There are priests, and laity of a more traditional bent, who advocate priests praying the first Eucharistic Prayer, aka the Roman Canon, predominantly if not exclusively. They bemoan the multiplication of Eucharistic prayers: the 1970s Missal featured, as I understand, four main Eucharistic prayers, but somewhere about that time came three for Masses predominantly with children, still later came two "reconciliation" prayers, and still later, came a "Swiss prayer" that actually has four variations--that is 13, if you are counting.
I have to say, I rather like using different Eucharistic prayers, although I like the ones for children the least. Many of us priests like to vary things, and a new priest, as I was at one time, will want to try out things that are provided for in the Missal.
That said, over the past couple of years, I have stepped back from this.
I considered that, from the perspective of folks in the pews, if they come to Mass 60 times a year, and I use all these prayers regularly, that's too much variety, too little regularity. How would they become familiar with any of these prayers? How vivid would they be for the faithful? And it conveys the idea that everything is up for grabs.
So I decided some time back that I wouldn't use the Swiss prayers or the reconciliation prayers on Sunday at all, and for daily Mass, I use them sparingly. I don't use the second prayer--the shortest one--for Sundays, and for holy days, only for the early morning or noon Mass, since folks have to get to work. I do use prayers three and four for Sundays.
From my first days as a priest, I have tried to use the Roman prayer frequently, I really don't get why priests shy away from it. I think I know why, even if I don't care to speculate publicly; but I don't find those reasons very persuasive.
Well, during Lent, I have found myself using the Roman Canon quite a bit. For one reason, the priest has the option of including prayers for those to be baptized, so I am using it for the Masses with the scrutinies--i.e., for the catechumens. But I noticed something yesterday--another reason to pray it--it anticipates the liturgies of the Triduum. The section, after the Mystery of Faith, known as "the offering," includes the following language. "...look with favor on these offerings, and accept them as once you accepted the gifts of your servant Abel, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the bread and wine offered by your priest Melchizedek..."
As I was praying it the other day, I thought: when do we hear about Abraham's sacrifice--and I realized, at the Vigil! (At least we will, this year, as we will have all the readings for the first time.) And we hear about Melchizedek on Holy Thursday. I can't recall when Abel comes up, but perhaps one of the readers can fill that in.
Another reason to pray the Roman Canon is that it conveys a strong sense of the Real Presence. All the Eucharistic prayers convey the real presence and a sense of sacrifice--contrary to the allegations of some so-called traditionalists--but the Roman Canon expresses them rather strongly. (As does the fourth prayer, in my judgment.)
Some will be surprised by this, but--I think the Roman Canon makes sense for younger children. Here's why I say that. As far as the language of the prayers, they are all over the head of young children; and they are all "too long." But the Roman Canon has two features that would seem to appeal to younger children.
First, you often hear how people need to say something back to the priest to be engaged--well, the Roman Canon includes that option: there are four points where the priest can say, "through Christ our Lord," inviting the people to respond, "Amen." Three of them are routinely omitted (including by me)--but there they are.
Second, the Roman Canon has the most "visuals"--which, if you want to keep children engaged, are helpful, along with singing. During the Roman Canon, the priest has more gestures and bows (which too many priests omit, I don't know why). If you're five, you may not find the words very engaging, but at least the priest is doing something curious. This is a good reason to use the bells, and also a reason to use incense, and shame on the parents who talk their children into being afraid of it. On the other hand, if you do as so many priests do, and take out singing (I mean on their part), incense, bells, gestures, what do you have? Some guy up there talking, talking, talking... What fun for the not-very-engaged!
Still other reasons to use the Roman Canon: it makes clear we care about something called the "Holy, Catholic Church," and that our faith "comes to us from the Apostles." That "final damnation" is something we need help to avoid as we seek "well being and redemption."
And, I think it does a very good job of conveying the idea of the Church as a unity that embraces this world and the next, as we pray for the living at one point, and seamlessly, for the dead, with "apostles and martyrs...and all the saints" generously sprinkled around. It invites a very reassuring mental image, helped by visual depictions of said apostles, martyrs and saints, in the sanctuary or nave of the church! How blessed are those parishes that have actual depictions of these saints, named in the Roman Canon; and if you have such a church, and if you have children, please point out who they are; hopefully, your priest will use the Roman Canon, and include the fuller lists of saints, and then your children can listen for them, and find them in church.
I am not saying the other prayers ought not to be used at all, but I think the Roman Canon should predominate, both in actual usage, and in the imagination of all. The other prayers have many virtues, and I think if the Roman Prayer has pre-eminence, then the other prayers can be suitably used for daily Mass-goers, and others really familiar with the Mass. My personal goal is to use it for about 30 of the 52 Sundays of the year, and regularly for holy days and weekdays.
These are some reasons I think the First Eucharistic Prayer is good to use; perhaps you have other reasons? And if you don't like it, feel free to say so as well.