O Lord God,
the Father almighty,
you inspire our prayers,
and you are ready to hear them.
Turn your merciful ears to our cry, pity us,
and loose the bonds of our sins;
through Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord.
Mozarabic Collects, p. 33 #2
A Collection of Prayers has the goal of collecting the best prayers of the past and present of Christendom to be an online prayer resource.
Another goal is to make the prayers accessible and useful as possible. Therefore prayers will be screened for doctrinal content* and may be adapted for grammar and consistency of style.
We also want to have sound scholarship, so for ancient and classic prayers sources must be listed. Out of concern for copyright and licensing laws, for ancient or classic prayers from a copyrighted source we will try to list a second source (“Also found here: …”) or variant.
As we gather these prayers, submissions and contributions are welcome. Submit a prayer through the contact page.
On this site, I am concerned primarily with the meaning of the prayers. While working on the first entries, I was struck especially with the very intimate nature of most of the prayers. Some of the prayers seem more intimate and poetic with the “traditional” language removed.
(from Bright’s Ancient Collects, 1901 edition)
let your forgiveness come from above.
May it comfort us in our misery,
may it cleanse us from our offences,
may it be granted to the penitent,
may it plead for mourners,
may it bring back those who wander from the faith,
may it raise up those who are fallen into sins,
may it reconcile us to the Father,
may it confirm us with the grace of Christ,
may it conform us to the Holy Spirit.
Source: Mozarabic Rite
Most of the text is exactly the same. The structure of the prayer is hidden in the square paragraph. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were originally written more like the second version. The meaning of the prayer pulses like a heartbeat.
Understanding of Public Domain
According to Wikipedia, the term “Public Domain” applies to published works from before 1924, and applies to unpublished works from the date of the death of the author plus 70 years. A publisher may renew the copyright of published works that publisher owns. While a classic prayer may have been written in Latin 600 years ago, someone’s translation or other rendering of it may be under copyright. See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_domain#Application_to_copyrightable_works
Understanding of Fair Use
In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:
- the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
- the nature of the copyrighted work;
- the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
- the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. (From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use)
We feel that our use is in keeping with the definition of fair use:
- All of the prayers on A Collection of Prayers are for nonprofit educational purposes, and for use in nonprofit activities, namely, the conducting of private prayer and corporate worship.
- We give credit where credit is due by tracking down sources as best we can. If a prayer is in a book that is currently sold under a copyright, we try to research the history of that prayer to find the earliest version, and if we can, we make our own translation or version of it. If it is a newer prayer or found only in the newer resource, then we don’t put it on our website / blog / database.
- There are presently around 1400 prayers in our database, so any single prayer would be 0.0714% of the total of our collection.
- Since we try not to use items under copyright or items in books that are still in print, we are not a detriment to sales of their work. We may have the same material on our site that they have in their books, but that would be because the material is in the public domain, free for everyone’s use.
If you are a copyright holder and feel we have an item that is under your copyright and is not under fair use, please contact us and we will be glad to remove it.
*The doctrinal standard for A Collection of Prayers is that of the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Prayers are not confined to Lutheran sources, however. Some imprecision in doctrinal expression is allowed in some of the more poetic prayers as long as it does not obscure clear Scriptural teaching.