Public Prayers for Advent & Christmas 3

November 28th, 2021

“Make Smooth Our Rough Places”

Great God of promise, you have come to us in Christ whose birth the angels sing! Your glory has appeared, and we have seen it together! You have anointed us with your Holy Spirit and we are filled with joy!

We confess we need help changing our hearts and lives. We criticize too much. We envy too much. We hold onto resentment too much. Straighten out our crookedness and make smooth our rough places. Hear now our silent prayers. (Silence)

We pray for the earth and its wellbeing. For leaders who need guidance. For all who need work. For those who don’t have a home. For those who suffer and those who grieve. For those whose souls are troubled. For those who need to forgive. For those who have done evil, and we ask that you convict their hearts to repentance, while recognizing the capacity for sin we see in others also resides in us. Hear now our silent prayers. (Silence) 

God of mercy and grace, help us practice self-control and make us kind. Give us patience that we may persevere. May we be generous and rich in faith. May we be people who take delight in each other, even as you take delight in us. We pray in the name of Jesus born at Bethlehem, who grew strong in wisdom, humility and obedience, who was crucified but whom you raised from the dead, the same Jesus, the same Jesus who still teaches us to pray together…

“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us—not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.”


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“Where Else to Turn”

We come to worship you, Jesus. The angels sang at your birth. We join them. The shepherds, too. The sheep and cattle, the donkey, making their animal sounds. We like to think they were all pleased to be in your presence. We are! We come to worship you, Jesus, because you come to us.

Thank you for the faith you give, for teaching us to trust. We really, really want to believe in you. Help our unbelief. Please understand when we resist. Is it our arrogance that gets in the way, that we think we’re too smart to need you? Or is it our low self-esteem, that we don’t feel worthy?  Thank you for faithfully guiding us in your direction when we don’t know where else to turn. 

We pray for those who suffer, those who are sad, those afraid, those who feel they have lost themselves. We don’t always know how to help each other, so encourage us when we try and fail. Forgive if we’ve done anything this week that has gotten in your way. Hear now our silent prayers. (Silence)

We know when we are at our weakest, you are at your strongest. And so, we have hope. Let your all-sufficient grace dwell in us. Fill our mouths with laughter, our lips with shouts of joy.

We worship you, Jesus. We lift our voices with the angels because you come to us. We are pleased to be in your presence. At your birth you were wrapped in bands of cloth and laid in a manger. And at your death you were wrapped in a purple cloak, a crown of thorns, and laid in a tomb. Yet even this could not stop you. You defeated sin, and darkness and death so that nothing could ever separate us from your love. And still to this day you teach us to pray together… “Our Father who art in heaven…

“Making Noble Efforts”

All glory be to you, incarnate God, as you come to us in the Christ child, the babe, the son of Mary. At his birth you prove your faithful love and mercy never end but are renewed every morning and every night. At his birth you shine light in our darkness, and promise compassion over all you have made. At his birth you become flesh, living among us, bringing glimpses of your glory and glad tidings of your grace. 

Forgive us, Lord Jesus, when we do not recognize or receive you in the babies and noisy children around us. Forgive us when we see people hungry and thirsty and fail to feed them or give them drink. Or when we decline to reach out to those who are sick or in prison, or who simply need someone to listen. Forgive us when we shun the stranger or judge the refugee and do not see them as members of your family for whom you came at Christmas. Hear now our silent prayers.

Compassionate God, in your mercy grant us grace. We pray for our loved ones that they may be healthy, happy, and whole. We pray for the ill, the grieving, the lonely. We pray for those making noble efforts to stay sober. We pray for those refusing to speak to each other. We pray for those desperate for a good night’s sleep. We pray for those enduring the holidays, and those who need assurance that second chances in life are real. 

Compassionate God, in your mercy, grant us grace. Receive our prayers and our praise as we come before you on bended knee. All glory, all honor be to you whose faithful love and mercy never end, but are renewed every morning and every night. We lift all this to you in the name of the Bethlehem babe, the son of Mary, Jesus our Christ who still teaches us to pray together… “Our Father who art in heaven…

“Joyful and Triumphant?”

Almighty God, creator of heaven and earth, we come before you humble and transparent. “O Come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant?” Well…we come trying to be faithful, wishing we were more joyful, knowing very little about how to live triumphant. We come singing, perhaps not always so sweetly, but offering you glory in the highest as best we know how, imagining angels in heaven eagerly singing with us.

We bow on bended knee alongside adoring shepherds who embrace your arrival as a babe, innocent and vulnerable. We love you, God, for the way you love us. We trust that you intend nothing but good, faithfully so. We are learning you do some of your best work when we stumble and lose our way. 

Save us, God. Shine your light into our darkness, that we may not be overcome. Make your love complete in us that we may give it away to those who have not known love, and some days that’s not easy to do. Help us. Hear our silent prayers now as we open our hearts confidently before you. (Silence)

Accessible God, come and be with us. Forgive, restore, draw us to yourself. Prepare us once more for the glad celebration of your birth. Keep us ever sensitive and available to those who are ill, to the poor, the oppressed, those addicted and those desperate for justice and peace. Raise them up, and us, with all your people that we may wait with expectant hope for your return through Jesus Christ, the same Jesus, risen from the dead, who still teaches us to pray together… “Our Father who art in heaven…

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