Wednesday, 30 November 2016

And the Collect for today is ...

A collect is a short prayer.

Its name comes from the Middle Ages when such prayers were grouped
together and referred to as collectio (hence our modern phrase, ‘collection of’).

The collect is intended to sound a bit like a dialogue between the people present and God. It usually starts after a short invitation to prayer such as, ‘Let us pray.’

A collect always has the same structure:
  • The address: like a letter, a collect is directed toward someone. Collects are addressed to a person of the Trinity, almost always to God the Father.
  • An attribute or quality of God: this bit relates to the petition (below), and usually starts with the words, ‘who is …’
  • The petition itself: this part is the actual prayer and introduces the matter being asked about or requested.
  • The reason or result expected from the prayer.
  • A conclusion, such as ‘through Christ our Lord’ or another longer doxology. The most common Trinitarian conclusion is ‘through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.’
  • The affirmation: ‘Amen.’
A good example is the Collect for Easter Day, which contains each of these six elements in the correct order:
  • Lord of all life and power,

  • who through the mighty resurrection of your Son
    overcame the old order of sin and death
    to make all things new in him:

  • grant that we, being dead to sin
    and alive to you in Jesus Christ,
  • may reign with him in glory;

  • to whom with you and the Holy Spirit
    be praise and honour, glory and might,
    now and in all eternity. 
  •  Amen.

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