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What is a Collect?

“…Lord, teach us to pray…” Luke 11:1


Dear Friends in Christ,

In our worship services, after we prepare ourselves for worship with songs of praise, we pray “the Collect of the Day.” There are several prayers called “Collects.” The emphasis is on the first syllable. The Church has special words for everything! In this case, the prayer will often sum-up or collect our thoughts about a certain topic (perhaps the readings of the day, or a particular situation). Collects usually follow a particular form.


  1. Address of God, naming and praising God for some attribute, usually one germane to the prayer to follow,

  2. Remembrance of how God has responded to this issue in the past

  3. A petition: asking for God to do something related to the issue at hand

  4. A doxology: praying through the Son, to the Father, in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Trinity, one God

Consider this coming Sunday’s Collect of the Day. “Almighty and Everlasting God” is the address. These aspects of God are important when we ask God for mercy and provision (what’s coming in the petition). The remembrance is “you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve.” We are asking for mercy when aware of how we’ve turned against God, so it gives us courage to remember God’s love for us that is more than we deserve or imagine. The petition then is “Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior.” The lessons for this Sunday include lamentation by the Jewish exiles in Babylon, and the need we all have for faith. So this petition brings our anxieties to God seeking God’s merciful blessing and petition for us when we likewise find ourselves in need of faith, but reluctant to ask in our self-conciousness. Finally, the doxology: “through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” Our prayers are prayed to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit.


Here is the full Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

You also can make your own collects. For instance, here is a homemade collect for the relief of those impacted by recent hurricanes. See if you can identify the parts.


Almighty and most merciful Father, you stilled the storm and spoke to Elijah not in earthquake, wind or fire, but in stillness and silence: mercifully save and deliver those who are in the path of hurricanes, and grant to those whose homes and cities have been damaged by them, restoration, recovery from injury and loss, and resilient reliance on you above all things; through Jesus Christ our Lord who healed the sick and restored the lost, and who with you and the Holy Spirit live and reign over all things, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Collect your thoughts and bring them to God in a Collect.


Yours in Christ,

-Tom

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