Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People December 24, 2017 - Morning

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Based on Luke 2:15-20

Eternal, astonishing God, what language shall we use to express the wonder of this season? We struggle to tell the extraordinary story of your birth among us, your walk among us, your place in our very midst, and in our own human form. Words seem to lack the grandeur needed to convey this story of grace and truth and so we tell it as best we can, over and over again, in glad songs, in shared dreams, in hands held, and visits made, in Christmas meals, in gifts given, and even in the offerings we bring here today, Lord. Let the Good News ring out among us in a thousand ways –bearing witness to our conviction that the story is ever fresh, ever true, ever needed to soothe the weary world.

Be with those this bright day, dear God, who struggle. Some struggles are of the body: illness, pain, weakness. We know that as you have made us, fearfully and wonderfully, so you might now lend a healing hand to those whose bodies need it. And some who struggle this day face struggles of the spirit: loneliness, regret, hopelessness, anger, bitterness, or sorrow. May the dawn of this day bring fresh beginnings to all those who wrestle with these things. May the promise of the Christ child’s birth outweigh every old remnant of anguish and offer to all in need of it, the healing assurance of your grace.

So many people and places across the face of the earth do need the Spirit of your Son today, God: from boardrooms to playgrounds, hospital wards to refugee tents. We pray that here and everywhere, with the coming of Christmas, a reign of hope, justice, peace, and righteousness may begin.

Let us be able ambassadors of Christ’s goodness to our world. Let us work willingly, offering our best for the Prince of Peace, until tyranny and terrorism are no longer threats, until power and might are ever tempered with love, until our lives tell the old, astonishing story as clearly as once the angel voices, shepherds’ calls, stable animals, wandering kings, and guiding stars did.

Hear our prayer today, God, offered with Christmas wonderment, and concluded with Christ’s own words, as we say together his prayer … The Lord’s Prayer.

Prayers of the People December 10, 2017

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Based on Luke 1:39-45 ~ the Visitation

Eternal God, a season of wonder and watching and waiting is upon us. Receive our thankful gifts. We hear the haunting words of prophets, and we wonder at the long, rich history of promises made and fulfilled. We watch the symbols of your incarnation begin to appear among us in wreath, tree, and crèche, and we are reminded of your tender coming. We know that earth’s redemption is your plan, and so we wait. We grow heavy with expectation.

Help us to prepare a place for Christ’s presence among us as we wait. As we decorate, remind us that our faith must be more than decorative. As the season’s cheer builds and grows, let our care for one another build even more strongly. Let our appreciation for the spirit of this season be demonstrated by what we give of ourselves – and let our giving be guided by the pattern you offered – simple, humble, self-giving. And when our minds turn to the bustle of celebration, remind us to keep our hearts turned to your holiness.

We pray for those whose needs are in our hearts and on our minds those near to us, and those whose needs we only know by report. We hold our hopes for those in need up to you now, in silence ….

And God, as we prepare to leave here today, we pray for your help for our lives. If we have heard from the world that the humble seem weak, the pure seem naïve, and the openhearted seem gullible, then strip away our pretensions to worldly wisdom. Urge us to attend most closely to your voice, to accept your word to us, and to learn from the wisdom you offer. Help us listen for annunciations you may make to us about the possibilities for your spirit to grow and flourish in us; and give us the will to fulfill all your hopes for us. Help us to be expectant for you, God, alert to what you may need our help to bring about.

Hear us now, we pray O God, as we, your waiting people, say together the words Jesus taught us to say when we pray … The Lord’s Prayer.

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