The word “collect” designates a prayer that sums up, concludes, or pulls together (collects) the thoughts of a preceding litany or devotion. The collects for each Sunday reinforce the current theme of the liturgical season and serve as a reminder of the Church’s central act of corporate worship in the Eucharist.
Each collect follows this general pattern of organization:
- The opening is an address to God, with a relative clause that mentions an attribute of His nature or a manifestation of His mind and will. The appeal to God’s character is the basis for the petition that is made in the collect.
- The middle portion is the petition, or request, which is often followed by a clause that discusses the benefits that God’s people can expect if the petition is granted.
- The conclusion is an oblation or mediation, in which we openly acknowledge that we must approach God in the Name of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The final words usually recall all three Persons of the Holy Trinity.
(Explanation adapted from The Oxford American Prayer Book: A Commentary, by Massey Hamilton Shepherd, Jr., New York: Oxford, 1950.)