Let thy merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of thy humble servants: and that they may obtain their petitions, make them to ask such things as shall please thee; through 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 Tenth Sunday after Trinity from Divine Worship: The Missal.
‘To pray is to speak to God. Our Collect is about prayer. We ought to be able to speak to God about anything, including our thoughts and actions. He is interested in us and likes us to speak to Him. We may want to ask Him for something, that is petition, or we may want to thank Him for His gifts, that is thanksgiving, or we may want to pray for others, that is intercession, or we may want to praise Him for being what He is, that is adoration. Or again, we may want to confess our faults and failings, that is confession. So you see there are five different kinds of prayer, all of which have their place in our prayer life. Confession is often very necessary, but intercession and adoration are the best kinds of prayer because they are unselfish. All types of prayer are acceptable because God is our Father.
The Collect asks that we may pray in such a spirit that we may obtain our petitions. It prays that we may ask such things as shall please Thee. We shall only please God in our petitions if we ask for the right things - if we pray in the spirit of the Lord Jesus. Then it will be in His Name. So we must learn to love God more and more. We must thank Him for His gifts, we must learn to pray for others, and this means that we shall confess our sins. We must try and use the best type of prayer, Adoration. An old peasant who could not read or write used regularly to go in church each day and kneel before the Blessed Sacrament. One day the Cure D’Ars asked him what he said, and the reply was that he said nothing, “I just look at Him, and He looks at me”. That is adoration. If we learn this type of prayer, and pray more for others, when we come to our own petitions they will more and more become the things that will please God’.
from Teaching the Collects, 1965, by H.E. Sheen
Fr Lee Kenyon