Prayers for Advent and Christmas

These prayers are for the waiting season known as Advent, which leads up to Christmas.

Advent Intercession #1

God of creation, God of redemption, God of grace and presence among us, we bring our prayers today. We ponder: ‘our God, contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made man.’

Let us sing together our best songs

the combined choirs of people and angels, earth and heaven

Let us sing of God-with-us,

            God among us,

Our great God, willing to shrink

to the size of a human hand, a human baby.

We’ll never understand it, but our Creator was willing to do it.

He was willing to be reduced to a hand-span, so small,

so that he could span the widest gaps

            bridge the most impossible distances.

He stretches out between our worst and God’s best,

            our shame and God’s forgiveness.

He draws us together, we failed people of his, and says:

            ‘You can know what God is like

            because I have come to show you.’

God who reveals yourself in the wonder of your creation

God who reveals yourself in the gift of your Son, the Christ Child,

We pray for our world.

We pay for those who are so busy with work, that they have no time to see you among us.

Show yourself to them.

We pray for world leaders, those in Europe, in the Middle East, in Asia, in Africa, in the Pacific and in this country as they strive to find good answers to the problems of planet earth.

Show yourself to them.

We pray for those leaders and workers who are focussed on local issues, people of good will trying to make a difference.

In their hard work, show yourself to them.

We pray for those who are distracted by the clutter of Christmas, thinking of it as the silly season, the holiday season, the festive season, and complaining of the cost of everything.

God who has offered the greatest free gift of all in Jesus your Son,

In their distraction, show yourself to them.

We pray for those who are full of joy at this time, looking forward to family reunions, delighting in preparing gifts for those they love and those they have never met, giving thanks for things restored that they thought were lost.

In their joy, show yourself to them.

We pray for those whose hearts are breaking at this time. Where there is loss, and great grief, and separation in families and friendships, and failure and disappointment that hurts deeply.

In their pain, show yourself to them and give them comfort.

We pray for those, who like the shepherds that long ago night were expecting nothing. Whose lives are just going along the same old track. Surprise them with your unexpected presence.

God, break into their lives and ours with the mystery and wonder of your gift to us all.

In the name of the Christ, the Child of God, AMEN

Margaret Reeson

Advent Intercession #2

Long ago the prophet Isaiah wrote:

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
       because the LORD has anointed me
       to preach good news to the poor.
       He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
       to proclaim freedom for the captives
       and release from darkness for the prisoners, [a]

 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
       and the day of vengeance of our God,
       to comfort all who mourn…

And so we pray for our community and our world and ourselves.

Loving God, Creator, Saviour and Spirit, you came into our world at Christmas to be one of us. You came to live among those who were poor, and brokenhearted, and captive, and in deep darkness. You come to live among us still.

You promised good news to the poor.

We pray for those who face this Christmas in poverty, and fearful about how they will manage in the new year. We hold before you those who live in our own community, and those in places facing extreme difficulty.

Give them hope. Show us how to live so that others need not go without. Open our eyes to recognize human need and push us to act.

You promised to bind up the brokenhearted and comfort those who mourn.

We pray for those who are brokenhearted. This is a hard time to have a broken heart. We pray for those on our hearts who will find this time of families and celebrations and general good cheer a mockery.

Comfort them, dear Lord. With your gentle touch bring healing to their spirit.

You promised to proclaim freedom for the captives and release for prisoners in darkness.

We pray for those who are captive, bound by circumstances, or addiction, and many ways the rest of us are not even aware of. We pray for those who will spend this Christmas in prison, and for their families.

Lord, show them a way to true freedom. And if in any way we are part of the key to that freedom, make it clear to us.

Lord, You promised, through the ancient prophet and through the Child of Christmas that you would… ‘ provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
       the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  
Amen   

Margaret Reeson

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