
He has made known to me this!
It is in my being servant that it becomes possible.
For God's kingdom to break through
here and now.

40 Prayer for Discernment
Pedro Arrupe SJ
Grant me, O Lord, to see eveything now with new eyes;
to discern and test the spirits that help me read the signs of the times;
to relish the things that are yours and commuicate them to others.
Give me the clarity of understanding that you gave Ignatius.

41 A Prayer before Mass
Adrian Porter SJ
Lord, let me be still and reverent as I come into your presence.
Let my heart be open to your Spirit.
Let my mind be attentive to the readings from scripture.
Let me offer myself with the gifts of bread and wine.
Let me give you greater glory in prayer and praise.

42 Prayer of Abandonment
Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916)
I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you;
I am ready for all, accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.

43 Prayer of Ministry
St Pierre Favre SJ (1506-46)
With great devotion
and new depth of feeling,
I hope and beg, O God,
that it finally be given to me to be the servant
and minister of Christ the consoler,
the minister of Christ the redeemer,
the minister of Christ the healer,
the liberator,
the enricher,
the strengthener.
To be able, through you, to help many;
to console, liberate and give them courage;
to bring them light not only for their spirit
but also for their bodies;
and bring, as well, other helps to the soul and body
of each and every one of my neighbours.
I ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

44 Jesuit Litany
Louis McCabe SJ and Philip Steele SJ

Ignatius Loyola, our holy founder, man of great desires and perfect humility, pray for us. 
Francis Xavier, courageous warrior ever seeking new souls for Christ, pray for us.
Peter Faber, first companion of Ignatius and cherished friend of all, pray for us.
Stanislaus Kostka, of ready heart and single mind, pray for us.
Francis Borgia, nobleman of poverty, model of indifference, pray for us.
Edmund Campion, fearless orator and source of courage to the persecuted, pray for us.
Aloysius Gonzaga, consolation and care for the sick and the dying, pray for us.
Robert Southwell, prisoner-poet of comfort and strength, pray for us.
Peter Canisius, scholar, builder, and teacher of little children, pray for us.
Nicholas Owen, clever carpenter, companion loyal to the death, pray for us.
Alphonsus Rodriquez, mystical friend, model of hospitality, pray for us.
Robert Bellarmine, rich of mind yet poor of spirit, pray for us.
John Berchmans, single-hearted student, model of simplicity, pray for us.
John Francis Regis, compassionate confessor, rekindler of burnt-out faith, pray for us.
Isaac Jogues, trusting missionary, obedient unto death, pray for us.
John de Brebeuf, lover of the cross and the name of Jesus, pray for us.
Peter Claver, tireless lover of the poor and the powerless, pray for us.
Claude La Colombière, faithful servant and perfect friend of the loving heart of Christ, pray for us.
Gerard Manley Hopkins, catcher of fire and crafter of words, pray for us.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, mystical lover of all that is and all that is to be, pray for us.
Rutilio Grande, devoted pastor of the poor and the oppressed, pray for us.
Karl Rahner, professor of prayer and loyal servant of the church, pray for us.
Ignacio Ellacuria and companions, fearless and faithful proclaimers of the Good News in the face of persecution, pray for us.
Pedro Arrupe, grace-filled leader of renewal and rededication, pray for us.

Almighty and ever-watchful God,
Lord of the heavens above and the earth below,
your divine goodness created us in love from every region.
Your divine wisdom placed us in the chaos and darkness as:

poets and singers
engineers and schoolmasters
scholars and pastors
tailors and gardeners
builders and administrators
artists and lovers.

Your divine providence called us into the company of your son Jesus. Therefore, we devote all our energies to your divine majesty
to bring order into our world, to make it fertile, and to bless it.
We pledge you the hours of our lives
and the use of our deaths
through our Mother,the Lady Mary,
and through our King and good brother, Jesus.

45 Easter Candle Prayer
Adrian Porter SJ

God our Father,
as we light this Easter candle,
we give thanks for your Son, Jesus,
whom you raised from the dead.
May his light shine in our minds and hearts.
And may we share in his life.
Through Christ our Lord.

46 Advent Prayers
Adrian Porter SJ
Resources for Advent

Prayer for the Blessing of the Advent Wreath

as each year comes round anew,
we look forward
to the coming of your Son
and recall his first coming
in the stable at Bethlehem.
We ask your blessing
on this advent wreath +
which reminds us of your gift
of Christ our light.
Bless each of us and make us
more Christ-like this Christmas.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for the Lighting of the Advent Candles

as we prepare to celebrate
the birth of your son,
Jesus Christ,
this Christmas,
we pray that we will welcome him into our hearts.
As the light of our advent wreath
grows stronger,
week by week,
make us strong in following him
in the love and the peace
we show to others.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

47 Christmas Prayers
Adrian Porter SJ
Resources for Christmas

These prayers were written for a school carol service to follow each of the Christmas readings but could be used in other settings also.

Isaiah 9:1-9 (The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light)

through all the ages
you have called your people from darkness into light,
making their gladness greater
and their joy increase.
As we celebrate a child born for us,
a son given to us,
make the light of Christ bright in our own hearts
that we may once more bring peace and reconciliation
to our families,
our communities,
and to our world.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Luke 1:26-38 (The Annunciation)

opening her heart to the power of your Holy Spirit,
the virgin Mary was covered with your shadow
and she conceived a child most holy,
and he was called Son of God.
Open our hearts this Christmas time
to the presence of your Spirit working in us
that we may rejoice in your favour,
and bring again the Christ-child into our world.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Luke 2:1-7 (The Birth of Christ)

Jesus, your Son, was of David’s royal house and line
yet there was no room for him at the inn
and he was laid in a manger
with the ox and ass as company.
In our celebrations this Christmas,
let us not forget the poor and the lonely,
the homeless and those fleeing poverty and persecution
and, in thought and deed, share our riches with them.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Luke 2:8-20 (The Shepherds)

you sent angels to the shepherds
as they watched their flocks by night,
bringing them news of great joy:
a Saviour born to us, who is Christ the Lord.
May we not be afraid to share with all whom we meet
the good news of your salvation,
peace and God’s favour for everyone who hears it
and ponders it in their heart.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Matthew 2:1-12 (The Wise Men)

the Wise Men saw the star as it rose
and it filled them with delight;
and they came to do the Christ-child homage
offering him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh
from their treasures.
May we follow your signs and wonders
in our everyday world,
as they reveal the presence of Christ to us
in those around us.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


shepherds and kings witnessed the birth of Jesus
at Bethlehem
and departed with good news for all people of good will.
With each passing year,
as we rejoice anew at the coming of Christ,
may we deepen our understanding
of the gift of your Son
who is your compassion and mercy,
your grace and salvation,
your repeated offer of hope
for the whole world.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

John 1:1-14 (And the Word was made flesh)

from all eternity
your Word is with you
and is you,
and all that is
came into being through your Word.
Yet, in the fullness of time,
this same word became flesh,
one like us,
and lived among us,
the glory of a father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.
May we, once again this Christmas,
come silently in wonder and awe
as your life and light,
is given to us:
Jesus the Lord.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

48 The Grail Prayer
The Grail

Lord Jesus,
I give you my hands to do your work.
I give you my feet to go your way.
I give you my eyes to see as you do.
I give you my tongue to speak your words.
I give you my mind that you may think in me.
I give you my spirit that you may pray in me.
Above all, I give you my heart
that you may love in me your Father
and all mankind.
I give you my whole self that you may grow in me,
so that it is you, Lord Jesus,
who live, and work, and pray in me.