A prayer of Thomas Cranmer

Lord God,
you have taught us
that anything we do without love is worth nothing,
for whoever lives without love
is counted dead before you;
send your Holy Spirit,
and pour into our hearts
that most excellent gift of love,
the true bond of peace and of all virtues;

grant this for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ
who is alive with with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.

From the New Zealand Prayer Book

This collect was written by Thomas Cranmer and is based on that beautiful Biblical passage on love - 1 Corinthians 13. Cranmer was Archbishop of Canterbury during the reign of Henry VIII and was finally executed during the reign of Henry's daughter Mary.

During his time as Archbishop of Canterbury he compiled the first two editions of The Book of Common Prayer and he led the newly established Church of England through liturgical changes and laid down the doctrinal basis of that church.

Unlike her father, Mary I was a Roman Catholic and, after a lengthy imprisonment, Cranmer was finally executed as a heretic. As the flames grew around him, his final words were, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit... I see the heavens open and Jesus standing at the right hand of God."