As a graduate student, I often struggle with prayer. It seems like I rush from class to class, and study session to study session, and the only prayer that passes my lips seems to be the one I whisper in desperation before I go to sleep:
"Lord, forgive me for not giving you more of my time today. Help me to find time tomorrow!"
Although I have always loved to whisper a Hail Mary before exams, I realize that a little variety in my prayer life is a good thing. I recently decided to print off some prayers, and I have posted them in places around my apartment; next to my bed, on my fridge, and on the coffee table next to my couch. Instead of waiting until I am exhausted and barely eeking out a prayer before I fall asleep, I try to say these prayers as soon as I see them, right then and there. I purposefully found shorter ones that I could say quickly.
I am surprised at the difference since I have made these prayers accessible. I feel more connected to God in the midst of my studies, and the prayers are like a springboard to more conversation with Him about whatever is on my mind.
Exams are just around the corner, and so I find myself both busier and in need of prayers!
Regardless of what is making your life busy right now, if you struggle with finding time for prayer, or with knowing what to say to God, try posting a few prayers around your home (or in your car) and see if it helps to bring you closer to God throughout your day. The following are the ones I chose. Share your favorites!
Prayer for Students by St. Thomas Aquinas
Come, Holy Spirit, Divine Creator, true source of light and fountain of wisdom! Pour forth your brilliance upon my dense intellect, dissipate the darkness which covers me, that of sin and of ignorance. Grant me a penetrating mind to understand, a retentive memory, method and ease in learning, the lucidity to comprehend, and abundant grace in expressing myself. Guide the beginning of my work, direct its progress, and bring it to successful completion. This I ask through Jesus Christ, true God and true man, living and reigning with You and the Father, forever and ever. Amen.
Prayer For Peace to Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati
Blessed Pier Giorgio, despite your daily struggles, you found peace by fostering your own well being in work, study, and play; in prayer alone and with others; in silence and in song, in laughter and in serious conversation with friends. Guide me to that inner peace which will enable me to share peace with others. Blessed Pier Giorgio, I ask for your intercession in obtaining from God, Who is our peace, all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare. I confidently turn to you for help in my present need: (mention your request here).
Prayer to St. Joseph of Cupertino
(A poor student, he once invoked God to bring to mind the questions that would be asked on his exam. Upon taking the exam, only the questions that he knew the answers to were asked.)
O St. Joseph of Cupertino, who by your prayer obtained from God to be asked at your examination, the only preposition you knew. Grant that I may like you succeed in the (here mention the name of Examination ) examination.
In return I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked.
O St. Joseph of Cupertino pray for me
O Holy Ghost enlighten me
Our Lady of Good Studies pray for me
Sacred Head of Jesus, Seat of divine wisdom, enlighten me.
An Anonymous Prayer for Studies
Father of Light and Wisdom,
thank you for giving me
a mind that can know
and a heart that can love.
Help me to keep learning every day of my life--
no matter what the subject may be.
Let me be convinced that all knowledge leads to you
and let me know how to find you and love you
in all the things you have made.
Encourage me when the studies are difficult
and when I am tempted to give up
Enlighten me when my brain is slow
and help me to grasp the truth held out to me.
Grant me the grace to put my knowledge to use
in building the kingdom of God on earth
so that I may enter the kingdom of God in heaven.