The great invitation of the gospel is that God calls us to know him, to love him, and to follow him as members of His family and be transformed into the likeness of His Son. And one of the primary ways that we know him, that we love him, and that we are transformed into the image of his son is through prayer.
Each Friday, as we pray, we will give you different tools to help you not just pray, but learn how to pray.
The primary tool we have to teach us to pray is the Psalms. So some weeks we will use the Psalms to shape our praying. The next tool we have that teaches us how to pray is the Bible. Prayer is responsive speech. We are responding to God as he has spoken to us first. So we want all of our praying to be saturated with and flow from the Bible.
Another great resource to encourage us to pray, and teach us how to pray are the prayers of the church. We have a long history of faithful saints who have gone before us and have left us a pattern for prayer. And one of the best collections for community praying is the book of common prayer.
So for today, I have chosen eight different collects from the ACNA Book of Common Prayer. And we will pray them in four categories.
Now, you might be thinking…what is a collect?
Collects, (pronounced Käh-lekt) collect the prayers of the people into a compact form, that is both theologically rich and personally potent. They are short and sweet, deep and simple. They focus on one spiritual theme, sum it up, bring it before God, and ask him to act. And seek to do so in a memorable and poetic form.
I love them because they give me words, they give me a track for my mind to run on. They will not be helpful if you just mindlessly repeat them. Just like the Psalms, or the Lord’s Prayer are not helpful if you mindlessly repeat them.
You have to internalize them. You have to chew on them. (antique language)
FOR THE BEAUTY OF THE EARTH
We give you thanks, most gracious God, for the beauty of earth and sky and sea; for the richness of mountains, plains, and rivers; for the wonder of your creatures, large and small; and for all the loveliness that surrounds us. We praise you for these good gifts and pray that we may safeguard them for our posterity. Grant that we may continue to grow in our grateful enjoyment of your abundant creation, to the honor and glory of your Name, now and forever. Amen.
FOR THE DIVERSITY OF RACES AND CULTURES
O God, who created all peoples in your image: We thank you for the diversity of races and cultures in this world. Show us your presence in those who differ from us, and enrich our lives with their fellowship, until our knowledge of your love is made perfect in our love for all your children; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For Renewal through the Word
FOR INNER RENEWAL THROUGH THE WORD (C)
Gracious God and most merciful Father, you have granted us the rich and precious jewel of your holy Word: Assist us with your Spirit, that the same Word may be written in our hearts to our everlasting comfort, to reform us, to renew us according to your own image, to build us up and edify us into the perfect dwelling place of your Christ, sanctifying and increasing in us all heavenly virtues; grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.
BEFORE THE READING OF SCRIPTURE
Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and the comfort of your Holy Word we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Classics from Church History
FOR A VIRTUOUS HEART: Thomas Aquinas
Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy thought can drag down; an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose can tempt aside. Bestow upon me understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and faithfulness that finally may embrace you. Amen.
FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE PEACE OF GOD (C) In the Tradition of Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace: where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is error, truth; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O divine Master, grant that I may seek not so much to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
For the Community
FOR SCHOOLS, COLLEGES, AND UNIVERSITIES (C)
Almighty God, by your gift alone we come to wisdom and true understanding: Look with favor, we pray, on our universities, colleges, and schools, [especially ________,] that knowledge may be increased among us, and wholesome learning flourish and abound. Bless those who teach and those who learn; and grant that in humility of heart they may ever look to you, the fountain of all wisdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
FOR CITIES, TOWNS, AND OTHER COMMUNITIES
Heavenly Father, you sent your Son among us to proclaim the kingdom of God in cities, towns, villages, and lonely places. Behold and visit, we pray, the community of ________. Renew the bonds of charity that uphold our civic life. Send us honest and able leaders. Deliver us from poverty, prejudice, and oppression, that peace may prevail with righteousness, and justice with mercy. And at the last, bring us to your Holy City, the new Jerusalem, where we shall know perfect unity and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.