Memorization of prayers

I do quite well with the basics (Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be and the Apostles Creed) and have just learned Hail Holy Queen. The basics I have known since I was much younger and they form a staple part of my prayer life. I’m thinking of others I could learn, like the Memorare, but I have a brain like a sieve for learning new things, and it taken me ages to learn Hail Holy Queen.

Anyone have any tips for memorzing prayers? Any particular prayers that you recommend learning?

I find memorization difficult as well.

Since you have memorized the basics, it looks like you will easily be able to say the Holy Rosary.

Memorize the 15 mysteries, the Fatima Prayer, and the closing prayer, it is short and simple!

I would also recommend memorizing ‘the Golden Arrow’ and ‘A Prayer for Daily Neglects’ and the prayer of St. Gertrude for the Holy Souls, the St. Michael Prayer, and an Act of Contrition.

Short vocal prayers such as, ‘Jesus, Mary and Joseph, protect us.’ and ‘Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, save souls.’ should always be remembered and prayed easily throughout the day too.

I don’t worry about memorization.
Memorization comes from repetition. Don’t worry about having copies of the prayers that you don’t know by heart in front of you while you pray. The more you pray a particular prayer, the less you will find yourself referring to the written text.

Just keep saying them. Write them down and then try to say them. If you keep stumbling on a few lines, focus only on them a while. Practice, practice, practice.

Here’s some good ones:

Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of thy mercy, Amen.

St. Michael the Archangel, be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, o Prince of the Heavenly Hosts, by the power of God, cast into Hell, Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl the earth seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

I use a visual method. I create a scene that reminds me of the prayer or the set of facts that I want to memorize, and then I attach each line of the prayer, or each fact, to an item in the scene.

For example, when memorizing the Ten Commandments, I created a scene with a castle.

kasl stands for kill (thou shalt not murder), adultery (thou shalt not commit adultery), steal (thou shalt not steal), lie (thou shalt not bear false witness). These are the ones I find hardest to remember.

I put them up the flag pole in that order.

There is nothing in front of the gate of the castle (thou shalt have no gods before Me); just inside the gate there’s a broken vanity (thou shalt not take the name of the Lord they god in vain) and beyond that is a parish Church. (remember to keep the sabbath holy.)

Then you come to the throne room, where Mother and Father are sitting on the thrones with crowns on their heads (honour thy father and thy mother).

On the balcony is the flagpole with “kasl” flying on it. (See above)

You can look over the fence to the neighbor’s house, which is green (for envy) - in his yard there is the neighbor’s treasure, and his wife sitting on top of it, thus reminding me which order those two go - thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife (she’s on top, so she’s first); thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.

It’s not perfect; if I don’t practice it regularly, I lose the scene, and then I can’t remember any more. But when I remember the scene again, it’s easy to remember the list in order again.

I change the scene around from time to time to make it easier for myself as other things become more meaningful, or when some of my symbols lose their charm.

I’ve always liked to start my morning in prayer to help bring focus to my day. I saw this under “Common Catholic Prayers” and it’s the same sentiment of what I normally say, but more concise. You can always try praying with your own words if you have trouble remembering exactly what to say, but this is also a great prayer to learn:

Breathe into me Holy Spirit, that all my thoughts may be holy. Move in me, Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Attract my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy. Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy. Protect me, Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.

Memorization has always come fairly easy to me, just remember to force yourself to recall. Read one line, look away and say it, then keep starting over but adding a line each time. If you can only memorize one or two lines a day, that’s fine. Try to add more tomorrow- saying it every day will help! And really think about the message that you’re saying, not just the words. I think that can really help make it stick.

The more you pray it, the more familiar it becomes.

I disagree. Unless you commit to memorizing a prayer, you will never learn it. I have seen so many people in church still using the cheat sheet to say the Nicene Creed after years of reciting it. You really need to make an effort to memorize a prayer.

The Jesus Prayer. It takes all of half a second to memorize and yet is the simplest, most beautiful expression of prayer known to man. You should repeat it at every free moment during the day.

Besides that:
-Morning offering (prayed in the Morning, obviously)
-Prayer to St. Michael
-Prayer to your patron Saint
-Psalm 51 (next best repentance outside of confession)
-The Nicene creed

If you’re not praying the LOTH:
-Psalm 95 (to be read immediately upon rising in the morning, after making the sign of the cross)
-The Benedictus (to be recited in the morning)
-The Magnificat (to be recited at evening)
-The Nunc Dimitis (to be recited at bedtime)

Memorizing the psalms and canticles is challenging at first, but the idea is to drill them into your head. Choose a prayer that you want to memorize and recite it, say, every three hours or so. Do this and you’ll have it down in no time.