Personal Prayers (or Lenten Ruminations)
This coming Sunday will be the 2nd Sunday in Lent. The prayer (known as a Collect) for this Sunday goes as follows:
ALMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“The progression of the thought here is, like so many of the Collects, both devastating to the human being on his own terms, and at the same time hopeful. First, we admit to God the plain fact that “we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves.” ( . . . ) The Collect hinges on our earnest if reluctant agreement with the first point. Second, we are asking God, who exists outside us, to keep us. ( . . . ) Hold us, grasp us, claim us, do not let us slip through Your fingers like an eely tadpole or like grains of sand. Third, such keeping, or safeguarding, should result in the best defense. ( . . . ) the request is dual: defend us from all outward assault and defend us from all inward temptation. ( . . . ) The Collect devastates the human control factor and sets limitless hope upon the sure hold of God” ("The Collects of Thomas Cranmer," 37).
“O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions, and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou, unto ages of ages. Amen” (http://oca.org/orthodoxy/prayers/lenten-prayer-of-st.-ephrem).