Vocal Prayer *
Vocal prayer is prayer recited with the lips, and usually according to some certain formula. Although in itself vocal prayer is not so excellent as mental prayer, we should, nevertheless, beware of underrating its usefulness or necessity. All true Christians frequently recite vocal prayers, such as the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Apostles' Creed, the acts of faith, hope, charity, and contrition.
The Church prescribes vocal prayer very strictly for her priests and her Religious, in the Mass, in the liturgy, and in the divine office. She has .enriched many vocal prayers with numerous indulgences, and has approved of many prayer-books filled with prayers suited to every want and devotion.
Vocal prayer, then, is both useful and necessary for all men without exception - even for those who are soaring in the heights of contemplation. In reciting vocal prayers, we should strive to attend to the meaning of the words, appropriating it to ourselves with all possible fervor and earnestness. A few short vocal prayers well said are far more acceptable to God than a great many long ones recited without attention or fervor.
One of the best forms of vocal prayer is the frequent recitation during the day of some favorite aspiration or ejaculatory prayer, especially if we do so in time of trial and temptation. This commendable practice gradually imparts a habit of recollection, and renders all other prayers comparatively easy and free from distraction. We should, as far as practicable, prefer reciting those vocal prayers which the Church has enriched with indulgences, for we thereby gain a twofold advantage - the benefit of the beautiful and devout prayers themselves, and the indulgences, which help us to acquit ourselves of the great temporal debt which we have contracted towards the divine justice on account of our numerous sins. Or we may also apply said indulgences, when so applicable, to the souls in purgatory, who will be relieved thereby and will not fail to intercede for us in our wants...
* From Father Girardey's "Instructions on Prayer”
From "Prayer-Book for Religious"
by Rev. F.X. Lasance
Copyright 1904, 1914