An adaptable prayer service for your community
While the Holy Trinity is prominent in all the Sacraments of Initiation, we tend to associate the Holy Spirit most strongly with Confirmation. This prayer service is appropriate for those preparing for Confirmation or learning about the Holy Spirit, from high school-age to adults. It reminds those we guide in the faith that they have an advocate, someone to call on for help in our daily life.
When using this for Confirmation or the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, invite parents and sponsors as appropriate; their presence reminds those preparing that they are not alone.
This prayer service is built around the Prayer to the Holy Spirit, as attributed to St. Augustine.
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit,
That my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit,
That my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit,
That I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit,
To defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit,
That I always may be holy.
Set up the environment
■■Give a copy of St. Augustine’s Prayer to the Holy Spirit (above) to each person at the start of the event.
■■Use posters with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and St. Augustine’s prayer around the room or chapel; furnish a table or altar with a red or yellow tablecloth, Bible, and image of the Holy Spirit.
Optional: Create prayer cards to share after the service. Find a free printable at Catholic All Year: CATmag.us/2KNRrpE
LEADER: (leads the Sign of the Cross, then prays) Holy Spirit, you breathe life into us, bringing the gifts of wisdom, counsel, piety, fortitude, knowledge, understanding, and fear of the Lord. Stir up these gifts in us and help us to use these gifts to grow closer to God. Amen.
LEADER: This passage reminds us that God wants to give us what we need but we must ask. Asking for and receiving the Holy Spirit is part of being a disciple. Have the leader or a lector read Luke 11:9-13. Conclude the reading with: The Gospel of the Lord. ℟. Praise to you Lord, Jesus Christ. The leader then explains the silent reflection time up next
Ask one person to read the reflection aloud while the others listen for the one word or phrase that strikes them. Ask another person to read it aloud again and ask the group to listen again, this time for what they want to ask for help with from the Holy Spirit. Give some time for the group to sit quietly and write down specifically what they need help with from the Holy Spirit.
Depending on the group dynamics, you can ask people to share what they need from the Holy Spirit and why. This is not meant to be a public confession, so instructions or modeling from you would be helpful. For example: “I want the Holy Spirit to act in me so that I work harder on my schoolwork,” or “I want the Holy Spirit to help me lovingly defend my faith to those I know who think religion is foolish.”
Encourage using this prayer every day as a morning offering or at the end of the day as a review of where to ask for forgiveness, give thanks, or ask for help.
The leader then transitions the group into the group prayers of petition (see below) and a song, followed by a brief time for sharing based on discussion questions. (Note: Depending on time constraints, the song and/ or the discussion questions can be optional.)
Holy Spirit Litany
Led by the leader or lector:
RESPONSE: Fill us, Holy Spirit, that we may be holy.
We ask for the gifts of wisdom and knowledge. ℟.
We ask for the gifts of counsel and fortitude. ℟.
We ask for the gifts of understanding and piety. ℟.
We ask for the gift of fear of the Lord. ℟.
Increase in us the fruits of love, joy, and peace. ℟.
Increase in us the fruits of patience, kindness, and goodness. ℟.
Increase in us the fruits of gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. ℟.
Increase in us the fruits of chastity, generosity, and modesty. ℟.
That our thoughts and actions are pleasing to God. ℟.
That we love and defend the truth. ℟.
That we are strong. ℟.
We ask for your protection in all we do. ℟.
Let us pray St. Augustine’s prayer together. (See above.)
Select one song and invite brief discussions:
■■“Burning in My Soul” by Matt Maher CATmag.us/2G0J1cW
Discussion questions: What is burning in your soul? How can the Holy Spirit help with both your personal revival and that of the whole Church?
■■“Holy Spirit” by Francesca Battistelli CATmag.us/2LGAvTS
Discussion questions: How can you become more aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life? How does being “overcome” by God’s presence sound to you?
LEADER: Father, Jesus promised us you would send the Spirit to be with us, guide us, and teach us the truth. Thank you for the Holy Spirit and the many gifts he gives us. May those gifts bear fruit in us each day in all that we do and say.
Deanna Bartalini, MEd and MPA, is a writer, speaker, and catechist serving on the retreat team at Our Lady of Florida Spiritual Center in North Palm Beach, Florida. She is the author of Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women: Invite the Holy Spirit into Your Life (Our Sunday Visitor). Find more at DeannaBartalini.com.
This article was originally published in Catechist magazine, October 2019.
Photo: Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.