Universal Prayer

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Many times I hear these prayers as being  too wordy or lengthy, emotional and even verging as petitions. I know that GIRM has given guidelines on it but are there further rules of the thumb that one could keep in mind when composing them? To differentiate between bidding prayers and prayers of petition?

Praise the Lord for the gift of you to be always available to give advice and enlighten us on the Liturgy-the summit and font of all the Church’s activities.


A: There’s nothing official regarding the composition of the Universal Prayer. Nor does the liturgy of the mass differentiate between bidding prayers and prayers of petition. However, the revised Order of Celebrating Matrimony gives examples in an appendix. These could be used as a guide for length, content and spirit.

As I’ve explained in my book Inseparable Love, many of these come from an unpublished collection of intercessions released by the Vatican in the first years after the council. They give some of the earliest evidence for the purpose of these prayers.