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Praying with Your Heart
St. Francis very often prayed by heart, which means that the words of prayers like those that follow reverberated inside of him. He memorized them, or he simply remembered them as a result of repetition, so that their words could be easily on his lips, and so that in mystical ways, they would pray themselves for him, inside of him, like our heart, which also beats involuntarily.

We can do the same. Here are some basic prayers for learning by heart. Each dates from the early centuries of the Christian Church and is today found in various forms throughout the world.

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open,
all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid:
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy Name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
is now and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.

--Excerpted from The St. Francis Prayer Book
by Jon M. Sweeney

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