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Jesus and woman at the well

Lent 3 – 12 March 2023

Jesus and woman at the well

We have been praying the following prayer together for at least 13 centuries. Whilst it is still used in the RC Extraordinary Form, I have been unable to find it in the Ordinary Form (help me?).

You can read more about it in the commentary: Collect for Lent 3, or below.

Let us pray (in silence) [that the more we see that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves, the more we may be drawn closer to God]


the source of all our strength;
watch over us within and without,
that in body we may be protected from all adversity,
and in mind cleansed from all destructive thoughts;
through our Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.

Resources beyond this website (you can add others in the comments section below):
Resourcing Preaching DownUnder
Girardian Reflection on the Lectionary

Collect Reflection

Codices from the eighth to the sixteenth century assign this collect (Gregorian #202) to the Second Sunday in Lent. The Gregorian Sacramentary also has it as a “Daily Prayer” (#867). It held this position in the Sarum Missal and from there entered the English Prayer Books, all the Lenten collects, except for Lent 1, being sourced in the Sarum Rite. It also entered the Tridentine Missal and was present through to the 1962 Missal. It is absent in the 1970/2002 Roman Missal (and in NZPBHKMA).

The original is

Deus, qui conspicis omni nos virtute destitui: interius exteriusque custodi; ut ab omnibus adversitatibus muniamur in corpore, et a pravis cogitationibus mundemur in mente. Per Dominum . . .

Thomas Cranmer (1549) has this as:

ALMIGHTYE God, whiche doest see that we have no power of oureselves to helpe ourselves; kepe thou us both outwardly in oure bodies, and inwardly in oure soules; that we maye be defended from all adversities whiche maye happen to the body, and from all evel thoughtes which maye assault and hurte the soule; through Jesus Christ &c.

Deus – God

qui conspicis omni nos virtute destitui – who sees that without you we are destitute of strength. I tried several ways of rending this that sounded good when proclaimed; I have currently settled on the concept expressed as God being the source of all our strength.

custodi – preserve, keep, watch over. I went for “watch over” as a way of preserving the “see” of conspicis.

et a pravis cogitationibus mundemur in mente. I used “cleanse” echoing the similar thought in the Collect for Purity.

Commentators highlighting the precariousness of the sixth century as an origin for this collect and the sixteenth century as its translation time into English forget that this century (and every period) has its own precariousness that makes this prayer relevant.

BCP (TEC) moves this collect to Lent 3. Common Worship (CofE) places it as the Prayer after Communion on Lent 2 (CofE in ASB had it as Pentecost 9).

Almighty God,
you see [TEC: know] that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves:
keep us both outwardly in our bodies,
and inwardly in our souls;
that we may be defended from all adversities
which may happen to the body,
and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul;
through Jesus Christ our Lord…

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