The following formula, attributed to theologian Sr. Kathleen Hughes, RSCJ, provides basic structure for the formation of a prayer:
You: Name God, identifying the One whose presence you want to recognize — e.g. Merciful One, Source of Peace, Creator, God of Compassion.
Who: Describe what God has done — e.g. You who have healed, who brought peace, who led me through darkness; you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you know me.
Do: Seek from God the action you desire or need — e.g. Give us our daily bread; guide our meeting; send us wisdom; help me fight this addiction.
Through: (Optional) Pull it all together, marking how it works theologically — e.g. Through Jesus, in the power of the Spirit; in communion with the holy ones.
Now, try creating your own prayer. Practice or brainstorm in your journal by writing content for these four words:
- You: (Name God)
- Who: (What has God done?)
- Do: (What do you seek?)
- Through: (Wrap up)
Need a little inspiration? Check out these examples:
Loving and generous God, (You: Name God)
You have given us the gift of these leaders. (Who: What God has done)
Bless them in this holy time of waiting; (Do: What we seek)
Help them be your light and presence in a world so in need of healing; (Do)
And give them joy each day in the gift of meaningful work. (Do)
I pray this confident in your healing love. (Through)
O God, (You)
You know I’m so weary. (Who)
Give me what I need to face another day. (Do)
In your name I pray. (Through)
Our Father (You)
Who art in Heaven, hallowed be your name (Who)
Give us this day our daily bread. (Do)
Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and (Do)
Lead us not into temptation, but (Do)
Deliver us from evil; (Do)
For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory. (Through)