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Collect for use in the ‘present’ crises

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 23 Nov 2017

Church Association Tract 133 presents a Collect suitable for use in the crises of the late 19th century Cof E, and for the contemporary church today.

Church Association Tract 133 urges faithful Christians to be moved to prayer for the Church. Of course, they should take action where possible to do all that will preserve the Church from ‘false doctrine, heresy and schism’, but nonetheless they ought to be wholly relying on God as the one who alone can ‘defend it from its enemies’. Prayer is the way we express that our confidence is in the Lord, not our own efforts:

“The crisis through which our beloved Church is now passing, ought to suggest to all its faithful members the duty of special prayer that the Lord will interpose for the deliverance. While they are careful to use every human means for its preservation from false doctrine, heresy and schism, their reliance for success must be upon Him who alone can defend it against all its enemies. Under this conviction and in remembrance of our Lord’s promise, that, if two of his disciples should agree on earth as touching anything that they should ask, it should be done for them of their Father who is in heaven, the Council of the Church Association venture to recommend to their fellow-Churchmen the daily use, by themselves, or with their families, of the following or some similar Collect. Thus, not only two, but very many of the Lord’s people may agree in prayer, according to his meaning, as effectually as if they were all gathered together at one time in the same place; and it may be confidently expected that God will hear them, and bring the Church unharmed out of all its perils.”

The tract commends this, or a similar collect, to be prayed daily, whether alone, in family prayers or in some other context. Perhaps in the context of the contemporary church, we ought to begin praying it again:

“ALMIGHTY GOD, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, hear, we beseech thee, for his sake, who is our Great High Priest, the prayer of thy servants on behalf of our reformed Church, which in thy good providence has been established in this land. Thou hast graciously preserved it hitherto, and hast bestowed upon it, not-withstanding its sins against thee, many tokens of thy loving kindness. Look upon it now, O God, in thy mercy, and bring to nought all the evils, with which it is threatened. Deliver it from all false doctrine, heresy and schism, purify its worship from the admixture of weakness and superstition; and preserve it from being again brought into bondage to human ordinances.

Give unto all its Bishops the spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind; that at this season of peril and perplexity they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfill the same, and grant unto all its Clergy that they may remember their solemn promise to teach the people committed to their charge out of the Scriptures, and enlighten them with the true knowledge and understanding of Thy word, that they may be good ministers of Jesus Christ. Grant also unto all, both of the Clergy and Laity who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity that they may stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the Gospel and supported by the assurance that the Lord reigneth, and will in his own time vindicate his sovereignty, and glorify himself on the earth.

Receive, we pray thee, O Heavenly Father, these petitions which thy servants make in the name of thy well-beloved Son; and do abundantly above all that they can ask, according to the riches of thy mercy in Christ Jesus, who is the Great Head of the Church, and who with Thee, O Father, and with Thee, O Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth one God, world without end. Amen.

Ros Clarke is Associate Director of Church Society

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