The Wedding Prayer of the Faithful is the concluding part of the rite of marriage. These Intercessory prayers are intended for the larger needs of the world, the Church, and the community. Typically, guidelines are being followed to create a wedding intercession that will sound noble and fitting to the occasion.
What are the Prayers of the Faithful?
Prayers of the Faithful or, in other terms, General Intercessions, Universal Prayer, Prayers of the People, and Petition are a series of prayers that form a part of the liturgy that are being spoken at western liturgical churches, such as Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, and Lutheran churches.
These intercessory prayers serve as a petition for the Church, global issues, individuals, and the community in general. They have presented as requests for things that the soon-to-be-married couple and the faith community desire from God.
The Structure and Guidelines of the Prayers of the Faithful
The Roman Missal serves as a general instruction for the creation of the Prayers of Faithful.
The Prayers of the Faithful consists of the following parts:
- The universal prayer begins with a brief introduction by the priest or deacon. Then, the intentions are announced by the chosen reader.
- The priest or the deacon will begin with a brief introduction.
- Then, the intentions are announced by a reader. It should be noted that the “reader” can be one of the people who read the first or second reading, or it may be someone else. Typically, there are five or six brief and simple intentions that can be selected.
- Following each intention, the reader says…”let us pray to the lord” to which the assembly responds “Lord, hear our prayer.”
- After the last intention, the completion of Prayers of Faithful will be ended up by the priest or deacon with a concluding prayer.
The guideline follows a definitive structure for the intercessions in Masses celebrated with the people in the following sequence:
i. Prayer(s) for the needs of the Church;
ii. Prayer(s) for public authorities and the salvation of the whole world;
iii. Prayer(s) for those burdened by any kind of difficulty;
iv. Prayer(s) for the local community.
For a given celebration such as a wedding, intercessions may also be expanded such as:
v. Prayer(s) for the Married Persons;
vi. Prayer(s) for the deceased or sick friends or relatives;
vii. Prayer(s) for friends and relatives who could not be at the wedding;
viii. Prayer(s) for parents, godparents, and others who have been influential in the couple lives;
ix. Prayer(s) for the parish and school communities of which the person has been a part; or
x. Prayer(s) for any personal intentions.
Examples of the Wedding Prayers of the Faithful
For the wedding liturgy, the soon-to-be-married couples may opt to use the suggested prayers by the Catholic Churches and parishes, intercession books, homily resource services, or liturgical calendars. However, these can be modified and personalized in conformance with the liturgy norms and guidelines.
The “Pre-Packaged” Prayers of the Faithful
It is not uncommon to find “pre-packaged” Prayers of faithful in the Churches and parishes.
For convenience purposes, listed are some of the readily available wedding Prayers of faithful:
St. Sabina Parish, MO, provides a series of templates on their official website. One notable example is as follows:
Prayers of the Faithful
”Dear brothers and sisters, let us accompany this new family with our prayers, that the mutual love of this couple may grown daily and that God in his kindness will sustain all families throughout the world.”
- For this bride and groom, and for their well-being as a family…we pray to the Lord.
- For their relatives and friends, and for all who have assisted this couple…we pray to the Lord.
- For young people preparing to enter Marriage, and for all whom the Lord is calling to another state in life…we pray to the Lord.
- For all families throughout the world and for lasting peace among all people…we pray to the Lord.
- For all members of our families who have passed from this world, and for all the departed…we pray to the Lord.
- For the Church, the holy People of God, and for unity among all Christians…we pray to the Lord.
Presider: (Reader remains at microphone until prayer is concluded with “Amen.”)
”Lord Jesus, who are present in our midst, as N and N seal their union, accept our prayer and fill us with your Spirit. You, who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.”
Another sample from The Saint John Vianney Church, OH, where not only intentions for the Church and the leaders are given but additional prayers are selected for the married persons, their future lives as a partner, the sick and in need friends, and their personal intentions:
- For our Holy Father on earth, the Pope, all the bishops and the clergy everywhere that they may lead us to deeper faith in God and a stronger love for others, let us pray to the Lord.
- For our president and all leaders of government that they may be effective in achieving peace and eliminating poverty, let us pray to Lord.
- For married persons that they may continue to give, be able to forgive, and find happiness deepen with the passing of each day, let us pray to Lord.
- For N. and N., now beginning their life together, that they may have divine assistance at every moment, the constant support of friends, the rich blessing of children, a warm love reaching out to other, and good health until a ripe old age, let us pray to the Lord.
- For those who are sick, lonely, discouraged, or oppressed that they may be strengthened by God’s help and aided by their friends, let us pray to the Lord.
- For those who have died, especially the relatives and friends of N. and N. and of all present for this wedding, that they may enjoy perfect happiness and total fulfillment in eternal life, let us pray to the Lord.
- For these personal needs which we mention now in silence (pause), let us pray to the Lord.
Modifying and Personalizing Intentions for the Prayer of the Faithful
Modification of the widely available “Pre-Packaged” prayers is an option for the individual’s specific needs and circumstances.
For those who wish to personally write their Wedding Prayers of Faithful, a few guidelines are provided to keep the composition reverent, relevant, and readable. A copy of the finished drafted prayer shall be sent to the local priest or the presider beforehand.
According to St. Joseph Catholic Church, IN. The intercessions are usually expressed in one of three forms:
First, is the Full Form (“For…that”) which answers who and what it is to be prayed for.
”For Christians everywhere, that the world may see our love for one another and come to believe…we pray to the Lord.”
Next, is the Partial Form (“That…”) which mentions the favor to be requested.
“That all married couples in the world come to know the steadfast love of God, we pray to the Lord.”
Lastly, is the Second Partial Form (“For…”) which announces only those being prayed for.
“For all of our guests gathered here with us today. May they enjoy the warm company of family and friends and have safe travel on their journey home. We pray to the Lord…”
The general guidelines and structure written above shall be the core basis of the content of the petitions. One or more petitions may be selected from each of the guideline categories.
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee listed general principles to consider in writing an own version of Prayers of the Faithful.
- “General” intercessions do not necessarily mean generic. The creation of wedding petitions shall be within the interest of all the people present in the assembly.
“For our country and those who defend it. May our men and women who serve in the military be kept safe from all harm. We pray to the Lord…”
- Petitions are not meant to list the things to be thankful for. The main purpose is to ask God, not to thank God.
“For those who are sick, lonely, or depressed. May they be strengthened by God’s love and aided by friends and family. We pray to the Lord…”
- Be poetic. Use words that engage and stir the whole assembly’s heart, imagination and desire.
- Be concise. Crafting good petitions need not be lengthy. Shorter phrases tend to have a movement and pace that makes the prayer more compelling.
- Be consistent. Petitions shall be made with uniformity. Refer to the “Forms”.
- Consider being musical. Prayer in the form of singing adds well to the solemnity of the entire prayer as a whole.
- Be mindful of the liturgical assembly. The presider, though may be capable of reading the intercessions, should do only his job of presiding, a reader shall be selected for the petition reading or a cantor if the prayers are sung.
- These are prayers of the “faithful”. The creation of these prayers shall not deviate with the General Instruction of the Roman Missal that the “faithful” shall offer prayers to God for the salvation of all.
- Follow the sequence. Prayers shall always be in conformance with general instruction outlined in the structure section.
- Know the world around you. Current events and general information in the local and global communities are a great help in the creation of more meaningful intercessions.
Selecting Readers for the Liturgy
Customarily, the priest or the deacon will act as the presider and will provide a brief introduction and call the assembly before the announcement of intentions.
The primary reader of the petitions shall be the deacon, or in his absence, the second lector takes the function. In the case that the prayers are sung, the cantor will take place of the role.
Alternatively, a lay faithful – often couple’s family members or close friends from the congregation can also present the petitions.
The selection of the Prayers of Faithful for the “Big Day” can be one of the exciting parts of the wedding ceremony planning. To date, there has been a wide selection of pre-package prayers that the couple may opt to use. On the other hand, putting a personal touch on these prayers may be more engaging as long as it keeps within certain guidelines.