A Prayer for All Seasons: The Collects of the Book of Common Prayer


Originally published by the Prayer Book Society, this attractively illustrated volume brings together the collects of the Book of Common Prayer.

ISBN: 9780718829957


There are many different opinions over the origin of the word ‘collect’. The Latin ‘collecta’ means a gathered together. Whatever its origin, however, the collect is a very ancient prayer.

This delightfully illustrated book contains the collects from the Book of Common Prayer. Some date back to the time of Leo I, more to Gelasius, and yet more to Gregory the Great. The wording of them in their present form owes much to that liturgical genius Thomas Cranmer, the sixteenth century archbishop and martyr. The collects are a perfect example of the Book of Common Prayer which itself was compiled at a time when for beauty of rhythm and splendour of diction, our language was at its zenith. Time and faith have hallowed this work, and the Prayer Book is now hailed as one of the supreme achievements of the English tongue. The wonderful prayers here are framed with enchanting illustrations which augment and enhance the beauty of the language.

A Prayer for all Seasons was originally published by the Prayer Book Society in 1987. This new edition benefits from a clearer and more attractive layout. It starts with the Morning Prayers and continues with those from Christmas, Advent, Easter and the Saints’ Days, concluding with the prayers for Holy Communion. Delightfully illustrated with nineteenth-century woodcuts, this is a must for anyone who appreciates the antiquity and beauty of the language of the Book of Common Prayer.

With a Foreword by HRH the Prince of Wales, an Introduction by Ian Curteis and an Afterword by The Bishop of London.

Additional information

Dimensions 208 × 135 mm
Pages 64
Illustrations b&w

Trade Information LGEN


Foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales
Introduction by Ian Curteis
The Origin and Essential Characteristics of the Collects
The Structure and Content of the Collects
The Teaching of the Collects
The Origin or Authorship of each Collect

The Collects
Morning Prayer
Evening Prayer
Good Friday
Easter Day
Ascension Day
Whit Sunday
Trinity Sunday
Saints’ Days
The Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion

Afterword by the Bishop of London


Endorsements and Reviews

beautifully illustrated
Best of British

A Prayer for All Seasons is a small but beautiful gift book for a friend, confirmand, an ordinand or one’s own bedside table for night prayer. It contains simply those beautiful unequalled gathering prayers which are the Collects of the English Prayer Book. Heart opening and heaven opening they are set amidst a series of beautiful woodcut engravings from the 1903 Altar Service Book (McManus and Staley) which are a devotional treasure in themselves. … There are powerful Forewords and Afterwords by The Prince of Wales and the Bishop of London – memorable phrases abound – and a splendid introduction by playwright Ian Curteis (President of the Writers Guild). For many new readers and old alike, though, the dozen pages on the origin, history, authorship and themes of these great players by Canon H.J. Burgess will be as great an incentive to own this volume as any.
Faith and Heritage

Immediately attractive. Buttressed at both ends with pages written by distinguished friends of the BCP. A luxury edition, but well worth the money.
The Prayer Book Society Newsletter, No 93

Beautifully illustrated with wood engravings throughout. A splendid gift for a young person yet to discover the treasury of Cranmer’s prayers. A succinct and moving foreword by the Prince of Wales, and equally thoughtful afterword by the Bishop of London, and a sensitive introduction by Ian Curteis, all combine to draw us through the enduring beauty of the Collect into the very presence of the Divine.
Reverend Jonathan Redvers Harris, in Parson & Parish

These beautifully constructed prayers express our deepest thoughts and desires in our relationship with God, yet with such economy of language and such clarity of meaning that their very simplicity masks the skill of their composition.
W.A. Bull, in Faith & Worship

… prefaced with enthusiasm by the current Prince of Wales, the future Supreme Governor of the Church of England. … Cranmer’s gift was to help generation to worship, as well as to worship in beautiful English. … These jewelled miniatures are a chief glory of Anglicanism, a distinguished development of this genre of brief prayer. … they have proved an enduring vehicle of worship. Ian Curteis presents the collects in a sumptuous little volume.
The Independent

This new edition, boasts a clearer layout by four useful and informative sections on their origin and essential characteristics; their structure and content; their teaching; and their authorship.
George Curry, in English Churchman

… illustrated by beautiful wood engravings … foreword by the Prince of Wales … introduction by Ian Curteis. Essays on the origin and essential characteristics of the collects, their structure and contents, their teachings, the origin or authorship of each and if that is not enough an afterword by the Bishop of London. Buy it.
The Anglican Catholic

Beautifully illustrated … Characteristics, structure, content, teaching and origins are explored giving a greater insight into the collects’ meaning and purpose. It was a joy to read. This is an invaluable source of prayer for every occasion.
Diocesan Mothers Union Newsletter