Hope you are having a great Monday – we at Living Stones have just started a 24/7 Prayer week. So, I thought I’d blog a little bit each day on prayer ideas, reflections from the prayer room and ideas for our own prayer lives. Today the theme is collects.
I have been using these prayers to help deepen my own prayer life and you may like to give it a try.
In the traditional liturgical service the collect is an opening prayer and looks something like this;
Let us pray;
A time of silence to be kept
God of constant mercy,
who sent your Son to save us:
remind us of your goodness,
increase your grace within us,
that our thankfulness may grow,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Taken from the 12th Sunday after Trinity
There are two main areas that I want to look at in this blog post that I hope will aid you in your prayer life. The first is the order the collect happens and then the second is the collect (Bold Text) itself.
1) The Order
The collect can be broken into four parts – with each part reinforcing community and the importance of praying together in unity. Each part is important in giving the prayer meaning.
a) The Invitation
It seems quiet simple doesn’t it? Let us pray… but it is part of the whole prayer. The collect is about gathering (collecting) the thoughts of the community and praying together as a response to our individual prayers. Therefore the invitation is key, let us (the body of Christ) pray.
b) The Silence
This is the heart of the collect – it is in the silence that we pray, we collect our thoughts around the theme of that particular collect. We meditate on the scriptures the Holy Spirit brings to mind, we stay in the present – knowing we are loved by God. Silence is so important to our prayer lives and I feel we often underestimate it and its importance.
c) The Collect
The collect is then said as a bringing together or summation of the individual prayers prayer. In the traditional liturgy the leader will say the prayer as a way of articulating the silent prayers of the church. But, we are finding it works equally well when said together as a community.
d) The Amen
The community responds with a AMEN – so be it. We have prayed individual and now we agree with this prayer together.
The collect is not so much vein repetition but carefully thought out reflection and response. Which actually builds in time for the work of the Holy Spirit and for us to respond as a community, not hinder it.
2) The Collect
So, we have looked at the part of the service where the collect would be. Let’s have a look at how they are constructed and this has been incredibly freeing in my own prayer life and I hope it will be in yours.
This is simply who we are speaking to, in our example God is address as “God of constant mercy”
b) An attribute, quality of God or something He has doen
This generally is linked in with the theme of the collect, in our example above we read, “who sent your Son to save us: “
c) The petition
What we are asking of God. “remind us of your goodness, increase your grace within us”
d) The reason or expected result
Why we want that prayer to be answered. “that our thankfulness may grow”
The Christ centred conclusion, “through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
As it says! So be it!
So, there is a brief overview of Collects.
They are important in our times of corporate prayer as I have said already. But, I am also finding great use in jotting down my own collect style prayers as part of my prayer time. They help shape our focus, they help remind us of who God is, they help us think what we are actually asking for and why we want it. As a result my times of prayer have become more refined, more fruitful as my mind wanders less.
They also lead to more content-filled prayers – we think a little, speak less but with more purpose and wait on God more. I for one am all for that.
I am also finding that they are helping in the constant prayer as well. As I am staying mindful of Jesus, praying for the people I meet or in the same coffee shop as me, my prayers are fed from my collected thoughts on that subject. I am praying God’s blessing on them knowing that we serve and follow a God who is rich in mercy and is for us not against us.
My encouragement to you would be to give it a go, write a collect and maybe even share it with your community this week. You know what is going on in your community – try to put that into a prayer that collects your thoughts and bring it as a corporate offering.
Grace and peace,
Here are two of mine, see what you think;
Heavenly Father, Seer of all, our protector and our shield. Grant that we will walk rooted and built up in Christ, that we may our lives with thanksgiving in our hearts. In the name of Jesus our risen saviour.
Faithful Father, Full of grace and mercy. We ask that your peace would rule in our hearts that we may be faithful in our witness of you, through Christ our Lord and Saviour
Some more examples of the Collect can be found here.