The prayer format perhaps most characteristic of the Book of Common Prayer is the collect.
A collect is a brief prayer that brings together several ideas succinctly. Though not a common word now, it’s just the noun version of the verb “to collect.”
A collect often follows a format something like this:
Address – the prayer begins with a name for God and often a description of God’s character or actions.
Petition & Purpose – this section asks for something and also often include a ‘so that’ type of clause, to make it clear what we hope will result from the petition being answered. The idea is to think about why we’re asking for something.
Praise – the last part of the prayer will usually offer praise to God or state the basis on which we’re making the request.
Examples from the Prayer Book
Write your own Collects
Here is one example of a basic collect format. Try writing a collect in response to something you notice during your day.
O God, you are ________ :
Start with who you know God to be – attributes of character or past actions
We ask ____________ ,
Keeping in mind who God is, make your request in line with that knowledge
so that ____________ ;
What for? What are you hoping will result?
Part of our confidence in approaching God comes from remembering that Jesus connects us