Prayers for Happiness and Joy

Hallow App Science of Happiness Arthur Brooks

Happiness is something that we all seek. Read about what the Church, Pope Francis, and leading happiness expert Dr. Arthur Brooks have to say about what makes us happy. Also, learn prayers, Bible verses, and blessings of happiness and joy. 

Table of Contents 

As we seek the prayers to ask God for opportunities for happiness and joy together, we acknowledge that this desire sometimes can come from a place of struggling with our mental health. At Hallow, we believe prayer is a component of supporting and strengthening mental health, but we know that it is not a standalone solution. 

If you are experiencing severe depression, anxiety, or other struggles with your mental health or simply need support, we urge you to reach out to a mental health professional in your area.

Happiness, a human desire

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that our “natural desire for happiness … is of divine origin: God has placed in it the human heart in order to draw man to the One who alone can fulfill it.” To put it simply, at the root of our desire for happiness is our desire to be close to God – to draw near to Him, to heed Christ’s astounding, repeating call to us – “Come, follow me.” 

Now, this is much easier said than lived out. We all seek this happiness in God, yet we consistently attempt to fulfill this desire with things that aren’t God. While we can read in the Catechism that “God alone satisfies,” we don’t always live in accordance with this truth. 

The Catechism distinctly references the church father and theologian St. Augustine of Hippo, whose spiritual autobiography, Confessions, wrestles immensely with this topic of happiness. If you’ve read Confessions, you might even recall Augustine’s anecdote of the pear tree

In his teens, Augustine stole pears from a tree that were not his to take. Writing much later in life, he reflected that this act of theft was a perversion of the true happiness that he desired in communion with God. While Augustine thought the act of stealing the pears would satisfy his desire for happiness, this wasn’t the case; he discovered true freedom when he aligned his heart more closely with God than his earthly desires, though this can often be much easier said than done. 

Author Sean Reynolds reflects that after his conversion Augustine did not shame himself – for the stealing of those pears or other sins – but, instead, he found peace in the “Divine Restlessness” of his life. 

Happiness, God’s beatitude

For myself, when I struggle to name the happy or joyful moments of my day or the many blessings in my life, I often battle this Divine Restlessness. As humans, I think we are often inclined to find ways to manage, combat, or even stir up this restlessness rather than slowing down amidst the world’s speed or finding silence amidst its noise. Those are the moments in which we truly might grow closer to God, in which we might fully experience His love for us. 

While it is not always our first inclination, nor is it a miracle cure, finding time for prayer in these tough, loud, fast moments can lead us to find peace with God and grow in the Beatitudes that Jesus gave us in the Sermon on the Mount. As the Catechism further states

“The Beatitudes reveal the goal of human existence, the ultimate end of human acts: God calls us to his own beatitude. This vocation is addressed to each individual personally, but also to the Church as a whole, the new people made up of those who have accepted the promise and live from it in faith.

To summarize, our desire for happiness is a desire to unite and rest in God’s beatitude – His blessedness. 

Pope Francis on happiness and joy

Pope Francis has spoken quite a bit about happiness and joy, so much that you can read a collection of his various homilies, speeches, and daily messages on the subject in the book Happiness in This Life: A Passionate Meditation on Earthly Existence

In one of his Advent homilies in 2014, Pope Francis shared with us that happiness and joy are not only in Heaven but very much present and possible on earth, too! He said, 

“The human heart desires joy. We all desire joy, every family, every people aspires to happiness. But what is the joy that the Christian is called to live out and bear witness to? It is the joy that comes from the closeness of God, from his presence in our life. From the moment Jesus entered into history, with his birth in Bethlehem, humanity received the seed of the Kingdom of God, like the soil receives the seed, the promise of a future harvest. There is no need to look further! Jesus has come to bring joy to all people for all time. It is not just a hopeful joy or a joy postponed until paradise: as if here on earth we are sad but in paradise we will be filled with joy. No! It is not that, but a joy already real and tangible now, because Jesus himself is our joy …” 

Pope Francis

God has given us the opportunity to seek and experience happiness and joy right here, right now on earth. While it isn’t always easy during seasons of struggle and pain, we can pray to be clothed in this joyful spirit of beatitude that Pope Francis encourages us toward. 

Dr. Arthur Brooks: defining “happiness”

Social scientist, author, speaker, and devout Christian Dr. Arthur Brooks is one of the leading experts on happiness in the world. Many of his books, courses, and other engagements harken back to rooting happiness in four pillars:

  1. Faith
  2. Family
  3. Community
  4. Meaningful work 

Brooks encourages us to develop daily habits, such as prayer, that strengthen these four pillars, and his research also points to how science can support these efforts – faith and reason coexist in this realm of understanding happiness. For example, in the new Hallow community challenge on the Science of Happiness with Brooks, he uses the example of praying forhealing when we’re sick and taking our medicine. Then we can thank God for science and the medical professionals who help us. 

Learn more about the intersection of faith and happiness in the new Hallow series with Dr. Arthur Brooks, The Science of Happiness:

Prayers for happiness and joy from saints and others

Morning Offering – St. Thérèse of Lisieux

This morning offering from St. Thérèse of Lisieux can help frame your day in the joy of God’s infinite love for you. Though it might not take away all of your anxieties and worries, pray with these words from the “Little Flower” to entrust your day to God: 

O my God, I offer thee all my actions of this day for the intentions and for the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

I desire to sanctify every beat of my heart, my every thought, my simplest works, by united them to his infinite merits; and I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting them into the furnace of his merciful love. 

O my God, I ask of thee for myself and for those whom I hold dear, the grace to fulfull perfectly the holy will, to accept for love of thee the joys and sorrows of this passing life, so that we may one day be united together in heaven for all eternity. Amen. 

Intercessory Prayer – St. Philip Neri, the patron saint of joy

St. Philip Neri is the patron saint of laughter and joy; pray alongside him with this intercessory prayer:

O holy St. Philip Neri, patron saint of joy, you who trusted Scripture’s promise that the Lord is always at hand and that we need not have anxiety about anything, in your compassion heal our worries and sorrows and lift the burdens from our hearts. 

We come to you as one whose heart swells with abundant love for God and all creation. Hear us, we pray, especially in this need (make your request here). Keep us safe through your loving intercession, and may the joy of the Holy Spirit which filled your heart, St. Philip, transform our lives and bring us peace. Amen.

Read More: How to Pray With Saints

Bible verses for happiness and joy

Matthew 5: the Beatitudes 

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.

    Worship the Lord with gladness;

    come into his presence with singing.

Know that the Lord is God.

    It is he that made us, and we are his;

    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

    and his courts with praise.

    Give thanks to him, bless his name.

For the Lord is good;

    his steadfast love endures forever,

    and his faithfulness to all generations.

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Short prayers for happiness and joy

  • Holy Spirit, clothe me in a spirit of beatitude such that I may be a source of joy for others today. 
  • Holy Spirit, fill me with joy!
  • God, I’m struggling to find happiness in this season. Please be with me and guide me toward you as I desire happiness with You. 
  • Dear Jesus, you said, “Come, follow me.” May you make clear Your path for me as I look for happiness in this season of my life. 

Read More: Prayers to the Holy Spirit

Short joyful Irish blessings

For centuries, the Irish have passed down beautiful blessings for their loved ones, and many of these blessings have grown in popularity across other countries and cultures. Often formulated as poems, these blessings help us pray for others. Below discover three Irish blessings for happiness, peace, and joy:

“May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.” 

“May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon your fields, and, until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.” 

“May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day. May songbirds serenade you every step along the way. May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that’s always blue. And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through.”

We hope these prayers for happiness and joy guide you toward seeking to share in God’s beatitude today. If you want to learn more about the intersection of faith and happiness on earth, check out the newest Hallow community challenge, the Science of Happiness with Dr. Arthur Brooks on Hallow. 

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