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Warden’s Word Collect For Purity

Have you ever encountered a prayer that speaks to the depth of your soul, with clarity, brevity and intimacy? One such for me is the Collect for Purity that we pray every Sunday. Thomas Cranmer is credited with translating this 10th century prayer for the Book of Common Prayer in the mid 1500’s.

“Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known and from you no secrets are hid. Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your Holy Name through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

For me, these words don’t just lie flat on the page nor do they get stale with repetition. They meet me where I am, inspire me and console me. How so?

· They call me to account (“ you all hearts are open…”)

· they give me perspective (”…all desires are known…”)

· they lay bare my transgressions (“…from you no secrets are hid…”)

· they give me hope (“…cleanse the thoughts of my heart by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit…”)

· they reconcile me with God Almighty (“…that I may perfectly love you…”)

· and they call me to obedience (“…and worthily magnify your Holy Name…”).

Personal circumstances at any given moment may change how the prayer works in each of us. For today, the prayer speaks to me as described above. Tomorrow, it may apply a bit differently but no less truthfully. For you, today, how does it speak?


Alan Clark

Senior Warden


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