Prayer Break: Learning the "Collect" Prayer
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:
Address God by name
Say what God is like (characteristics)
Ask God for what you need
Tell God why you need it
Pray in God's name. Amen
Here's how it looks in practice:
You are the One we can always call on in times of trouble
We ask you today for strength to carry on
So that we might continue to serve you in the world
We pray this in Jesus Name. Amen.
Holy and Loving God
Our Rock and Redeemer
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
So that we might know You and care for our neighbors as ourselves.
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 lead prayer in any group.