QUAERITUR: Good prayer books

From a reader:

I have been now to a couple excellent confessions where as a
suggestion or a penance the priest has asked me to say a particular
prayer, “found in my prayer book”. Sorry to say, I do not have a
prayer book and have resorted to looking up the prayers online. I
would like to obtain a good prayer book. What would be a good one to

I will leave this open to suggestions from readers.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Prayerbooks are one of things that are hard to shop for, online, unless you can look at the whole thing.

    The easiest thing to do is go to a Catholic bookstore (online or off) and buy a little prayerbook that has most of the classics. You want one that is attractive or handy enough that you’ll want to use it.

    But you can also compile one for yourself, of course, or buy a reproduction of an old one.

  2. AnnAsher says:

    The Pieta Prayer Book $4
    Is a wealth of prayers, devotions, litanies and novena’s often long lost to modern Catholics. It is small enough to carry in your purse or briefcase or bible case, always.

  3. Tradster says:

    I use the smaller, pocket-sized version of Christian Warfare, published by SSPX Canada (http://www.christian-warfare.com/Christian_Warfare.htm). Along with all of the typical prayers, it contains the wonderful Ignation Retreat that the SSPX conducts (and which I highly recommend for all to attend at least once).

  4. Dominic Maria says:

    A tresury of the Sacred heart is useally good, an example would be the ones curently on sale by the Transalpine Redmptorists.

  5. lh says:

    Fr. Hardon’s Catholic Prayer Book with Meditations.

  6. Melody says:

    I compiled a prayer pamphlet for myself a while back, mostly for the longer communion prayers by St. Thomas Aquinas. Just keep the saved document and edit as needed.

  7. mysticalrose says:

    I like the Handbook of Prayer by Fr Socias (I think).

  8. Dismas says:

    I’ve always liked Prayers and Heavenly Promises by Joan Carrol Cruz. It’s a wealth of prayer and Catholic devotion, each prayer or devotion usually has a little history or quote from a Saint in it’s regard. The only thing I don’t like is the table of contents is divided into general categories which include many prayers. There is no appendix or table of contents that lists each individual prayer in a category, but it’s a small book and things are relatively easy to find. There are many good prayer books and the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on-line bookstore is a good source:


  9. TNP says:

    I’m with mysticalrose on this one. Midwest Theological Forum publishes the Handbook of Prayers by Fr. James Socias. It includes a section on how to be a better Catholic with a suggested spiritual game plan, the order of the Mass in English and Latin, prayers before and after Mass, devotions, novenas, blessings, and much more all in a little red paperback.

  10. pbewig says:

    My Missal has a few hundred pages of prayers in the back. It’s from Midwest Theological Forum, but I think most publishers do the same.

  11. Tim Danaher says:

    “Fulton Sheen’s Wartime Prayer Book” by Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. About the size of a deck of cards or cell phone. Received mine at the Atlanta Eucharistic Congress a few years back. Can get it at amazon.com and ewtnreligiouscatalogue.com. Seems like an appropriate book during this Fortnight of Freedom and beyond.

  12. Brent S says:

    Blessed Be God – Angelus Press


  13. Indulgentiam says:

    Blessed Be God:A Complete Catholic Prayer Book by Fr. Charles J. Callan, OP & Fr. John A. McHugh, OPA,
    also The Purgatorian Manual and Fulton Sheen’s WARTIME PRAYER BOOK
    all can be found on the FSSP Fraternity publications website. Here is the link—

    Enjoy! :)

  14. acardnal says:

    Father John Hardon’s “Catholic Prayer Book: With Meditations”

    “Handbook of Prayers, 7th Edition”, Scepter Press

    North American College Seminary has an excellent prayer book. “The Manual of Prayers”

  15. acardnal says:

    @Tradster: that book looked interesting. I ordered it.

  16. brotherjuniper says:

    Here are the ones that I use:

    1. Cardinal Spellman’s Prayer Book. It was published in the 1950s and has been out of print for a long time, but it is extremely well organized and contains all of the readings for the Extraordinary Form on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.

    2. The Raccolta (Loreto Publications, available online). This is a reprint of a prayer book that contains all of the indulgenced prayers and practices of the Church. It is a hefty tome and somewhat expensive, but it is extremely thorough and well done.

  17. The 1962 Missal published by Baronius Press contains a treasury of basic prayers every Catholic should know, and also a lot of other very good ones, like the Litany of Loretto and the Litany of the Sacred Heart.

  18. magister63 says:

    I use the SSPX’s Christian Warfare- it is EXCELLENT!
    I also use the pre-VII prayer book “Jesus My Life” from Catholic Book Publishing Co.
    I do say Prime and Compline, and sometimes Sext, from the pre VII Office, sometimes in Latin and sometimes in English. Angelus has a good small Divine Office in English and Latin with the hours they pray in common in their priories.
    God bless all of you! Pleae pray!

  19. Dismas says:

    “the priest has asked me to say a particular prayer, “found in my prayer book”.”

    Of course, who else better to suggest a good prayer book than your confessor?

  20. Centristian says:

    I was never one for “prayer books” as such until I came across, entirely by chance at Barnes and Noble, a book called “Prayer Book of the Early Christians” published by Paraclete Press. It’s incredibly beautiful and I can’t live without it any longer, it seems. I highly recommend it to anyone.

  21. JayDeee says:

    I also like the section in the back of the MTF Missal.

    If you want something very small and pocketable (about 4x3x1.5 in.), there’s Abp. Fulton Sheen’s Wartime Prayer Book. Has some omissions, but also some nice reflections on the Eucharist.

  22. Quanah says:

    Manual of Prayers from the North American College in Rome is a good starter prayer book. I prayed it cover to cover and use it often. Also, anything by Fr. Lasance is fantastic. Finally, Fulton Sheen’s Wartime Prayer Book.

  23. Allan S. says:

    Like others, I own several but without question Blessed Be God is the best, by far.

  24. Bea says:

    Brent S, Indulgentium and Allan S. :
    That’s my favorite prayer book, too and I highly recommend it, too.
    “Blessed be God” by Angelus Press.
    I also have the “Raccolta” Angelus Press and Loreto both put it out.
    Alas, I usually forget to look ahead so I miss out on the indulgences.
    By the time I look up what Feast Day is coming up to do a novena etc. It’s usually past the date to start.

  25. JKnott says:

    “My Prayer Book” by Father Lasance

    Has everything: short readings on the virtues, litanies, seven penitential psalms, prayers to all the saints, exercises for Communion, Beatitudes, and much more and it is not cumbersome in size.

  26. RichR says:

    Another vote for Blessed Be God.

  27. Indulgentiam says:

    Bea, i set the calendar on my phone to alarm for novenas, indulgences etc…the calendar templates from outlook are great b/c you can type in reminders on each date then print the calendar out and hang it on the fridge. I like to do them a couple of months at a time that way as one month goes into the next i’m not scrambling. I hope this helps :)

  28. Kathleen10 says:

    Great list of prayer books everybody. I’m going to keep this and refer to it. Thank you.

  29. APX says:

    I’m with JKnott. That’s the one I have and I love it. I grew up in the late 80s early 90s so the only prayers I knew were the Hail Mary, Our Father, Glory Be, Bless Us O Lord, that “Serenity Prayer” (which still seems sketchy to me) and the Apostles Creed (providing I’m reciting it in a group). My Confessor used to give me counsel of specific prayers to say for certain things, and I would have NO clue what he was talking about. That’s not a problem anymore because that book has practically everything you could need. It’s a good hodgepodge of stuff for people such as myself who grew up without much substance when it comes to prayer and daily meditations and readings. It’s also nice that it’s small enough to fit inside small purses (or “man bags” if you’re a man). I don’t even think it was that expensive.

  30. Lucas says:

    Until I can afford the Baronius Breviary, I use My Prayer Book by Fr. Lasance. I had a copy of Blessed be God, but I sold it to a friend who needed it. I’d like to get another copy, but My Prayer Book is outstanding.

  31. Geoffrey says:

    The hand missal and prayer book by Fr Socias are my usual go-to prayer books, and “Blessed Be God” has found itself in my hands more often recently. The old “Raccolta” is also very good.

    I like the SSPX’s “Christian Warfare”, however I think a word of caution is in order: the book refers to attending the ‘Novus Ordo’ Mass and receiving Holy Communion in the hand in the examination of conscience, inferring that these are sins needing to be confessed… ridiculous, of course. Otherwise, it is a nice little prayer-book.

  32. mysticalrose says:

    For those who use the Raccolta , it’s also included in the iPieta app for your cell. This app has a lot of useful prayers, though it is FULL of typos.

  33. CatholicByChoice says:

    The Missal recommendations caught my attention. I have an old Missal that I picked up at a monastery book sale for either a dime or a quarter. It says “effective January 1, 1961” and is titled “Saint Joseph Daily Missal” revised edition published by Catholic Book Publishing Co. It is a beautiful little Missal and I enjoy it. I also have the new Missal that was just published, but this old one really calls to me. I guess it is out of date for today’s use, but still these old Missals are a wealth of prayers.

  34. another Joe says:

    Like the Raccolta, the Handbook of Indulgences has a great collection of prayers: HERE

    Also along mysticalrose’s thinking outside the box, a free app for both iPhone & Android named Laudate is very helpful in having many prayers.

  35. Marine Mom says:

    1 Father’s Hardon’s Catholic Prayer Book with Meditations
    http://www.ReligiousLife.com (on-line catalog)
    2 Handbook of Prayers, Midwest Theological Forum

  36. NDPhys says:

    My favorite prayer books have all been mentioned above.

    First, Blessed be God, though I am not aware of the Angelus Press version mentioned above. I have the 1925 edition (a family heirloom) and the 2010 printing from Preserving Christian Publications, which is a reprint of the 1960 edition (with updates like St. Joseph in the Canon and the Assumption in the Divine Praises). I like the prayers a lot, but some of the translations are a little strange. Especially the psalms. But all that said, this is my go-to prayer book, and, for instance, the one I carry with me to confessions, because I most like it’s collection of prayers before and after confession. This is a real “classic” prayer book, complete with beautiful art throughout.

    Second: Handbook of Prayers from Midwest Theological Forum. This is essentially the “back matter” from their Missal put into a stand-alone book. It has a wide selection of prayers in facing Latin and English, as well as the Novus Order in both languages. My biggest complaint is that the selection is not so large.

    Third: Father Hardon’s Catholic Prayer Book with Meditations. It has a different selection of prayers than my other books, and I like that about it. It is my home devotional prayer book, which I keep in my prayer area. From an aesthetics standpoint, it is not as nice as the other two; it lacks the nice art and the nice layout. But, it is a nice devotional book.

  37. benedetta says:

    This is very helpful to me, thanks to commenters and Fr. Z.

  38. Woodlawn says:

    The Baltimore Book of Prayers, prepared and enjoined by order of the third plenary session of the Council of Baltimore, Roman Catholic Books.

  39. Bea says:

    Thanks, Indulgentiam
    I don’t have (or don’t know how to do) the phone/alarm thingy.
    My sons have one that rings at noon and at 6PM for the Angelus.
    Next time one comes to visit, I’ll have to ask him.
    I write some down on my desk calendar and then forget to check it.
    The printout/fridge is a great idea. I’ll have to try that.
    Thanks, again

  40. gloriainexcelsis says:

    I agree that The Catholic Prayer Book with Meditations by Fr. Hardon is excellent. It is small enough to carry with you to work, on trips, to make a visit to church, wherever. There are prayers for every occasion, litanies, novenas, examination of conscience, rosary, short prayers, long prayers, some in Latin with English translations, scripture quotations, etc. It’s a treasure.

  41. MyBrokenFiat says:

    Just echoing my vote for the Pieta Book.

    For me, it’s been the most versatile, educational prayer book I’ve ever owned (and I say educational as many of the prayers are incredibly rich).

    Super cheap, small, and full of blessings, I keep one in my purse, in the car, at my bedstand and at work so one is never far from me.

    Good luck and blessings to you!!!

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