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.
That prayer, known as the Collect for Purity, begins our worship each Sunday. It is, perhaps, one of most powerful and intimate prayers that I know of. A version of that prayer dates back to the 11th century, so it has quite literally been prayed for over a millennium. The form that we have today has been in every Book of Common Prayer since the first one was published in 1549. That is one of the best parts of the Episcopal tradition- that our prayers have roots and when we pray them, our voices join with the multitudes through the ages that have prayed these very words. But anytime a prayer is so familiar, it can easily become rote. Given the context of Psalm 139, this morning I’d like to consider the depths of the Collect for Purity.