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Stir Up

Let us pray (in silence) [that we may be prepared]


Stir up, O Lord, [or Stir up, O God]
the wills of your faithful people;
that they, richly bearing the fruit of good works,
may by you be richly rewarded;
through Jesus Christ
who is alive with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.

The above is part of my attempt to provide a set of collects, Book of Prayers in Common, with history and commentary.

This translates the Latin original we have been praying for over a thousand years:

Excita domine quaesumus tuorum fidelium voluntates, ut divini operis fructum propensius exsequentes, pietatis tuae remedia maiora percipiant. Per…

This was one of the daily prayers in the Gregorian Sacramentary. The Latin word translated “stir-up” is “excita”. In the Sarum Missal the collects of the first, second, and fourth Sundays of Advent also began with this word. This refers both to God’s action and our wills, just as the fruit refers to both God’s work and ours.

I count three Excita/Stir-Up collects in the new RC Missal for weekdays.

The Sunday before Advent was known as Stir-Up Sunday. It is traditionally the time to get the Christmas pudding (a fruit cake – see collect) made, allowing plenty of time for the flavours to develop before it’s enjoyed on Christmas Day. Whilst once it felt surprising to be thinking about Christmas this early – in this consumer-driven society it is more difficult to ignore Christmas already for sale in October!

I suggest that the Christ the King collect be used as the collect for the last Sunday in the Church Year. This “Stir Up” prayer, then, can be the Prayer after Communion. Also, the Christ the King collect is for the feast day, the Sunday. The Stir Up collect can be the collect for the week.

[Found in NZPrayer Book p. 641c]