Prayer of the Faithful
The Universal Prayer
Father David Jones
For most of the beginning of Mass our voice is silent. We break our silence to say “amen” to let God know that we hear him, we agree, we intend to be obedient to Him. Even the responsorial psalm is a kind of an “amen”.
The first time we really stand and use our full voice is to give glory to God, to sing the Gloria. Then at the Universal Prayer we really open up our mouths and our hearts to speak, to respond to God.
The Universal Prayer is huge and vast. We focus to cry out in a loud voice that covers everything, every need in our universe. We pray with and for each and all of us, throughout the world. It’s big!
First we are asked to pray for the Church. That she may be what she is supposed to be and do what she is supposed to do forever and ever.
Second we are asked to pray for the world. That she is governed and respected as a creation of God. We are asked to pray that she conduct herself appropriately and lovingly so that human dignity grows and that our cups overflow with love.
Then it is in that context, that order that we are mindful of those who are misfortunate, left behind, forgotten and needing to be pulled back from being out of sight, out of mind, out of touch and out of reach. Each one, reach one! Reach out and touch somebody’s hand! Reconnect! Reconcile, so no child, senior, sister or brother is left behind.
Then we speak to God about who and what is right in front of us, right here in prayer with us and right in our heart.
While these petitions should be sober and succinct, most importantly, they should be OUR PRAYER. They should be distinct from my personal and private prayer. They should raise something to God that concern and benefits the entire community so that the entire voice of the Body of Christ can cry out “hear our prayer!”