The Universal Prayer

To my mind, one of the most remarkable prayers ever written was one attributed to Pope Clement XI. He was Pope from 1700-1721. The prayer is called “universal”  because of its sweeping themes. Upon completing it one may well ask if anything was left out, and one would have to conclude, likely not!

If you are looking for a prayer to set on your night stand, this is surely one of them. I often pray this prayer when my mind is dull. I admire its beauty and style. It is deeply personal and humble. It is not trite but neither is it stuffy. One of my favorite sections is this:

Let me love you, my Lord and my God,
And see myself as I really am:
A pilgrim in this world,
A Christian called to respect and love
All whose lives I touch,
Those under my authority,
My friends and my enemies

As beautiful and helpful as the Universal Prayer is, it is almost unknown. It is a bit longish to reproduce fully here on the blog page but I have made a PDF you can open, download or print. You can get it here:   THE UNIVERSAL PRAYER

Here also is a video wherein the prayer is recited. Now off to prayer with you!

I’m in the Holy Land this week until November 8th. I have scheduled blogs that will appear each day while I’m away so stay tuned! My participation in the comments however may be a little light since my time with the internet will be sporadic. Comments will be moderated by someone else on the team and I’ll participate when I can. – Msgr Pope.

21 Replies to “The Universal Prayer”

  1. I was just reading this prayer the other day in my old missal and thinking the same thing. This is definitely a prayer that should be more well known.

    1. Yes, I forget when I first read it but a do remember having the same impression. I often use the prayer for the beginning of a retreat group and even ocassionally a staff meeting. It is a very fruitful and rich prayer!

  2. I went through RCIA six years ago and bought myself a daily misal. In it I found this prayer and I have often recited it since. I find it the perfect prayer!

  3. This is a wonderful prayer.
    Where might I find the original?
    I have friends who are not English-speaking, and would like to pass it on to them.

    1. What I have reproduced is the full prayer and you can see it by clicking on the link in the article I wrote. There is a blue line at the bottom just above the video “The Universal Prayer” or just click on this: I think Susan has also given a like for futher resoureces. The original of this prayer is in Latin. I am sure if you google on “Universal Prayer Clement” you’ll find it in other languages

  4. Eureka……. I have the hidden treasure of the catholic faith. Yes it is Pope Clement’s prayer
    I wonder how our ancestors forgot to make it popular
    Of course public memory is short .But this is and must not be the answer. Atlast I found it . I will make it popular in India within my domain

  5. I was given this prayer by a priest up at the Holy Land Monestary (by the Basilica)…I call it St Francis’ Prayer on Steroids!

  6. I like the prayer, it humbles a person. This is the first time I heard a prayer that includes until death because most prayers are full of requests for blessings.

    1. Yes, I agree. TOo may modern prayers ask God to fix things but this prayer asks him to fix me. It is not wrong to ask for both but we have too much of the first today and not enough of the second. Our biggest problem is our sin and stubbornnes. These are far more serious that issues of physical health or finances and the like.

  7. Thank you for sharing this beautiful prayer of Pope Clement XI. I’m going to share this to my fellow Marian Movement of Priest members here in Philippines.

    As observation, many were confused especially among catholics even in the office where i work we are forced by our head during our tuesday prayer to pray on the so called “Universal Prayer” a kind of prayer open to all denominations but then as catholic i have a deep understanding and therefore, value the richness of our prayer.

  8. Thank you Msgr Charles for this very beautiful prayer, i like the topic that you have chosen. That is also my prayer to God and God alone. Take care always and God bless you always.

  9. I got the full text of the universal prayer and got it translated in Tamil ( a south Indian language .a classical language similar to Latin) and I have sent to various magazines for publicationThank you for bringing out the hidden treasures of the catholic church .Please bring to light the other hidden jewels Thank you

    1. please post the tamil translation of that prayer
      or please kindly send to my email?
      it is not available in net

  10. Msgr. Charles Pope, with all due respect, I have spent the greater part of the last hour carefully revising the version you posted of the Universal Prayer back to its truest English translation. If you liked the ‘watered-down’, modern-American, non-Catholic version (which your commenters and I loved)… just wait until you pray the authentic version which is beautifully Catholic!!! There were whole paragraphs that were omitted and multiple meanings changed as you will see. Put them side by side and it might amaze you in what was left out.

    I do intend to add this most excellent prayer to my daily offering prayers. Thank you so very much for sharing it. I do intend to share it with others…. as a treasure found. I hope you don’t mind me encouraging you to share the truer English translation with your followers. All for Him! Joyrunr


    (attributed to Pope Clement XI)

    Lord, I believe in Thee: may I believe more strongly. I trust in Thee: may I hope more confidently. I love Thee: may I love Thee more ardently. I am sorry for my sins: may I have a deeper sorrow.
    I adore Thee as my first beginning, I long for Thee as my last end. I praise Thee as my constant benefactor. I invoke Thee as my gracious protector.
    Guide me by Thy wisdom, restrain me with Thy justice, comfort me with Thy mercy, protect me with Thy power.
    I offer Thee, Lord, my thoughts, that they may rise to Thee; my words, that they may speak of Thee; my actions, that they may follow Thy Will; my sufferings, that they may be borne for Thee.
    I want to do what Thou will, because Thou will it, in the way Thou will it, for as long as Thou will it.
    I beg of Thee, Lord, to enlighten my understanding, to inflame my will, to purify my heart, and to sanctify my soul.
    I beg Thee that pride may not infect me; that neither flattery may affect me, nor the world deceive me; and that the devil may not trap me in his snares.
    Grant me the grace to purify my memory, to guard my tongue, to take custody of my eyes, and to mortify my senses.
    May I weep for my past sins, resist future temptations, correct my evil inclinations, and cultivate the virtues I should have.
    O God, grant that I may love Thee and despise myself, have love for my neighbor, and contempt for the world.
    May I strive to obey my superiors, assist those under me, be attentive to my friends, and forgiving of my enemies.
    May I conquer sensuality with austerity, greed with generosity, anger with meekness, and tepidity with fervor.
    Make me prudent in my decisions, steadfast in dangers, patient in adversity, and humble in prosperity.
    O Lord, make me attentive at prayer, temperate at my meals, diligent in my duties, and firm in my resolutions.
    May my conscience be pure, my exterior modest, my conversation edifying, and my life well-ordered.
    May I be ever-watchful in mastering my natural impulses, corresponding to Thy grace, keeping Thy law, and obtaining salvation.
    May I obtain holiness through a sincere confession of my sins, a devout reception of the Body of Christ, a continual recollection of spirit, and a pure intention of heart.
    May I learn from Thee the nothingness of this world, the greatness of heaven, the shortness of time, and the length of eternity.
    Grant that I may prepare for death, fear Thy judgment, escape hell, and obtain heaven.
    Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Comments are closed.