Orans on Roman Mural

[Updated 25 September 2014: Thank you to so very many of you who publicly and privately sent me extensive, varied, and detailed feedback on the draft collect collection I had produced. I now offer my final draft of New Collects which has incorporated your suggestions. This collection has been forwarded to the Common Life Liturgical Commission of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia which requested this work be done.]

Regulars here will know of my love of the collect as type of prayer. And of the convoluted history of collects to go with the Revised Common Lectionary in the Anglican Church in NZ; and of my part, and the part of this website, in that history. In our church, six people have now been asked to prepare new collects to go with the Revised Common Lectionary.

I am one of those six, and I am preparing collects to go with the non-feast Sundays in Ordinary Time Year C. I have a first draft of those and would now seek your comments to improve them before I send them off to the Common Life Liturgical Commission who asked me to do this task.

My first love in collects is reworking, for our contemporary context, the ancient collects that we share in common. I have written a (free) booklet Book of Prayers in Common (you can read this online, or download this). Because I have been working on the new collects, I have not done further work on this. But I will.

Here is my final version of New Collects. [You can read my first draft of new collects here (PDF). Please send any comments for improving them to liturgy DOT co DOT nz@gmail DOT com preferably with the subject line, “new collects”.]

Here are some questions you might bear in mind as you look at these collects:

  • Do the prayers “pray well” whether led by a single voice or recited by the entire community, do the prayers have clarity and good cadence?
  • How well do the prayers draw out a biblical theme within the day’s Proper?
  • Do you note any stumbling blocks? What are they?
  • Do the prayers invite you to pray for what you and your community need?
  • Do you want to pray for what they invite you to pray for?
  • Do the prayers bear the weight of repeated use? Unless replaced for a particular feast, Anglicans pray the same collect throughout the week, at Morning and Evening Prayer and daily Eucharist. Does the prayer wear thin by about Wednesday?
  • Is the prayer general enough? Part of the purpose of the prayer is to “collect” us all. We need to all feel embraced by its intention. Generally, then, the prayer should not immediately point back to a single gospel reading, constricting that reading and the service into some tight-fitting theme.

Here are a few examples of my new collects just to whet your appetite. [The attribution requirements are with the full collection]. You can, hopefully, use any of these collects at any time. [Some of these collects have now been improved in the revised New Collects]

God of justice and compassion,
you anoint Jesus to bring good news to the poor,
freedom from bondage,
and new vision to the blind;
send your Spirit upon us
so we proclaim and live your new life;
through Jesus Christ, our Saviour
who is alive with you and the Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Consoling God,
you bring life from death,
and hope from despair;
may those who suffer trials,
be united with Christ’s passion,
and enter the power of the resurrection;
through Jesus, the Christ,
who is alive with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

God of nations,
your boundless compassion for all
is like a mother’s care for her children;
empower us to be heralds of your reign of peace and justice
that we bring your transforming power
to all you have created in your love;
through Jesus, the Saviour,
who is alive with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Generous God,
you give us many things
to help us grow into the fullness of life;
assist us not to cling to all that is impermanent
but to hold firm to what is lasting;
through Jesus, the Way,
who is alive with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Orans image from Roman mural about 350AD

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