The Latin Collect
Dirigat corda nostra, quaesumus, Domine, tuae miserationis operatio; quia tibi sine te placere non possumus.
The Collect 1549
O GOD, for asmuche as without thee, we are not able to please thee; Graunte that the workyng of thy mercie maye in all thynges directe and rule our heartes; Through Jesus Christ our Lorde
The Collect 1662
O GOD, forasmuch as without thee we are not able to please thee; Mercifully grant, that thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Latin Collect, from the Gelasian Sacramentary of about AD 750, and likely written in response to the Pelagian heresy, appeared in the Sarum Missal for the 19th after Trinity, and on the Continent for the 18th after Pentecost, where it still appears in the Tridentine Missal. Cranmer translated it quite literally, but it was altered somewhat for the Book of 1662, a more significant change than the editors may have realized, as it removes the direct petition for the working of God's mercy in favor of an invocation of the Holy Spirit, theologically correct, but rather different in emphasis.
We regularly try to fool ourselves into believing that we are actually pretty much good people, on the whole, and that, if we live a reasonably good life we're acceptable to God. We aren't. We are fallen creatures, forever making resolves and forever failing our own commitments, to say nothing of the abiding sins we are not even willing to give up. We can't atone for our past misdeeds and we prove ourselves unable to start afresh and keep ourselves clean, and, if we are honest with ourselves, we know it. God, in His mercy knows it also, and that is why, before the foundation of the earth He made provision for our deep need. He sent His Son, who died and rose for us, and left us the inestimable gift of sacraments and Scripture, and He sent His Holy Spirit to lead and guide us in the difficult road to salvation. We ask in this prayer that He continue the operation of His great mercy among us, and continue top mold us into His true image. May this be our true desire, and may this be reality in our lives.