Prayers for January

The Month of the Holy Name of Jesus

Jesus Christ statue
Grant Faint/The Image Bank/Getty Images

In Philippians 2, Saint Paul tells us that "At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." From the earliest days of Christianity, Christians have known the great power of Jesus' Holy Name. As the once-popular hymn commanded:

All hail the pow’r of Jesus’ Name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all.

Small wonder, then, that the Church sets aside the first month of the year in honor of the Holy Name of Jesus. Through this devotion, the Church reminds us of the power of Christ's Name and encourages us to pray in His Name. In our society, of course, we hear His Name uttered quite often, but all too frequently, it is used in a curse or blasphemy. In the past, Christians would often make the Sign of the Cross when they heard Christ's Name uttered in such a manner, and that's a practice that would be worthwhile to revive.

Another good practice that we could take to heart during this Month of the Holy Name of Jesus is the recitation of the Jesus Prayer. This prayer is as popular among Eastern Christians, both Catholic and Orthodox, as the rosary is among Roman Catholics, but it's not well known in the West.

This month, why not take a few minutes to memorize the Jesus Prayer, and pray it during those moments of the day when you are between activities, or traveling, or simply taking a rest? Keeping Christ's Name always on our lips is a good way to ensure that we draw ever nearer to Him.

Prayer Rope

Very early on, Christians came to understand that the very name of Jesus had great power, and the recitation of His Name was itself a form of prayer. This short prayer is a combination of that early Christian practice and the prayer offered by the publican in the parable of the pharisee and the publican (Luke 18:9-14). It is perhaps the most popular prayer among Eastern Christians, both Orthodox and Catholic, who recite it using prayer ropes that are similar to Western rosaries.

Act of Reparation for Blasphemies Uttered Against the Holy Name

Jesus Christ statue
Grant Faint/The Image Bank/Getty Images

In today's world, we often hear the Name of Jesus spoken casually, at best, and even in anger and blasphemy. Through this Act of Reparation, we offer our own prayers to make up for the sins of others (and, perhaps, our own, if we find ourselves uttering Christ's Name in vain).

Invocation of the Holy Name of Jesus

Crucifixion Stained Glass

Blessed be the most holy Name of Jesus without end!

This short invocation of the Holy Name is a type of prayer known as an aspiration or an ejaculation. It is meant to be prayed repeatedly throughout the day.

Prayer of Petition in the Holy Name of Jesus

Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Corcovado mountain, Christ the Redeemer
Christ the Redeemer, Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Corcovado mountain. joSon/Getty Images

In this prayer of petition, we acknowledge the power of the Holy Name of Jesus and ask that our needs be fulfilled in His Name.

Italie, Lecce, Galatone, Christ sculpture in Sanctuario SS. Crocifisso della Pieta, Galatone, Apulia
Italie, Lecce, Galatone, Christ sculpture in Sanctuario SS. Crocifisso della Pieta, Galatone, Apulia. Philippe Lissac/Getty Images

This exquisite Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus was likely composed in the early 15th century by Saints Bernardine of Siena and John Capistrano. After addressing Jesus under a variety of attributes and imploring Him to have mercy on us, the litany then asks Jesus to deliver us from all of the evils and dangers that confront us in life.