What Are the Prayers of the Faithful?

The Prayers of the Faithful are a collection of corporate prayers that are spoken at western liturgical churches, such as Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, and Lutheran churches. As the name suggests, faithful followers of Christ gather together as a church body to make intercessory petitions for the Church, global issues, individuals, and their community.

Are the prayers of the faithful known by other names?

The Prayers of the Faithful also recognized as General Intercessions or Universal Prayer.

What Are Their Origins?
The Prayers of the Faithful were most likely inspired by the public prayers that took place in Jewish synagogues. With the commencement of the Early Church, this practice of making corporate petitions for the community and individuals in need was encouraged by Christian leaders, including Timothy (1 Timothy 2:1-8).

In the second century, the continuation of the Prayers of the Faithful are noted predominantly in the writings of the Christian apologist Justin Martyr. In his First Apology, which was published in AD 155, Justin Martyr addressed the Emperor Antoninus Pius, claiming that Christians were the “best helpers and allies in securing good order” for the Roman Empire.

Accordingly, Christian theologians such as Augustine of Hippo, who lived from AD 354-430, continued the conviction of practicing the Prayers of the Faithful. Augustine of Hippo was even said to have written, “Here we do not speak evil of anyone” on the walls of his lodgings.

By the fourth century, Roman rite mass included nine prayer petitions called “Solemn Prayers of Intercession,” which are still observed at Good Friday Mass today.

Over time, the practice of speaking the Prayers of the Faithful subsided. However, the Second Vatican Council, which mediated between the Catholic Church and modern-day society, reinstated the Prayers of the Faithful as the universal prayer in the 1963 Sacrosanctum Concilium, which is the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.

In Chapter Two, point 53, it states:

Especially on Sundays and feasts of obligation there is to be restored, after the Gospel and the homily, “the common prayer” or “the prayer of the faithful.” By this prayer, in which the people are to take part, intercession will be made for holy Church, for the civil authorities, for those oppressed by various needs, for all mankind, and for the salvation of the entire world.

Are the Prayers of the Faithful Mentioned in the Bible?


The Prayers of the Faithful find their origins in 1 Timothy 2:1-8:

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.

And for this purpose, I was appointed a herald and an apostle — I am telling the truth, I am not lying — and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles. Therefore, I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.

When Are the Prayers of the Faithful Performed during Mass?


Roman rite Mass consists of four parts:

  1. The Introductory Rites
  2. The Liturgy of the Word
  3. The Liturgy of the Eucharist
  4. The Concluding Rites

The Prayers of the Faithful are performed at the conclusion of the Liturgy of the Word.

How Are the Prayers of the Faithful Structured?
The Prayers of the Faithful follow the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, a document providing detailed guidelines on the celebration of Mass and the Roman rite, which is the predominant liturgical rite of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Structure of the Prayers of the Faithful
The Prayers of the Faithful consist of three parts:

  1. A brief introduction by the presider of the liturgy, who invites the congregation to pray.
  2. The speaker of the petitions then proceeds. The congregation is encouraged to vocally affirm the speaker’s petitions by replying with brief invocations such as, “Lord, hear our prayer.”
  3. The conclusion or oration to the Prayers of the Faithful is given by the presider.

Prayer Guidelines
Included in the guidelines is that the following four intentions should be included in all compositions of the Prayers of the Faithful:

  1. Prayer for the Church
  2. Prayer for public and governing authorities and for the salvation of mankind
  3. Prayer for those burdened by adversity or difficulties
  4. Prayer for the local community

The scope of prayer is designed like a funnel, where the petitions are first directed globally and are then tapered down micro-economically.

How Often Are the Prayers of the Faithful Performed in the Church Calendar?
The Prayers of the Faithful are performed at Sunday and weekday mass. They are also performed on special occasions, such as weddings, baptisms, and religious holidays, where the petitions are composed to align with the occasion at hand. They are also performed at funerals.

Who Can Offer the Prayers of the Faithful?
Customarily, the Prayers of the Faithful are performed by deacons or lectors. Often priests perform the petitions during a weekday Mass.

However, the Prayers of the Faithful can also be performed by a cantor, who traditionally sings solo verses or passages during the mass. Alternatively, a lay faithful from the congregation can also present the corporate petitions.

How Effective Are the Prayers of the Faithful?
Matthew 18:20 encourages us that when we come together in prayer, God is in our midst. James 5:16 also states that we should pray for one another, as our righteous petitions are powerful and effective.

Corporate prayer exemplifies the strength of our petitions and evokes intense divine responses, additionally, it also encourages church unity, disciplines us to put other’s needs before our own, and allows us to co-operate with God as the Body of Christ, all of which was Jesus’ aim when He founded the Church.

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Trump Administration Will Spare Bibles from Tariffs on Chinese Goods

The Trump administration has decided to give Bibles a free pass amid an escalating tariff war between the U.S. and China.

In May, Christian publishers began to panic as bibles and other religious texts printed in China, together totaling some 65 percent of the 2018 U.S. brochures and leaflet imports, were set to be slapped with tariffs of up to 25 percent.

On Tuesday, however, the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office (USTR) published two lists of items that will be subjected to a 10% hike in tariff charge starting in September and December respectively — the Bible, USTR said, will be spared from both.

“Bibles and other religious literature are among the items removed from the tariff list and will not face additional tariffs of 10 percent,” USTR confirmed to Christianity Today in a statement.

Christian publishers and Bible translators were becoming increasingly concerned by the Trump administration’s refusal to back down from a trade war with China and repeatedly warned that financial restrictions on the printing of the good book would restrict its proliferation across the globe.

“For the past several months, there has been great concern among the Christian publishing community that our important work would be threatened by proposed tariff schedules,” the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, Ben Mandrell, told CT. “Today’s announcement by [USTR] has given us hope that the administration has heard our concern.”

Mandrell did, however, express concern at the word of God being “taken hostage in an international trade dispute.”

Other items that evaded the tariff charge included child safety seats, cranes used in ports and construction, shipping containers and certain types of fish, according to Reuters. Interestingly, rosaries, which are a staple in Catholic religious practice, remain on the earlier tariff list — they will fall victim to a 10% tax when the new charges come into effect September 1.

Still, the decision to axe tariffs on the importing of Bibles has been widely celebrated by Christian leaders. “I am pleased to see today that US tariffs on China will now exempt the Bibles printed in China,” tweeted Russell Moore, President of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention. The announcement is “welcome news” for many publishers and ministries, he added.

The ERLC also clarified why such an overwhelming proportion of American Bibles are printed in China as opposed to at home in the United States.

“Like encyclopedias and textbooks, Bibles contain a large amount of text that must be formatted to a bound book on thin paper. China has been specializing in this printing technology for decades and is home to the world’s largest Bible-printing company, printing at least 150 million Bibles in 2016,” the ERLC explained. “To import Bibles from a country other than China would require time, extensive quality tests, and higher prices incompatible with the high and consistent demand for Bibles in the United States.”

Source:
https://www.christianheadlines.com/contributors/will-maule/trump-administration-spares-bibles-from-tariffs-on-chinese-goods.html

The U.S. Church Isn’t Dying and Young People Aren’t Fleeing, Says Myth-Busting Book

You’ve likely heard the conventional wisdom: The U.S. church is shrinking. Teenagers and young adults are leaving in droves. Atheism and unbelief are growing rapidly.

But a new book challenges those assumptions – and even says the truth is exactly the opposite.

The book, Myth of the Dying Church: How Christianity Is Actually Thriving in America and the World by author Glenn T. Stanton, asserts that church attendance in the United States is at an all-time high, both in raw numbers and as a percentage of the population. That includes the colonial days.

Stanton also says Americans are more attracted to Bible-believing churches that discuss sin and salvation than to liberal churches that avoid both topics.

Stanton – the director of family formation studies at Focus on the Family – examined multiple studies and bodies of research for the book.

Christian Headlines recently spoke to him. Following is a transcript:

We hear so often that the church is shrinking today – that young people are leaving the faith, and Christianity is disappearing. You say this is not so. Why?

First, as I got into the research while writing the book, I was really surprised how much stronger the data on this topic actually is. It tells this story: The best forms of Christianity, faithful, Bible-teaching churches calling its members to real discipleship and vibrant worship, are holding very strong, even growing in some ways. The most troubling forms, those that’ve compromised on things like the deity of Christ, the historicity of the resurrection, the reality of sin and miracles as well as caving on issues of sexuality, abortion and homosexuality, those churches are hemorrhaging members by the millions and have been for decades. So the story here is a separating of the wheat and the tares, but certainly not a decline of Christianity.

So America is not becoming more secular, more unbelieving?

Not in terms of the people themselves. Yes, our culture seems to be in terms of media, Hollywood and journalists. But when it comes to people themselves, there is certainly not a mass move toward unbelief. I read an article recently from a major conservative news source that said atheism is the largest “religious” group in our nation. Not even close, for goodness sake. The Pew Research Center tells us that only 3 percent of the U.S. population is atheist. Only 4 percent are agnostics. For the people of truth, we can spread a great deal of falsehood. I’m trying to change that through this book.

We hear so much about the growth of the so-called “nones” – those who say they no longer identify with any institutional church. You say these “nones” are not what most people have been told–that they don’t represent a growing population of new unbelievers. Explain what you mean.

The nones are certainly the most misunderstood, and therefore most misreported, part of the story in all of this. Most leading, university-based sociologists of religion explain these are certainly not a new and growing category of unbelievers. The nones are largely those who were never really attached to a church in the first place. They are folks who might have said, “Yes, I’m Methodist” or “I’m Baptist” but they were actually only CEO Christians… Christmas and Easter Only types. Their pastor never knew who they were. But now, based on how survey questions are being asked, they are more comfortable being honest, saying they have no real connection to any institutional church.

Thus, the nones only mark a new categorization, not new unbelievers. Again, like the Harvard/Indiana research and other sources explain, there is not a growing secularization among people in the United States.

We also hear about young people leaving the church in largenumbers–that they are losing interest in matters of faith. You say that’s not true. What did you discover?

This is a very interesting finding of the book. First, we must know that every generation has seen their young people cool their faith practices. If you read the Puritans of the colonial days, they complained about the very troubling secularization of their young people. There never was a golden age of stalwart young believers. Goodness, look at the kids of the parents that had direct, audible intimacy with God. Cain killing Abel could be understood as “walking away from the faith.” The Prodigal Son also. So this age of development has always seen more “independence” in many areas of life. It’s the nature of moving into one’s own adulthood. Nothing new there.

But the truth is that we have more young people, age 18-29, regularly attending church today than in the early 1970s. That was the time of the really remarkable revival of the Jesus Movement. And where are they going? To the more conservative, vibrant evangelical churches.

Young people are not bailing on biblical Christianity. It speaks to the emptiness of the human heart and soul, and it does so to young adults.

People will often tell Christians they need to get with the times, stop talking about sin, miracles, salvation and start accepting things like gay marriage, sexual freedom and abortion or the church will die. You claim the exact opposite is true. Why?

This is one of the strongest and most interesting findings of the book. I included a chapter in the book, one I didn’t originally plan on, entitled “Stick a Fork in It: The Major Fail of Liberal Christianity.” It’s time to call the liberalizing effort in the church a major failure. People are voting with their feet. They are leaving the liberal, compromising churches in massive numbers. Some of those are just tossing the faith while others are going across the street to the more faithful evangelical churches, those that actually believe Christianity is true.

Get this very interesting finding: Two scholars from Columbia University and UCLA investigated where same-sex attracted individuals who attend church, choose to go. To their utter shock –they are very pro-gay researchers –they found that such people are 2.5 times more likely to attend more conservative churches, those holding an unapologetically biblical stance on sexuality. These scholars could not understand why gay- and lesbian-identified folks would choose to go to such “gay-hostile” churches. Well, maybe they find them to be quite kind and gracious, and the Bible teaching and worship enriching to their lives. The very people the rainbow flag-waving “we welcome all” churches are trying to attract are not interested in their liberalizing compromises. We must never forget that people will be attracted to the loving and truthful presentation of Christ’s life-giving Gospel.

What’s happening with the Christian church around the globe? Is there any good news there?

Oh goodness. Philip Jenkins from Baylor University is perhaps the leading sociologist of religion on the global picture. He says the Christian Church is absolutely exploding in most parts of the world, particularly what scholars call the Global South. It is exploding on the African continent, South America, China and throughout many parts of Asia. God’s Word is doing everything but returning void.

It is important for us to have faith in the unquenchable work of the Holy Spirit. What He did at Pentecost, where “many were being continually added to their numbers daily,” He is still doing today. His character and power dictates that He cannot do otherwise. The Church is in very good hands.

So not only is the “church is dying” mantra bad sociology, but it’s also bad theology.

Source:
https://www.christianheadlines.com/contributors/michael-foust/the-u-s-church-isn-t-dying-and-young-people-aren-t-fleeing-says-myth-busting-book.html