Praying Through Holy Week
Every day this week I’d like to share a brief reflection on the Daily Collects for Holy Week, which are found on pg. 607 of the 2019 Book of Common Prayer. What’s a collect? Simply, it’s a short, rich, and historical prayer. The name is most likely derived from the fact that in the early centuries of the church, when it came time to pray at worship gatherings, the priest would “collect” the prayers of the people into one big summary prayer. Eventually some of the favorites would be repeated, and were gathered and attached to themes or seasons of the church year. They have a basic shape that can be helpful to know going in. A great example is the prayer for purity, which we use every Sunday at the beginning of worship. Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid. Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
- Naming God: who are we praying to?
- An attribute or characteristic of God: “Almighty God, to whom…” Describing something about God that’s in his nature: part of who He is.
- Asking for God to intervene in our lives with that very aspect of his being: “Cleanse the thoughts…”
- Which often leads into a direct response: “That we may perfectly love you…” We respond to what God has done. Everything we say and do is in response to God, who first loved us. (We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19)
- Closing with how prayer works: Jesus is God-man, mediator between us and the Father of Heaven: we pray through Him
My hope is that these reflections would be a helpful guide this week as we wait upon the Lord and ask God to reveal himself to us afresh.