I first heard this prayer as I sat in a classroom in Drimnagh Castle Catholic School on the outskirts of Dublin Ireland. The Christian brother who recited the prayer went on to inform us, in no uncertain terms, “that we should NOT ask God for things because God already knows what we need.”
Recently, I found that St Augustine (the author of the prayer) believed the same thing. He said that we should instead acquire a deeper faith that God will provide.
I love how this prayer mentions “Breathe in me O Holy Spirit,” similar to the way John 20:22 mentions “He breathed on them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” at Pentecost.
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Breathe in me O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.