The Collect for Proper 10: The Sunday closest to July 13

O Lord,
mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you,
and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do,
and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
(BCP 231)

Marion Hatchett notes the use of this Collect at various times within the Church Year.  In use since at least the 7th century, this Collect has been prayed on a Sunday after Christmas, then on the first Sunday after the Epiphany (January 6), and, in the Sarum missal of the 11th century, on the Sunday after the octave of the Epiphany (an octave is an eight-day celebration of a feast).  In 1549, the octave of the Epiphany was discontinued and this Collect was moved back to the Sunday after the Epiphany.  It was transferred to Proper 10, because in our current Church calendar the Sunday after the Epiphany is our celebration of the Baptism of our Lord.  This Collect “summarizes succinctly the two-fold meaning and purpose of prayer:  to perceive God’s will, and to seek the strength which is necessary for the accomplishment of it” (Hatchett, 188-9).  A second two-fold dimension of prayer, slightly different in nature from Hatchett’s description, is also present in this Collect—that prayer is a conversation, which requires active listening of all of the participants.

The Collects for Proper 6 and Proper 7 both begin with the Preamble, “O Lord,” although each has its own purpose, which leads us to ponder the different implications of the use of the word:  the Lord who is our Sovereign and Lord as the divine name (Lord).  Perhaps taking both into account makes sense for this Collect:  we pray to our God who is sovereign and yet is the God who has revealed God’s self to those whom God loves.

While this Collect doesn’t really have an Acknowledgement, the use of “mercifully” in the Petition serves in the same capacity—we ask our Sovereign who is our judge to remember that we are God’s creatures and beloved children and to be merciful to us.  We begin our confession in Morning and Evening Prayer and Rite II Eucharist (BCP 79, 116, 360) addressing God as “Most merciful God.”  In the confession used in Enriching our Worship, the address is “God of all mercy.” 

The Petition can be broken into three parts, each of which depends upon God’s mercy.  In the first part of the Petition, we ask God to “receive the prayers of your people who call upon you,” an echo of Psalm 143:1 and many other portions of the Psalms where the Psalmist asks God to listen.  How audacious that the first movement of this prayer is to begin with asking the Lord to listen to us!  And yet, relationship has already been established and our prayers are not the beginning of the conversation—the people who we ask to be heard are God’s people and they know God enough to call upon God.  We are included in the people who call upon the Lord.  By praying this Collect, we are included in those who are God’s people and are actively participating in the relationship described in the prayer.

In the second part of the Petition, “and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do,” asks for grace for our part of the active listening that solid relationships are built upon.  To listen well is to not just hear the words spoken and interpret the non-verbal communications that accompany the conversation, but to seek to understand.  This portion of the Petition is also the first half of Hatchett’s two-fold meaning of prayer:  to perceive God’s will.  To listen well, with the intention of understanding and discerning what needs to be done, is not something that we do in our own strength.  We need God’s assistance and empowerment to hear, understand, and discern action.

In the third part of the Petition, “and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them,” we are asking God to empower us in two related ways:  in our listening and understanding and for action in response to what we hear.   This part of the Petition completes Hatchett’s two-fold meaning of prayer:  we ask for strength so that we can embody what we are called to do.  In this way, our conversation with God bears fruit in our lives.  As God’s people, the Body of Christ, doing God’s will is how we know that we are Christ’s family (see Mark 3:31-35). 

The Pleading is “through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”  Through Jesus Christ, who is not only our Lord but also the brother to all who do God’s will, by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we ask for a deepening relationship with our Triune God through our listening and responding to the God who hears us.

During the pandemic, our parish prayer life and way of worshipping has been challenged and modified.  Have you experienced prayer in different ways during this time?  How has listening to God and our experience of God listening to us changed during this time?

When have we, as a parish, experienced God’s grace and power in our worship or ministry?   

O Lord,
mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you,
and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do,
and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.


(BCP 231) © 2021 Donna Hawk-Reinhard, edited by Kate McCormick

1 thought on “The Collect for Proper 10: The Sunday closest to July 13”

  1. Pingback: The Collect for Proper 16: The Sunday closest to August 24 - The Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top