Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People December 23, 2018

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Based on Luke 1:39-45 ~ the Visitation 

Receive our thankful offering this morning, Eternal God, in this season of wonder and watching and waiting.  We’ve heard the haunting words of prophets, and we wondered at the long, rich history of promises made and fulfilled.  We’ve watched the symbols of your incarnation as they appear among us in wreath, tree, and crèche.  We know that earth’s redemption is your plan, and so now we wait.  We grow heavy with expectation.  Help us to prepare a fitting place for Christ’s presence among us as we wait. 

And let all our preparations demonstrate our appreciation for your great gifts to us.  Let us, in this season of giving, be willing to give of ourselves, and let our giving be guided by the pattern you offered – simple, humble, self-giving.  When our minds turn to the bustle of celebration, remind us to keep our hearts turned to you, God, that we may focus rightly. 

We pray for those whose problems concern us, and you, in this season – those far away, perhaps, whose pressing needs we may know only by report, although their needs are surely known and felt by you.  So show us how we can be your compassionate hands and heart in troubled places.  And we pray for those near and dear to us.  We thank you for people with whom our innermost thoughts and hopes may be shared; we thank you for places where commitments and resolutions for good may be undertaken with others; where support and sympathy is offered to uplift and sustain.  We are grateful for everyone everywhere who shares in such spiritual kinship with us. 

And we are especially grateful for your Son, whose kinship with us was offered without condition and without limit.  Urge us to attend most closely to his voice in this season.  Help us listen for invitations to let his spirit grow and flourish in us, making every day Christmas.  We pray as your grateful people, saying together the words Jesus taught us to say when we pray … The Lord’s Prayer.

Prayers of the People December 16, 2018

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Based on Luke 3:7-14

As we come to you in prayer, O God, we find the gifts of welcome you offer us, time and time again, are gifts more significant, more restorative, more nourishing and wholesome than any other gifts we receive.  We are deeply grateful for the reach of your love that extends across time and space to find us here today.  So help us to live with your open-heartedness and open-handedness, Eternal God, as we wait for the fulfillment in this Advent season’s great hope of your Son’s coming.  Show us how to prepare a fitting place for Him.

 First, let us offer you, God, a thorough-going, heartfelt repentance, setting aside any arrogance or pride that weakens our resolve to see ourselves as we really are.  Help us to look the past in the eye, confess it for what it is, and start afresh.  Let us consider what you may wish to make of us now – and what we may yet make of ourselves.  Prophets of old reminded us that those who turn to you, earnestly asking, “What should we do?” will receive your blessing; and they will be those who, in turn, will give of themselves gladly and willingly, in many places and among the many people you call your own.   

So bless us now and shape us anew, God.  And let our growth be patterned on the faithfulness we witnessed through your Son.  Help us aspire to live lives worthy of his people, following the model he gave to us.  Let our lives bear the fruits that mark us as Christ’s people.  Show us how to live with integrity, generosity, compassion, hopefulness, confidence, and the peace of Christ.

We look with wonder toward the day of Christ’s birth, for we know his presence then will be as real to us as a newborn’s cry, and as tender as a new mother’s tears of joy, as tangible as the crust of bread and sip of wine through which he continues to make himself known to us.  We pray as those who wait for him and trust in him with sure and certain faithfulness.  And we use now his own words of prayer as we say together: The Lord’s Prayer.

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