I don't believe in memes, in the sense that the term was meant when it was invented, so I'm not going to call this a meme. Theme is a perfectly good word for it, a conversational topic passed around in a sort of game, and Pentimento tagged me with this one: what are your three favorite prayers?
1) I'm going to start by cheating and counting the Our Father and the Hail Mary as one, because I usually say them together. A rosary-induced habit, I guess. (They're like Coca-Cola and Golden Flake Potato Chips: "'Great pair,' says the Bear." Southerners of a certain age will recognize that.) I learned the Our Father as a child (we called it the Lord's Prayer, which really I like better). I learned the Hail Mary not long before I became a Catholic. I never had the resistance to it that many Protestants seem to. It seemed immediately meaningful and perfectly natural to me to pray to a woman, the mother of God, and I had no problem understanding that she is not herself God.
2) The Chaplet of Mercy. You can see why this devotion has become so popular: so many of us feel that there is some desperate emergency happening, at both the individual and cultural levels. I felt that God was speaking to me--and that's not a feeling I have very often--when I read "I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy." Well, I really am not capable of very much in the way of virtue and devotion, but dang it I can trust in His mercy.
3) The Apostle's Creed. Not a prayer, exactly, but saying it is a form of devotion. I learned this in my early teens, when I was confirmed in the Methodist Church, and I don't think there is anything I ever learned in school that was so important. It sank into me, somehow, and even during the years when I didn't believe, I knew that this was what I didn't believe, and that anyone who claimed to believe but could not affirm this in a straightforward way did not really believe. It inoculated me against theological modernism. Most importantly, it gives me strength, a sense of being grounded, a renewal of hope and purpose. "The resurrection of the body and the life everlasting." Yes. Yes. Yes.