ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.
A collect, pronounced /KOL-ect/ when used as a noun, is a brief prayer that's meant to be used at a certain place during a prayer service. There is one Collect for each Sunday of the year, plus for special days, and there are other collects, a Collect for Peace and a Collect for Grace are both used during Morning Prayer.
The Church year begins with Advent and the Collect for the First Sunday in Advent is to be used during prayers every day from now until Christmas.
Lex orandi lex credendi is an ancient principle that is translated, "The law of prayer is the law of belief." Among other things, this means that the way you pray, the way you worship, shapes what you believe. This little prayer beautifully encapsulates the entire Gospel.
One thing I love about written prayers is that they can be memorized and said by everyone in the family -- even the non-readers -- so that we can pray with one voice. We'll be including this one in our daily Morning and Evening prayers, after the Lord's Prayer, and before the closing prayers. Last night Mike read it alone, but after this we're going to encourage everyone to say it together.
I hope you'll pray it with us this Advent season. :-)