The following are notes that my friend Gillian assembled after attending a workshop led by poet, theologian and peace activist Pardraig O’Tuama – “Write Your Own Collect”
A Collect is simply collecting your desire into one request.
It has five folds:
1. Name who or what you are addressing the prayer to
2. Say something more about who or what you are praying to
3. Name your desire
4. Give a reason for your desire
5. End with some small song of beauty or praise.
You can start with any of the five folds. Decide through which of the five doors you prefer to enter.
Ask for only one thing, that you desire now. If you write it down you can review it for the week, month, year or a few years.
Pay attention to what you want; to the undercurrent landscape of your desire. Naming your desire could mean an encounter with the sacred.
You can address your collect to whomever or whatever you choose – A tree, a child that you love, a pet that you love….anything at all.
Here is an example of a collect by Padraig O’Tuaoma
God of watching,
whose gaze I doubt and rally against both,
but in which I nonetheless take refuge, despite my limited vision.
Shelter me today,
against the flitting nature of my own focus
and bring me to the calm place
in which to stand.
And when I falter, which is likely,
give me both the courage and the kindness to begin again with hope and coping.
For you are the one whose watchfulness is steady.