From time to time the task falls to me to draft a text for the Universal Prayer, which is also often called the Prayer of the Faithful or the General Petitions. Whenever I do so, I seek to base the texts I write in the readings assigned for the Mass of the day, in the text of the proper prayers of the Mass, and sometimes on the life of the saint who is celebrated.
Today I am to serve as the Master of Ceremonies during the Holy Mass offered here at the Casa Santa Maria, which today will be celebrated by a visiting Archbishop from the United States of America, word of which only came to the Masters of Ceremonies last evening. In preparation for the Mass, it seemed prudent to prepare a text for the Universal Prayer in case one had not been prepared (I'm not certain if this task is assigned to anyone in particular); it is better to have a prepared text and not use it than to not have a prepared text and need one.
There are certainly those who compose such texts with skill and poetry which far exceeds what I can do, but I thought I might share them with you nonetheless (I have included references at the end of each petition):
Confident that the Lord hears the cry of the poor, let us call out to him in our need (cf. Psalm 34:7).
- For the Christian faithful: may they never refrain from proclaiming the truth of the Gospel out of fear or apathy, let us pray to the Lord (cf. II Timothy 4:16-17).
- For those who govern nations, states, and cities: may they look to the God of justice and be inspired to assist the weak and the oppressed, let us pray to the Lord (cf. Sirach 35:15-16).
- For the Day for the Family: may engaged couples, husbands and wives, children and parents, seek in their daily lives to reflect always the love of Jesus Christ, let us pray to the Lord.
- For each of us: may we continually turn to God, humbly seeking his mercy, and so share what we receive in joyful love, let us pray to the Lord (cf. Luke 18:13).
- For those who feel so crushed by the hardships of life that they wish to end it: may the nearness of the love of God comfort them and strengthen their hope. Let us pray to the Lord (from Pope Francis' prayer intentions for October 2013).
- For the faithful departed: may he who redeemed the lives of his servants bring them swiftly into the glory of his presence, let us pray to the Lord (cf. Psalm 34:23, 3).
If you might find them useful at this late hour, feel free to use them.
Father of mercies,
who are always close to the brokenhearted (cf. Psalm 34:19),
hear the prayers of those who take refuge in you (cf. Psalm 34:23)
and bring us safely to the heavenly kingdom (cf. II Timothy 4:18).
Through Christ our Lord.