Following the election of Pope Francis, I adapted and continued to say the following prayer, which I had originally started to say in the reign of Pope Benedict. You are all familiar with it, I'm sure:
Let us pray for our Holy Father, Pope Francis.Some way into the present pontificate, I began to struggle with the words of the prayer. I had a sense of facing a barrier, an increasing reluctance. It was a strange experience, and made me rather unhappy.
May the Lord preserve him, give him long life, make him blessed upon the earth, and not hand him over to the power of his enemies.
You are Peter;
And upon this Rock I will build My Church.
Let us pray:
God our Father, Shepherd and Guide, look with love on Your servant, Pope Francis, the Pastor of Your Church. Grant that his word and example may inspire and guide the Church, and that he, and all those entrusted to his care, may come to the joy of everlasting life. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Mother of the Church, pray for us.
Saint Peter, pray for us.
And yet of course it is very - very - important to pray for Pope Francis. Some weeks ago I decided to switch to what is perhaps a fairly standard set of prayers for the Pope, often recommended to accompany a work for an indulgence: the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father, and the Hail Holy Queen. They are less directional, and also less emotional, than the specific prayer quoted above. I pray most earnestly for our present Pope , but I prefer to leave the details to the Lord. I am surprised to observe how much more peaceful I feel for having done this.