Writing Prayers of the Faithful for Mass

Okay, so this question is really specialized.

Does anyone have experience teaching children how to write prayer intentions for the Prayers of the Faithful at Mass?

Does anyone have a sure-fire way to write out prayer intentions that are different every time, but maintain some consistency?

Thanks for any advice, resources or recommendations!

Here’s what the GIRM has to say:

The Prayer of the Faithful
69. In the Prayer of the Faithful, the people respond in a certain way to the word of God which they have welcomed in faith and, exercising the office of their baptismal priesthood, offer prayers to God for the salvation of all. It is fitting that such a prayer be included, as a rule, in Masses celebrated with a congregation, so that petitions will be offered for the holy Church, for civil authorities, for those weighed down by various needs, for all men and women, and for the salvation of the whole world.67

  1. As a rule, the series of intentions is to be
For the needs of the Church;
For public authorities and the salvation of the whole world;
For those burdened by any kind of difficulty;
For the local community. 

Nevertheless, in a particular celebration, such as Confirmation, Marriage, or a Funeral, the series of intentions may reflect more closely the particular occasion.

  1. It is for the priest celebrant to direct this prayer from the chair. He himself begins it with a brief introduction, by which he invites the faithful to pray, and likewise he concludes it with a prayer. The intentions announced should be sober, be composed freely but prudently, and be succinct, and they should express the prayer of the entire community.

The intentions are announced from the ambo or from another suitable place, by the deacon or by a cantor, a lector, or one of the lay faithful.68

The people, however, stand and give expression to their prayer either by an invocation said together after each intention or by praying in silence.

So, I would say, stick to the four intentions mentioned above for consistency and add prayers appropriate to the time and place.

I often try to work in the scriptures of the particular Sunday of Mass if at all possible. (i.e. mentioning Jesus weeping at Lazarus’ death in an intention for the dead).

I write the POF in our parish. I have always been taught to make it simple. God knows our needs so we don’t need to write these long drawn out petitions. I always start with “For…” and I never or rarely add a “that…”

For example from this past Sunday. "For the Church: for our pope, bishops and clergy who like the Good Shepherd lead us ever closer to salvation.

For an increase in vocations: for more young people to answer God’s call to serve Him is ordained ministry, and religious life, and for all those discerning a vocation.

For government officials, for all who enact laws and especially for laws that protect and respect all human life.

For all of us here present, for a greater openness to hearing the voice of the Good Shepherd, and for an increase in our love and devotion to Christ.

For all our second graders who received Jesus for the first time in Holy Communion. for their families and catechists, and for a greater awareness of the great gift of the Eucharist.

I usually have 6-8 petitions, always adding one for “the poor, the unemployed, etc.” and for the sick and the deceased where I name those who have been reported sick or deceased during the week. We also add the name of the person or persons the Mass is offered for.

I would give each child a small piece of paper with one of the headings:

For the church
For the world an its leaders
For the local community
For the sick and suffering
For those who have died and those who miss them

I then tell them what the theme for the week is and ask each to write a small prayer on the topic they have been given. I would advise them not to tell God what to do.

Then they can read their prayers to each other, this should help them to see if what they have written makes sense, they can all say what is good about each prayer and suggest no more than one improvement. Finally collect in the prayers, go through them with the writer if there is a problem and then practice reading them!

Waterbrook! THAT is a sure-fire lesson plan for writing intentions! Why, oh why couldn’t I figure that out!!!

Excellent, and THANK YOU for posting! I will write this up as a regular “lesson plan” for my files, and use it beginning next week. I sure appreciate your time.

You are very welcome! Remember to adapt acording to the age of the children. young children may need a writing frame…ie some sentence starters. You can model writing an intercession for the chn before they are ‘let loose’ on the task. Good Luck.

There is a book about this: Preparing the General Intercessions, by Michael Kwatera, published by Liturgical Press in 1996, ISBN 081462362X . The blurb on the back begins: “Preparing the General Intercessions is not a collection of ready-to-pray intercessions but rather a guide to preparing them from scratch and samples to assist the writers.”

Thank you, JL. This is a task that is a part of my regular schedule as a teacher, and for every subject I teach, I do like to read up on it. I will certainly check out this book. Appreciate your time and suggestion.


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