40 Episcopal Prayers Of The People

The Book of Common Prayer St. James Episcopal Church
The Book of Common Prayer St. James Episcopal Church from stjamesgreeneville.org

Episcopal Prayers of the People


As an integral part of the Episcopal liturgy, the Prayers of the People hold a special place in the hearts of Episcopalians worldwide. This cherished tradition allows the congregation to collectively offer their petitions, intercessions, and thanksgivings to God. With its roots dating back to the early Church, this ancient practice continues to unite the faithful in a powerful way. In this article, we will explore the significance and structure of the Episcopal Prayers of the People, diving deeper into its purpose and how it enhances the worship experience.

What Are the Prayers of the People?

The Prayers of the People, also known as the General Intercessions or the Universal Prayer, are a vital component of the Episcopal liturgy. Typically offered after the sermon and before the Eucharistic celebration, these prayers provide an opportunity for the congregation to collectively voice their concerns, hopes, and gratitude to God. It is a moment of communal prayer where the needs of the Church, the world, and individuals are lifted up before God's throne.

The Purpose and Importance of the Prayers of the People

The Prayers of the People serve multiple purposes within the Episcopal worship service. Firstly, they allow the congregation to participate actively in the liturgy, engaging in a meaningful dialogue with God and one another. By offering their own prayers and petitions, the faithful become active co-creators of the worship experience, fostering a sense of community and shared responsibility.

Secondly, these prayers serve as a way to intercede for the needs of the Church and the world. Through the Prayers of the People, Episcopalians lift up the sick, the suffering, the marginalized, and those in positions of authority, asking God to bring healing, justice, and peace to all. It is a powerful act of solidarity and empathy, reminding the faithful of their call to love and care for others.

Furthermore, the Prayers of the People enable individuals to express their own personal thanksgivings and supplications. Whether it is a celebration of a birth, a successful recovery from an illness, or a plea for guidance in times of uncertainty, these prayers allow Episcopalians to share their joys and burdens with the wider faith community, seeking solace and support in their collective faith.

The Structure of the Prayers of the People

The structure of the Prayers of the People follows a specific pattern, ensuring a balance between the collective and individual prayers. Typically, it consists of several sections, each focusing on a particular aspect of prayer.

Opening Dialogue

The Prayers of the People typically begin with an opening dialogue between the priest and the congregation. This serves as an invitation to prayer and sets the tone for the collective supplications that will follow. The priest may say, "Let us pray for the Church and for the world," to which the congregation responds, "Lord, hear our prayer."

Prayers for the Church

The next section of the Prayers of the People is dedicated to praying for the Church. Here, the congregation offers intercessions for the clergy, the laity, and the various ministries within the Church. It is a time to lift up the needs, challenges, and growth of the local parish and the wider Episcopal Church.

Prayers for the World

Following the prayers for the Church, the congregation directs their intercessions towards the world. Here, they pray for peace, justice, the end of violence, relief from poverty, and the well-being of all people. It is a moment to acknowledge the interconnectedness of humanity and the Church's role in promoting compassion and social transformation.

Prayers for the Sick and Suffering

In this section, the congregation lifts up prayers for those who are sick, suffering, or in any kind of distress. It is an opportunity to remember and offer support to individuals and communities facing physical, emotional, or spiritual challenges. The Prayers of the People provide a space to seek God's healing and comfort for those in need.

Prayers for the Departed

The next part of the Prayers of the People focuses on remembering and praying for the departed. The congregation offers intercessions for those who have died, asking for God's mercy, grace, and eternal rest. It is a moment to honor the memory of loved ones and commend them into God's loving embrace.


Following the prayers for the departed, the congregation has an opportunity to express their thanksgivings. Here, they offer gratitude for answered prayers, blessings, and joys in their lives. It is a time to recognize and celebrate God's faithfulness and provision.


The Prayers of the People are a cherished tradition within the Episcopal Church, providing a space for collective prayer, intercession, and thanksgiving. Through this ancient practice, Episcopalians actively engage in the worship service, fostering a sense of community and shared responsibility. These prayers serve as a reminder of the Church's call to love and care for others, interceding for the needs of the Church, the world, and individuals. Whether it is lifting up the sick, praying for peace, or expressing personal thanksgivings, the Prayers of the People allow the faithful to connect with God and one another in a profound and transformative way.


Episcopal Church. (n.d.). Liturgical Resources. The Episcopal Church. https://episcopalchurch.org/liturgical-resources

Episcopal Church. (n.d.). The Book of Common Prayer. The Episcopal Church. https://www.episcopalchurch.org/files/book_of_common_prayer.pdf