How to Pray: Holy Hour

A Holy Hour is a devotion in which we spend one hour in prayer, dedicating that time to be with Jesus. 

Remain here and keep watch with me.

The tradition officially goes back to 1673: St. Margaret Mary Alacoque had a vision of Jesus in which he told her to spend an hour every Thursday evening meditating on His sufferings in the Garden of Gethsemane. In the Gospel of Matthew, the night before His crucifixion, Jesus said to his disciples: “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He then went and prayed, and when He returned He found His disciples asleep. He asks Peter, “So could you not keep watch with me one hour?” (Mt 26:40)

When we make a Holy Hour, we “keep watch” with Jesus. It’s a powerful and beautiful way to grow closer to Him. Holy Hours are commonly done in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, but you could make a Holy Hour at any time: in a church, at home, outside. 

How to make a Holy Hour:

There are many ways to pray a Holy Hour! You might read Scripture, you might listen to worship music, journal, simply sit and tell God what is on your mind, or a combination of all the above. Below we’ve written out the outline we use for the Holy Hours on Hallow as a guide:

0-8 Minutes: Enter into Prayer

Get comfortable and begin your prayer. We like to begin with some deep breathing to settle our hearts and minds. In Hallow, we pray a short prayer here to collect ourselves with, such as Come, Holy Spirit, a Psalm, or the Jesus Prayer.  

8-18 minutes: Adoration

Next, spend ten minutes simply adoring God. If you’re in before the Blessed Sacrament, gaze at Jesus and let Him gaze back at you. Rest in wonder at who God is and how He invites you to know Him. 

18-25 minutes: Contrition

Spend a few minutes asking the Holy Spirit to reveal where you have fallen short and how you are in need of God’s mercy. Resolve to go to Confession as soon as you’re able. 

25-45 minutes: Contemplation

This is the core of the Holy Hour – time spent in meditation/contemplation of God. Here, you can simply sit in silence. Other ideas you’ll find in Hallow are meditating on the Rosary, praying with Scripture through Lectio Divina, the Stations of the Cross, and we also have a few led meditations; our current favorite is meditating on the questions Jesus asks throughout the Gospels. 

45-50 minutes: Thanksgiving

Spend some time thanking God for the gifts in your life. 

50-55 minutes: Petition

Turn to God with the cares and concerns of your heart, of those close to you, and of all the needs of people throughout the world. Entrust everything to God. 

55-60: Closing

We keep these last few minutes open for you to say any last things to God, and to make a resolution that came out of your prayer: how is God calling you to act, think, change, pray? What can you take away from this time spent with Him? Then close your prayer with an Our Father or whatever prayer is on your heart.

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Choose from 7 different Holy Hours in Hallow. We hope these prayers will help guide you through this beautiful devotion.