It’s well-known that mantras work for runners. A mantra, used in this sense, is “a statement or slogan repeated frequently.” They act as an abbreviated version of positive self-talk, and we runners need all the positivity we can get while on a run.
Mantras can be employed to help lift our minds and hearts, and keep us in a good head space—or put us back in a better frame of mind if we find ourselves battling with negativity.
So why not use prayer as a kind-of mantra?
Here are some short, snappy, but effective prayers that can be used during your next run.
1. The name of Jesus
One word: Jesus.
The name of Jesus is powerful, it is Holy. And it is, in itself, a #prayer. Sounds too simple and easy? That’s probably because we’ve gotten used to making things overly complicated.
It consists simply in uttering the single word “Jesus” (or “Lord Jesus”, or “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner”) in any situation, at any time and place, either aloud or silently.
– Peter Kreeft, “Jesus: The Shortest, Simplest, and Most Powerful Prayer in the World”
2. From the Book of Esther
This is the longest prayer in my little list.
Be mindful of us, Lord.
Make yourself known in the time of our distress and give me courage,
King of gods and Ruler of every power.
Save us by your power, and help me, who am alone and have no one but you, Lord.
– Esther C: 23, 25
3. “Jesus, Mary, I love you. Save souls!”
This prayer comes to us from Servant of God Sr. Consolata Betrone. It’s simple, straight forward, and is worth repeating throughout your day.
“There is a beautiful supplication, a quick prayer that our Lord gave to Sister Maria [Consolata] Betrone. It says- ‘Jesus and Mary, I love You. Save souls.’ It is very simple, but oh it carries a lot of weight.”
– Mother M Angelica of EWTN, as quoted at Mystics Of The Church.
4. From the Liturgy of the Hours
God come to my assistance,
Lord make haste to help me!
– Psalms 69:2
Saint John Paul II remarked in a general audience in 2001 that the “short incipit of Psalm 69″ became “as it were the gate of entry to the Liturgy of the Hours.”
This is an effective prayer, whether you are shaking off a bad day with a 30 minute evening run, struggling with a personal dilemma while on a long run, or if you’re trying to slog through that final point-two of your first marathon.
5. The Sign of the Cross
Let’s not forget the Sign of the Cross, which Pope Benedict XVI called “the most fundamental act” of Christian prayer; and really, the Sign is itself a prayer.
Even if you’re too busy pumping your arms during your run, you can still pray the words: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Make your run a prayer
Pray without ceasing.
– 1 Thessalonians 5: 17
The same Sacred Scripture that uses running analogies asks us to pray “without ceasing.”
What better time to use prayer than while out on a run? Think about it. Especially if you are a solo runner (like me). In those moments, it’s just you and your running shoes and God.
Try it. Offer up some little bursts of prayer. You might be surprised to find that they lift your running game, while at the same time triggering some deeper conversation with God.
Do you have a favorite short prayer?
I’d love for you to share your own favorite short prayers. Please, leave them in the comments section below. I might include yours in a follow-up post to this one.
Peace, God bless, and have a great run.