Growing up in a Polish neighborhood in Dearborn, Michigan, all the Polish grandmothers had prayer books. They could be seen poring over them before Mass. Only recently have I become a prayer-book sort of person. I do not know why I did not recognize its benefits until now. Fear that I could be mistaken for a Polish grandmother? I’m Irish. I think my Irish grandmother had one, and I know my Irish father has one that is a big part of his life. My mother wasn’t Irish or Polish (she's German) and never brought a prayer book to Mass, but she had one near her bedside. I don’t know the reason for my lapse, but I’m going strong now. I have a prayer book in my purse, so it goes with me everywhere, and I use it before, during and after Mass, and sometimes during Adoration. For those who have never considered owning a prayer book, I’ve identified ten reasons why you should.
  1. They are elegant and beautiful, usually with gilded edges so you will bond with it. I suspect the publishers had grandmothers with prayer books too and are nostalgic for that.
  2. You will pray more. Turning the pages to see what is in your book will lead you to stop here and there and to read the prayers.
  3. It will make your Catholic grandmother happy, and, dead or alive, she’ll be praying for you.
  4. Buyer's Guilt. You paid for it, so to avoid feeling guilty for not using it, you will use it.
  5. You’ll learn new things. Scientific studies have shown that introducing new things into your life keeps your brain young. Learning new prayers will help to make your soul holy. There’s been no studies on this but, it’s pretty obvious.
  6. You will become an influencer. While you are deep in prayer looking positively angelic, someone nearby who is just twiddling their thumbs not sure what to pray, will notice you and think, Hey, I should do that too.
  7. A storage place for holy cards. You are going to want to easily access your favorite prayers, so your holy cards and funeral cards have a greater purpose now. You will also be apt to pray more for the deceased person or for the intercession of the saint on the card. Win/win/win!
  8. When you become a grandmother (if you're not already one, like me), your prayer book will create a nice stereotype for the younger generation.
  9. You will never be at a loss for words. If you are in a prayer slump and your memorized prayers are not speaking to you while you are trying to speak to God, opening your prayer book is just the thing.
  10. You will be drawn closer to God. That’s exactly why you bought the prayer book. Something in your heart inspired you to feed your soul. It was a Divine moment you acted upon and those always lead to God.
The prayer book that I use is the collaboration of Vinny and daughter Erin Flynn’s Mass and Adoration Companion. Full disclosure: I didn’t pay for my copy. However, I can substitute buyer’s guilt with getting-a-review-copy-in-the-mail guilt. Yet, that happens frequently, and I don’t always have time to act on it. I do love this book, however—using it daily.  And it’s helping to make me into a proper grandmother. It only seems right that I go public with that or otherwise it’s like getting a gift you love and never saying thank you for it. Maybe it’s because I’m Irish and the Flynns are Irish too, but I discovered so many of my favorite prayers and novenas and litanies are in their prayer book. I really am praying more, and I really do think you should have a prayer book too. There’s plenty to choose from, so by all means, look around at your options. Buy one that speaks to you and you’ll find yourself speaking more to God.

Visit our Book Notes archive.

Copyright 2019 Patti Maguire Armstrong