Let us pray (in silence) [for our particular vocations within Christ's body]
Almighty and everlasting God,
by your Spirit the whole body of the Church
is governed and sanctified;
hear the prayers we offer
for all your faithful people,
that in the ministry to which you have called us
we may serve you in holiness and truth;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
who is alive with with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.
The First Prayer-Book of Edward VI (1549) reads:
After the ii Collectes at the Communion shalbe sayd these ii Collectes folowyng.
ALMYGHTYE and everlastyng God, by whose spirite the whole body of the Churche is governed and sanctified; receive our supplicacions and prayers, whiche wee offre before thee for all estates of men in thy holye congregacion, that everye membre of the same, in his vocacion and ministerye, maye truelye and godlye serve thee; thoroughe our Lord Jesus Christe.
This originates with the solemn Good Friday intercessions consisting of a bidding, silence, collect. This is thought to be the way the prayers of the people generally were styled in third or fourth century Rome. That they were preserved in the Good Friday service illustrates Baumstark's law: the more significant the day the more likely it preserves ancient forms. The collects are thought to date to the fifth century (Gelasian nos. 400-417, Gregorian nos. 338-355, Missale Gallicanum vetus nos. 94-111). The directions to kneel after the bidding, pray in silence, and then stand for the collect dates at least to the sixth century.
The third Roman prayer was pro universis ordinibus, for those ordained. Cranmer translates this as "for all estates of men in thy holy congregation". The 1662 revision followed the Scottish Book of 1637 in changing "congregation" to "Church", because of the Puritan ideas of "congregation".
The NZ version draws on the CofE ASB1980 (Pentecost 2) version rather than BCP(USA). It alters "that each in his vocation and ministry" to the more inclusive "that in the ministry to which you have called us we" but in the process loses the sense of individual vocation inherent in the original (more on this below).
Celebrating Eucharist (Chapter 20 p.168) is more influenced by BCP(USA) and has for Good Friday:
Let us pray for the one holy catholic and apostolic Church of Christ throughout the world:
for its unity in witness and service,
for all bishops and other ministers
and the people whom they serve,
for N our bishop, and all the people of this diocese,
for all Christians in this community,
for those about to be baptised (particularly...),
that God will confirm the Church in faith, increase it in love, and preserve it in peace.
Faithful and compassionate God,
your Spirit guides the Church and makes it holy;
hear the prayers we offer,
that in the particular ministry
to which you have called us,
we may serve you faithfully,
through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.
Here "Faithful and compassionate God" provides a more complementary image to "Almighty and everlasting God".
Cranmer, in my opinion, was right to include all in the church, not just clergy, in praying for vocations. The vocation to lay ministry is as much a call from God as the vocation to be a bishop. There is a new form of "clericalism", a devaluing of lay ministry, that wants more lay people "up the front" in a service. As if lay ministry is about looking more like priests. As if laity in the pews are not "participating" or "celebrating" fully in a service. Lay ministry has the duty and the priviledge to be the primary hands and feet of Christ in the world, in the workplace, the family, amongst friends, etc. There is much that still needs work and reflection with some people appearing to celebrate collecting orders and seeing themselves as bishop, and priest, and deacon, and laos, rather than we are all the baptised gathered around Christ's one table equally with our various ministries being ordered.
The original collect, and Cranmer's, ASB, and even Celebrating Eucharist highlighted the individual vocation to which each is called rather than a collective understanding of the vocation of all Christians. Is God's will so specific, that once missed we cannot get back on track again? Did God call me to marry Molly rather than Myrtle - and having made the wrong choice will I be unhappy all my life? Or worse! Did God call me to be a Truck driver and instead I became a Taxi chauffeur - or worse - something not even starting with "T"! Does God have only one pathway planned out for me, and if I miss a branch I am out of God's will until I backtrack?
Or is, in fact, God's will more general. To love God, others, self, and creation, and to find that will in the specific context I find myself in, with the gifts and weaknesses I have? Maybe the NZ version of the collect, with its apparent focus on the general vocation common to all, maybe this is a more appropriate starting point for reflecting on God's will and vocation for me.
And in that context, this site's call for a balanced spirituality individually and communally, may be central to the love of God, others, self, and creation that we are all called to. A balance including eucharist, office, lectio, and contemplative silent prayer.
Common Worship (Church of England) Fifth Sunday after Trinity
Almighty and everlasting God,
by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church
is governed and sanctified:
hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people,
that in their vocation and ministry
they may serve you in holiness and truth
to the glory of your name;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.