There is a short Advent prayer that allows us to truly imagine what it was like in that cold, dark stable at the very moment of Jesus’s birth, then gives us the opportunity to ask God to grant our spiritual desires.
“Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born, of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold.”
That’s the beginning of the St. Andrew Prayer, which is said daily until Christmas, and which takes its name from the day we begin saying it, the Feast of St. Andrew on November 30.
The prayer goes on:
“In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires…”
With those words, now that we are in His presence, we are invited to entrust our petitions, our spiritual desires, to Him.
The St. Andrew Prayer traditionally is said 15 times per day from November 30 to Christmas. The repetitions can be said all at once or spread throughout the day.
As a family activity, perhaps recited five times at each meal, the St. Andrew Prayer helps children focus on the true meaning of Advent.
Praying the St. Andrew Prayer is an excellent family tradition to continue or start anew, and a great addition to daily prayers as we prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus on Christmas.
The St. Andrew Prayer also has been called the Christmas Anticipation Prayer, or the St. Andrew Novena. While most novenas refer to prayers over nine days, the term also may be used for any prayer repeated over a series of days.
St. Andrew was one of Jesus’s 12 Apostles. He was the brother of St. Peter.
Here is the full prayer:
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.