Almighty and everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we to pray, and art wont to give more than either we desire, or deserve: pour down upon us the abundance of thy mercy; forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask, but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Collect for the Twelfth Sunday after Trinity from Divine Worship: The Missal.
‘God is always ready to take the initiative. That is where he differs so markedly from ourselves, and also is the distinguishing mark of his bounty. Of that bounty three distinct features are suggested by the collect: his benevolence, his forgiveness, and his generosity.
First, his benevolence, his goodwill, is shown markedly in the fact that his knowledge of our need is greater than ours and his giving is consequently more thoughtful than ours. He anticipates our wants like a mother choosing presents for her child. He knows our actual need and takes the earliest step in teaching us to realise it too. In fact, he induces us to want what we need.
He is even more ready to hear than we pray. One would have thought that we should have been quick enough to ask for anything we want, but God is quicker still, waiting for us to make our request.
This suggestion of readiness is contained in the term “mercy” which comprises the content of two Hebrew words, one meaning active benevolence and the other steadfast reliability. God is not kind by fits and starts, as were the old pagan gods and goddesses. He always continues in one stay: in him is no variableness nor shadow cast by turning. He is the same, good and kind, yesterday, today, and for ever’.
from Reflections on the Collects, 1964
by William Wand KCVO, 1885-1977 (Bishop of London 1945-1955)
Fr Lee Kenyon