First Presbyterian Church of Santa Rosa

    Learning the "Collect" Prayer

    by Rev. Emily Stockert

    I am a firm believer that there is no wrong way to pray. After all, we are communicating with God, who knows our hearts and minds, inside and out. However, sometimes we can get stuck not knowing what to say - especially when asked to pray out loud in front of a group of people. When this happens, it can be helpful to have a prayer “outline” to fall back on. The Collect Prayer is one such form.

    The Collect Prayer Form (pronounced like cahl-ect) is a way of praying that follows a set structure. It fits a pattern developed in the 1500s by the Anglican Archbishop Cranmer in the first Book of Common Prayer and is used by both Protestants and Catholics. I almost always follow this format when I’m asked to pray spontaneously as it helps give structure to my thoughts.

    I’ve included resources below to help you understand this prayer form, and here’s my shorthand way of remembering it:

    1. Address God by name
    2. Say what God is like (characteristics)
    3. Ask God for what you need
    4. Tell God why you need it
    5. Pray in God’s name. Amen

    Here’s how it looks in practice:

    1. Dear God
    2. You are the One we can always call on in times of trouble
    3. We ask you today for strength to carry on
    4. So that we might continue to serve you in the world
    5. We pray this in Jesus Name. Amen.

    Or longer:

    1. Holy and Loving God
    2. Our Rock and Redeemer
    3. We come before you today to ask you for healing for our country that you would give us a sense of peace and turn our nation’s hearts towards you
    4. So that we might know You and care for our neighbors as ourselves.
    5. We pray this in Jesus name, who lives and reigns with you the in power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

    Again, prayer is personal and there is no wrong way to pray, but sometimes having a structure can help us feel more confident. If you can memorize this simple formula, with a little practice, you can confidently volunteer to lead prayer in any group.

    More resources:

    From the Presbyterian Mission Agency

    From the Anglican Compass online magazine

    Published on August 15, 2020

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