The Prayer of the Day or Collect takes only a moment in the service; yet it often carries some deep meaning as it keys into the theme for the day or collects the thoughts put forward in the lessons.
Evangelical Lutheran Worship, the hymnal for ELCA, emphasizes the water theme found in the lessons for the Third Sunday in Lent, with attention paid to Jesus encounter with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well in the gospel lesson from John 4.
Merciful God, the fountain of living water, you quench our thirst and wash away our sin. Give us this water always. Bring us to drink from the well that flows with the beauty of your truth through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
On the other hand, the Collect in the LCMS looks to God’s mercy for those who have gone astray. The people of Israel are once more struggling with God in their need for water. They are living up to the name of their ancestor Jacob, whom God renamed Israel, one who struggles with God. The Gospel tells us of Jesus bringing the good news to the Samaritans who have strayed from his promises, and have developed something of a mishmash of Jewish and pagan religion.
O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy, be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable trust of your Word; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.