This prayer draws upon the experience of the disciples who did not recognize Jesus until after he had opened the Scriptures to them and broken bread with them (Luke 24:13-35). The worshiper invites a similar degree of fellowship with Jesus, beseeching his continued presence that our hearts would burn with zeal and hope, and that we would grow to recognize him in Word and Sacrament alike. In the cycle of the week, where Sunday is the day of resurrection and Friday is the day of the crucifixion, it makes sense that this prayer should land on Thursday as a memorial of Maundy Thursday, when our Lord first instituted the Sacrament of Holy Communion at that Supper.
Collect for the Presence of Christ
Lord Jesus, stay with us, for evening is at hand and the day is past;
be our companion in the way, kindle our hearts, and awaken hope,
that we may know you as you are revealed in Scripture and the breaking of bread.
Grant this for the sake of your love. Amen.
This collect originates in The Liturgy of the Hours, promulgated for the Roman Church by Pope Paul VI in 1974. It was, and remains, the concluding Collect in Vespers for Monday of Week IV in that cycle of daily prayers. The American Prayer Book of 1979 pulled this collect into a similar position in Evening Prayer, though common usage (now endorsed in the present Prayer Book) landed it on Thursday instead of Monday. The Liturgy of the Hours has since revised the wording of this collect, but it remains here in its 1979 form.