Lord, Hear Our Prayer

The Universal Prayer

What Not to Miss

  • Having listened to the Scriptures and reaffirmed our baptismal faith, we conclude and respond to the Liturgy of the Word by praying to God for the entire world. This is an exercise of our baptismal priesthood.
  • This part of the liturgy will vary more from parish to parish than other parts because it is composed by and for the local community. It's universal because it is a prayer for everyone, not because it is the same everywhere.
  • The Universal Prayer is introduced and concluded by the priest. It takes the form of a series of intercessions spoken by a deacon or lay minister.
  • Each petition typically ends with “We pray to the Lord.” Our usual response is “Lord, hear our prayer.”
  • According to the missal, we should usually pray for the following in this order: the needs of the Church, public authorities and the salvation of the whole world, those burdened by any kind of difficulty, and the local community.
  • We can also pray for special intentions, especially if we're at a wedding, funeral, or Confirmation Mass.
  • The petitions of the Universal Prayer are a natural segue into the Liturgy of the Eucharist, in which Christ is offered for the salvation of the world.

Next Time You Go to Mass...

  • Remember that as a Christian, part of your mission is to pray for the Church and the whole world. Intercession is a major way we participate in the priesthood of Jesus.
  • Make each petition your own as you listen and respond.

Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.

This collect prayer begins the Mass for Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Jesus is calling us to "take up battle against spiritual evils." We'll explore fasting itself in a few weeks; during the week of Ash Wednesday, we're going to dig into an important set of weapons the Lord gives us to fight evil: sacramentals.

What's a sacramental? Well, if you attend Mass on Ash Wednesday, you're probably going to receive one on your forehead.