The word “novena” comes from the Latin word novem meaning “nine,” and praying novenas is a tradition that dates all the way back to the time of the Apostles. (Here’s a great article that explains novenas in more depth.)
Personally, I love novenas. As someone who appreciates schedules, I think it’s something about the nine-day structure that draws me to novenas. Plus I have found them to be extremely powerful and efficacious in my life for many an intention – not the least of which is the finding of my now spouse. But that’s a blog post for another day.
So here’s my list of the top nine (wink, wink) powerful novenas for Catholics to pray.
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1. Novena to St. Therese
I gotta give the first shout-out to St. Therese – my confirmation saint and the namesake of my blog, since she’s also known as “the Little Flower.”
St. Therese said, “When I die, I will send down a shower of roses from the heavens. I will spend my heaven by doing good on earth.” Hence she earned the title of “the Little Flower” because, true to her word, she is known to send roses to those who call on her intercession.
Every year, I pray the St. Therese novena leading up to her feast day, October 1, which happens to be 2 days before my birthday. I always ask (among other intentions) that she would give me a rose for my birthday, and every year, she always manages to give me one, sometimes in the most unexpected ways.
Basically, St. Therese is amazing and her intercession is powerful, especially when you pray her novena. Here’s my favorite St. Therese novena – the Novena Rose Prayer.
2. Novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots
I always tell people not to pray this novena unless they’re ready for big things to start happening – and I’m only half joking when I say that.
Basically, this novena is extremely powerful. Mama Mary doesn’t mess around with this one.
In this novena, you ask Our Lady to untie a “knot” in your life – a situation that seems impossible, hopeless, or like a huge mess that you can’t see a way out of. Here’s an excerpt from the novena prayer:
Mary, Mother to whom God entrusted the undoing of the knots in the lives of his children, I entrust into your hands the ribbon of my life. No one, not even the evil one himself, can take it away from your precious care. In your hands there is no knot that cannot be undone.Our Lady Undoer of Knots Novena
There’s a longer version of this novena that involves saying the Act of Contrition as well as a full rosary. Or there’s a shorter version, which I quoted above and which you can find here. Here’s a booklet specifically about this particularly efficacious novena.
3. Novena to St. Joseph
This one is a favorite of mine and my husband’s and we frequently call on St. Joseph’s intercession for our marriage, our jobs, and our future family.
St. Joseph, as the husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus, is the patron saint of workers, fathers, husbands, the Universal Church, and a happy death, so you can pray this novena for a wide range of special intentions. Many people pray to him when unemployed, job-searching, or trying to sell their house. He also has two feast days: March 19, the Solemnity of St. Joseph, and May 1, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker.
There are several different St. Joseph novenas out there, but this is my favorite one. Here’s an excerpt:
Glorious Saint Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin, foster father of Jesus Christ, obtain for me a pure, humble, and charitable mind, and perfect resignation to the Divine Will. Be my guide, my father, and my model through life that I may merit to die as you did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.St. Joseph Novena
4. Novena to St. Anne
This is the novena that I prayed in 2016, leading up to meeting my now husband. While that is another blog post for another day, let’s just say I absolutely, 100% believe in the power of St. Anne’s intercession.
St. Anne is the mother of Mary and her feast day is celebrated on July 26, together with her husband St. Joachim. She’s the patron saint of single women, married women, mothers, expectant mothers, and women in labor, just to name a few things. Basically, she’s an amazing go-to saint for us ladies, for a number of intentions!
Here’s one of my favorite excerpts from the St. Anne Novena, which you can find here.
“Make my confidence and fervor, supported by the promise of Jesus Christ, increase as the trial to which God, in His goodness, subjects me is prolonged, that I may obtain, like you, more than I can venture to ask for.”St. Anne Novena
5. The Surrender Novena
Hoo boy, this novena is a tough one to pray – at least for those of us who tend to worry and have a hard time “letting go and letting God” (*raising my hand*). But it’s so, so good.
The nine daily prayers are written as though Jesus is speaking directly to you, and you always end by repeating, “O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!” ten times.
This novena a real wakeup call and an incredible exercise in truly resigning your will to God’s, no matter what. Here’s a powerful excerpt:
And when I must lead you on a path different from the one you see, I will prepare you; I will carry you in my arms; I will let you find yourself, like children who have fallen asleep in their mother’s arms, on the other bank of the river. What troubles you and hurts you immensely are your reason, your thoughts and worry, and your desire at all costs to deal with what afflicts you.The Surrender Novena
You can find this novena here.
6. Divine Mercy Novena
This novena is traditionally prayed every year leading up to Divine Mercy Sunday. Since that’s always the first Sunday after Easter, the first day of the novena is always Good Friday (seems fitting). That said, the Divine Mercy Novena can, of course, be prayed any time of the year.
Jesus revealed this novena to St. Faustina, as recorded in her Diary:
I desire that during these nine days you bring souls to the fount of My mercy, that they may draw there from strength and refreshment and whatever graces they need in the hardships of life and, especially, at the hour of death.Jesus to St. Faustina
On each day of the novena, you pray for a predetermined intention – a specific group of people that you’re asking be immersed in the ocean of God’s Mercy. For example, on Day 1, we pray for all mankind, and on Day 5, we pray for souls who have separated themselves from the Church. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is also recited as part of the daily novena prayers.
7. Novena to St. Jude
St. Jude, whose feast day is October 28, was one of the 12 Apostles and he wrote the Epistle of Jude in the Bible. He’s the patron saint of desperate or lost causes – so you can bet his intercession is powerful.
I’ve certainly turned to him for various intentions over the years and he always comes through. You can find his novena here.
8. 54 Day Rosary Novena
This novena is a bit different than your typical nine-day novena. As you can probably guess from the name, it’s a novena in which you pray a rosary every day for 54 days.
Specifically, you pray a full, five-decade rosary for your intention(s) every day for 27 days. Then immediately following, you pray a full, five-decade rosary in thanksgiving for another 27 days – whether or not your prayer was answered.
9. Novena in Urgent Need to the Infant Jesus
This is a novena to the Infant Jesus of Prague that you can pray for an extremely urgent intention. It can be prayed for the traditional nine consecutive days, or it can even be prayed for nine consecutive hours.
It consists of saying the following prayer three times, whether for nine hours or nine days in a row:
O Jesus, Who said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you,” through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother, I knock, I seek, I ask that my prayer be answered.Novena to the Infant Jesus of Prague in Urgent Need
You can find this novena here.
So there you have it: nine of the most powerful novenas for Catholics to pray. Here are some excellent novena prayer books that may include some of these, plus many others that are equally worth praying:
- Treasury of Novenas
- Novenas: Prayers of Intercession and Devotion
- The Church’s Most Powerful Novenas
- Thirty Favorite Novenas
- Catholic Novenas (Pocket Book Series)
- Catholic Book of Novenas
Do you like praying novenas? What are your favorite, powerful novenas? Let me know below in the comments!