I have been teaching about what constitutes a collect in Sacramental theology. That, you will recall, is a particular form of prayer that we use in our liturgy.
A collect has five parts: It ‘addresses’ God; names a quality or action of God’s that seems relevant to the subject of the collect; makes a request of God; names the result that we believe will come if the prayer is ‘answered’; and closes with an ‘ascription,’ such as ‘through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (Notice these features when you hear the Collect of the Day next Sunday.)
Anyway, I want our ordinands to understand not just what a collect is but to know that they can write their own when special occasions or events in their ministry arise. So, I set them to the task.
Batswana have a deep devotion to their cattle. If we don’t see someone on a Sunday, it is because ‘I have gone to my cattle post.’
I think: Why not? Write a Collect for the Protection of Cattle. One wrote:
Almighty God our Heavenly Father,
Through you all things were made;
You created cattle according to its kind:
By your power and strength protect our cattle
from sickness, hunger and thirst,
Bless our land with rain, good vegetation,
and abundant waters, and
Give sanity and love to those who look after them,
So that our cattle will remain healthy and multiply;
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I wonder about his use of the word ‘sanity,’ but I haven’t yet asked.
Another’s request is quite specific: Protect our cattle from foot and mouth disease that is threatening to wipe them out. Fair enough.
I especially like the ‘result’ for which one ordinand prayed: So that in your generosity we may continue to have the source of our livelihood in abundance.