Novena Prayer is a private prayer or collective prayer for nine consecutive days that is said to get a special grace, ask for a special gift or make a special request. Usually the Novena Prayer is said for nine consecutive days at the same time.
The word Novena itself is the feminine form of the Medieval Latin word “novenus”, which is the ordinal number of “novem”. Within the Catholic church itself, a Novena is a devotion consisting of many prayers that are said for nine consecutive days. This is a prayer that is said to ask for a special grace to be granted.
All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.Acts 1:14
What is a Novena Prayer?
Novena Prayer is a private prayer or collective prayer for nine consecutive days that is said to get a special grace, ask for a special gift or make a special request.
The word novena is taken from “novem,” the Latin word for nine. A novena is made up of nine days of prayer and meditation usually to ask God for special prayer requests or petitions.
Novenas are often used to ask specific saints to pray for us. The Saint Jude Novena, for example, is prayed to ask Saint Jude to intercede on behalf of a request that seems especially dire.
Novenas are an ancient tradition that goes back to the days of the Apostles. Jesus told His disciples to pray together after His ascension into heaven, so they went to an upper room along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, (Acts 1:14) and joined constantly in prayer for nine days.
These nine days of constant prayer by the Apostles at the direction of Jesus led up to Pentecost. This is when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples as “tongues of fire” (Acts 2:1-4). This pattern of 9 days of prayer is the basis the novenas we pray today.
Thus, the novena is an imitation of the Lord’s command to the Apostles when they prayed for 9 days in anticipation of the coming of the Holy Spirit.
This Catholic prayer practice likely originated from the “first novena” shared in the Acts of the Apostles. Before Jesus ascended into Heaven, the disciples gathered together to ask him about the restoration of Israel.
Jesus said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1: 7-8).
So the disciples and Mary waited together, praying for the Holy Spirit to guide them. Finally, nine days later, the Holy Spirit came down on them. “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together” (Acts 2:1).
When the disciples prayed together for nine days for the coming of the Holy Spirit, they modeled the novena prayer method that is so popular today.
Types of Novena Prayer
- Anticipation. We pray novenas in anticipation before or after a funeral, praying for the soul of the person who has passed away and asking God to be close to those who mourn them. This could be a saint’s novena that they were close to or a novena to Christ, such as the Sacred Heart Novena.
- Preparation. We hope to prepare ourselves for the nine days leading up to a sacrament or another important day with these novenas. For example, some couples might pray a novena before their wedding day, or you might pray the St. Andrew Christmas Novena leading up to the Birth of Jesus.
- Petition. Novenas in petition ask God to answer a prayer or ask a specific saint for their intercession. First, identify your petition or intention for prayer. Then, select a saint associated with the subject matter.
- Penance. These novenas are prayed as an act of penitence; we pray for nine days asking God for His mercy. They are often given as a penance after the sacrament of confession.
Why Pray a Novena?
We pray for novenas for a specific intention or grace, such as for a loved one, healing, forgiveness, clarity with a big decision, etc. However, they aren’t magic.
We cannot assume that our prayers will be answered immediately. And, sometimes, what we pray for isn’t exactly what we need.
Rather, we pray novenas to grow in patience and place our trust in God, just as the Apostles prayed in anticipation of the Holy Spirit coming to them.
We pray novenas to become disciples, growing in discipline and opening our hearts to God’s will. Whether our intention is answered or not, we finish the nine days in gratitude for God’s presence in our lives.
When do You Pray a Novena?
Some novenas are prayed during specific times, such as the Divine Mercy Novena that begins on Good Friday.
Traditionally, many people choose to pray novenas asking for a saint’s intercession on the nine days leading up to that saint’s feast day.
If you’re praying before a sacrament or event, you’ll pray the novena for nine days before or after it.
In truth, you really can pray a novena at any time. Novenas guide us to grow our trust in God — and that’s something we need in all seasons of life.
10 Benefits of Novena Prayer
- Novena Prayer helps you develop a relationship with God
Just like your parents here on earth, your Heavenly Father wants to hear from you and talk to you.
When you pray, He listens. Then He answers your prayers in the form of thoughts, spiritual feelings, scripture, or even the actions of other people.
- Novena Prayer helps you gain an understanding of God’s loving nature
The scriptures teach, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). You can feel that love as you speak daily with Him through prayer, seeking His guidance in your life.
- Novena Prayer provides answers
Praying and listening to the answers God gives you can help you better understand your purpose in life. God will help you understand why you are here and what you can do to return to live with Him after this life.
- Novena Prayer helps you find direction in your life
When you privately pray to God, you can work through serious decisions in your life. God always listens and often provides the specific answers and guidance we seek.
Even when He chooses not to answer immediately or in the way we might have hoped, prayer itself is a way to find peace.
- Novena Prayer gives you strength to avoid temptation
Jesus counseled His disciples, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation” (Matthew 26:41).
Through prayer, we can overcome temptations to sin. Pray for God’s help to keep you from making wrong choices. This will give you the strength to do what is right.
- Novena Prayer aligns your will with God’s will
The purpose of prayer is not necessarily to tell God how you want Him to do things. Rather, it’s to better understand Him and His ways, bringing yourself into alignment with His will. As C.S. Lewis is often attributed as saying, prayer “doesn’t change God. It changes me.”
- Novena Prayer and regular fasting can help you accept God’s will
Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights before He began His ministry on the earth. As He did this, He communed with His Father in Heaven in prayer. Likewise, if you pray and fast, you can feel closer to God and better understand the things He wants you to do.
- Novena Prayer can work miracles
Throughout the scriptures, we see many examples of the Lord working miracles as an answer to prayer.
In Old Testament times, the prophet Daniel was thrown into a lions’ den because he refused to stop praying.
When he prayed to God in the lions’ den, angels appeared and closed the mouths of the lions.
Through daily prayer, you can also experience personal miracles such as healing, peace, and forgiveness for sins.
- Novena Prayer invites the Holy Spirit into your life
As you pray daily, you invite the Holy Spirit to be with you and to comfort and direct you. The Holy Spirit can give you answers, help you feel God’s love, and bring feelings of peace and joy into your heart.
- Novena Prayer helps you become more like Jesus
Jesus set the perfect example of prayer. If you try to follow His example through prayer, you will become more like Him and develop a better relationship with Him and Heavenly Father.
How to pray A Novena?
- Identify your intention
Before you commit to praying for nine days, take some time to consider what your intention is for prayer. Are you looking to prepare yourself for an event spiritually? Or pray for a loved one that is struggling?
Maybe you’re simply looking for encouragement to develop a strong prayer habit. Remember: asking the Holy Spirit for guidance is never a bad idea!
- Choose a novena
After you’ve taken some time to prepare yourself for prayer, select a novena that matches your intention.
This might be a prayer for that specific intention, or it might be a novena to a saint who is known and loved in the subject you’re struggling with or feeling gratitude for in this season of your life.
Know that it doesn’t have to be a “perfect” fit; by taking time each day to pray for a special intention will hopefully bring you clarity, peace and guide you to put your trust in God.
- Dedicate nine days
Once you start a novena, dedicate time each day to being present with God and pray it with Him. Sometimes staying on track is difficult.
We recommend setting aside a specific time and setting a reminder on your phone or adding it to your calendar for the nine days. You might also consider asking someone to pray the novena with you to hold each other accountable.
- Embrace the novena
When you set out on this prayer journey, try to embrace it each day fully. Each day might look a little different for you, but try to accompany your time in prayer with other acts of faith.
This might be fasting from social media or gossip, or it could be doing a kind thing for someone else each day. Let these nine days of prayer transform you in more ways than just devoting the time to pray each day.
- Be patient
Remember, novenas aren’t magic. If you come to the end of your novena and your prayers appear to be unanswered, know that God hears your prayers and loves you.
And often, our prayers are not answered in the way we hoped. Ask for God’s help in trusting in Him and in desiring that His will be done.
Why is a Novena 9 Days?
There are a few reasons why the number nine might be significant.
The first comes from the Acts of the Apostles, when Jesus told His disciples to gather together and pray after His Ascension into Heaven. Tradition tells us that the Apostles, along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, went to the Upper Room and prayed together for the nine days between Jesus’ Ascension (believed to have been 40 days after His Passion/Passover) and Pentecost.
Another reason could be that nine is significant because of the nine months that Mary carried Jesus in her womb. In fact, people in the Middle Ages traditionally spent nine days in prayer leading up to Christmas to signify the nine months that Jesus spent in the womb of His mother!
I love these two thoughts behind the significance of the number. The parallel between Jesus spending nine months in Mary’s womb before coming forth to fulfill His mission on Earth, and Mary and the Apostles spending nine days in prayer before going forth to spread the Gospel is so striking.
What if I miss a day?
That’s okay, it happens! If you a miss a day, you can do one of a few things…
You can either:
- Skip the day you missed altogether.
- Say two of the daily prayers in one day to catch up
- Say the prayer of the day you missed and just be one day behind everybody else.
It’s up to you, and whatever you choose to do is okay. There are no “rules” and there are no “consequences.” God is forgiving and merciful!
Which is The Most Powerful Novena Prayers?
Novena prayers are known for being very powerful in helping with specific problems. If you are seeking urgent help in your life, recite one of these 16 powerful Novena Prayers for Special Favors And Miracles.
- St. Therese Novena Prayer
- Divine Mercy Novena Prayer
- Novena to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
- Christmas Novena Prayer
- St. Joseph Novena Prayer
- Our Lady of Sorrows Novena
- St. Jude Novena Prayer
- Holy Spirit Novena Prayer
- St. Anthony of Padua Novena Prayer
- Three Hail Marys Novena Prayer
- St. Rita Novena Prayers
- Novena to the Precious Blood of Jesus
- St. Martha Novena Prayer
- Mother of Perpetual Help Novena Prayers
- Saint Expedite Novena Prayer
- Holy Name of Jesus Novena Prayer
Novena Prayer For Special request or Intentions
- Novena Prayer For Cancer
- Novena Prayer For Clarity
- Novena Prayer For Exams
- Novena Prayer For The Dead
- Healing Novena Prayer
- The Surrender Novena Prayer
- Novena Prayer For Families
- Novena for Marriage
- Holy Souls in Purgatory Novena Prayer
- A Prayer for Financial Blessings
- Novena Prayer to Defeat The Work of Satan
List of Novena Calender
- January Novenas
- February Novenas
- March Novenas
- April Novenas
- May Novenas
- June Novenas
- July Novenas
- August Novenas
- September Novenas
- October Novenas
- November Novenas
- December Novenas
List of All Novenas Prayer
We have collected some of our favorite Novena prayers from over the years to share with you. Use these prayers to Mention your request through this Novena Prayer. regardless of what struggles and difficulties we may face throughout the year.