What Then Are The Characteristics Which We Must Expect In A Collect?

1. It has three simple parts: (a) the Name of God; (b) what we ask;

(c) our appeal to Christ's advocacy.

2. It makes no effort to instruct the congregation, but speaks with

simplicity and directness, to Him who knows all things.


3. It asks for grace and help for our souls, whereby we may do what is


Other prayers imitate Collects in one or
more of these respects; and

may be called Collects, though not satisfying all the conditions.

The Three parts of a Collect.

Our Lord taught us (St John xiv. 13, 14; xv. 16; xvi. 23-26) to ask God

in His name. A Collect is a prayer made on that model. It has three


(a) God is addressed; and

(b) petition made,

(c) in the Name of Jesus.

(a) God is addressed. This may be expressed in one word, or expanded

into a sentence. It is always the reason for our prayer, that God is

able and willing to hear us: every name of God when named by His

children is an appeal to Him.

When we expand the address, we do so in order to include a claim, to be

heard because some quality in God has a special relation to that which

we are about to ask. Because God loves peace, we can ask Him for

Peace: because He is merciful, we can ask Him for forgiveness: because

He gave at Pentecost, we can ask Him for the same gift on Whitsun Day.

Thus the name of God at the beginning of a Collect often includes some

title upon which we build our hope.

(b) What we ask. This may be simple, or complex: it is Simple when

we ask for something without saying anything of the means, or the

results, {139} of our obtaining it: Complex, when we ask for some thing

in order that we may also have something else.

(c) Appeal to Christ's Advocacy. Our claim upon God is "in the name"

of Jesus Christ. Here again we vary the thought in agreement with the

petition: sometimes it is His mediation, sometimes His might, or His

love, which we mention: but not haphazard--the words are chosen to suit

what has been asked for.

One variety of this part deserves special mention--when we claim the

Saviour's advocacy, by words which recognise Him as One of the Blessed

Trinity. When His Godhead is thus mentioned, an ascription of praise

is often added.