Are you familiar with the term aspirations? They are short prayers or phrases that can be spoken aloud or in your heart throughout the day. Aspirations are one of my favorite ways to connect with God and constantly recall His presence in my life – in moments of joy and gratitude, and perhaps most especially in times of weakness or overwhelm. They help me “pray always” (Luke 21:36), in the midst of ordinary, busy days, reminding me that I am never alone, and that God is bigger than all of the things that sometimes try to steal my peace.
Here are a few short and simple prayers (aspirations) to pray when you’re overwhelmed (or anytime, really)! It may take a little time to get in the habit of praying in the heat of a moment, but once you do, it’s amazing the calm and renewed trust in God that it can bring to you – like taking a deep, slow breath, remembering that God is God, and you are in His forever care.
I also love that most of these prayers are directly from Sacred Scripture. There is a consoling beauty that stems from praying God’s Word back to Him, grabbing hold of one of His own love letters to us and soaking in that love when we need it most…
- Jesus, I trust in You. This is probably my favorite aspiration, recalling the endless font of Divine Mercy and the consolation that comes when we truly place our trust in Him – the God of the whole universe – the God who wants to wipe away our past regrets, comfort our fears for the future, and help us embrace, with confidence, the present moment.
- “[N]ot my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42) or simply “Thy will be done” (Matthew 6:10). The Luke verse comes from Christ’s prayer during his agony in the garden. The latter verse from Matthew is one we pray often, whenever we say the Our Father, but often we gloss over these words mindlessly, not stopping to realize their power. God’s will is always, always better than ours. Pray this prayer when you need the reminder to embrace His perfect will and let go of your own imperfect one.
- “Lord, save me” (Matthew 14:30). These memorable words were spoken by St. Peter, who while walking on the water toward Jesus, became afraid of the wind and storm and began to sink. How often do we metaphorically “sink” in our own fear? Pray these three powerful words in those times, reaching out for God’s helping hand. Perhaps in those moments you’ll hear the Lord speaking to your heart (as I often do!) as He did to Peter: “O man of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31)
- “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). I love to pray these words of John the Baptist, reminding me that humility is the greatest stance I can take in the face of overwhelm…and always. These words remind me that I should always desire and work for the Lord to increase in me, animating my very self, while my own pride and will must decrease so as to allow His glory and goodness to shine through.
- “[T]he LORD my God lightens my darkness” (Psalm 18:28). This simple Scripture verse brings me hope in dark moments or seasons. The following verse says, “by my God I can leap over a wall” (Psalm 18:29), so keep this verse on memory for those times when you need God’s help over a daunting wall or some light on a dark path.
Jot down one of these verses – on a little notecard, in your phone, on your mirror – reminding you to offer the aspiration throughout each day this week, until it becomes a natural, habitual, and healing part of your life.