O Come Emmanuel

Image from Art4TheGlryOfGod by Sharon under Creative Commons license

 

Our world carries the scars of the way we live, Jesus;
    the preferential treatment given
        to the few who are wealthy and powerful and famous
        leaves the rest ignored and neglected;
    the desperate quest for more
        leaves all of us feeling less, enjoying less;
    the self-protective aggression we embrace to feel safe
        leaves us and others wounded and frightened;
    the apathetic disregard for the suffering, the grieving, the dying   
        leaves us disconnected from our own humanity,
        from our ability to feel and to care.

We need our world turned upside down, Jesus;
   We need our self-importance and self-sufficiency to be undermined;
   We need a new way of being that is built on a whole new set of
   values:
        Humble the powerful
            and exalt the humble, we pray;
        Fill the hungry with good things,
            and keep the satisfied from taking even more;
        Give us the wisdom to let a Child lead us
            into a world of justice and love;
            into the joy of sacrifice and service and simplicity.
 
O come, Emmanuel, and ransom your captive people.
Amen.
 
John van de Laar,  South African Methodist worship minster
 
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A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
    from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
    the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and of might,
    the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.

He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
    or decide by what he hears with his ears;
 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
    with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
    with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt
    and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

The wolf will live with the lamb,
    the leopard will lie down with the goat,
 the calf and the lion and the yearling[a] together;
    and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
    their young will lie down together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
    and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,
 for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.
 
 
 

Glory be to God on high

image / Lawrence OP / Flickr
 
 
Glory be to God on high,
and on earth peace,
peace among those of good will.
We praise you, we bless you,
we give thanks for your great glory,
holy God, tender God, God our beloved creator.
 
Christ our desire 
only embodiment of God,
bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh,
foolishness of God, greater than human wisdom,
emptiness of God, full of redemption,
bearing away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us.
Holy one, bearing away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us.
Beloved one, bearing away the sin of the world,
receive our prayer.
 
For you alone are holy,
you alone our desire.
You alone, O Christ,
with the comforter of fire,
are radiant with the grace and glory of God most high.
 
Janet Morely, British poet and theologian
 
_________________________________
 
 
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
 

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When You open Your hand

image

Loving God,
You are our Creator and Sustainer.
When You open Your hand,
You satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.
And so we look to You whenever we are in need,
trusting in Your love and Your abundant goodness.

As You once fed the hungry crowds with five loaves and two small fish,
we ask that You would again fill those who are empty this day.
Pour out Your Spirit on all who hunger and thirst.

We pray for those who are physically hungry—whose stomachs are empty.
We think especially of the people in Somalia and Eastern Africa
who are facing critical food shortages;
    who are suffering the effects of malnutrition and starvation;
        and watching helplessly as loved ones die.

Lord, in Your mercy, open Your hand.
Pour out Your Spirit, so that they may be filled.


We pray for those who are empty emotionally—
who are lonely and long for companionship and love,
        who are caught in the grip of depression,
            or overwhelmed with grief.

Lord, in Your mercy, open Your hand.
Pour out Your Spirit, so that they may be filled.


We pray for those who are spiritually empty—
who are troubled, but don’t know where to turn;
    who long for purpose and meaning, but don’t know where to look;
        who need You, but do not yet know You.

Lord, in Your mercy, open Your hand.
Pour out Your Spirit, so that they may be filled.


God, we praise You for Your abundant gifts in our lives.
Pour out Your Spirit on us as well.
Fill us with Your compassion and love,
so that we would willingly share some of our abundance
with those who have need.

Lord, in Your mercy, open Your hand.
Pour out Your Spirit, so that we may be filled.


We pray in the name of Jesus Christ,
who came so that all of humanity might come to know
the abundant life that comes from You.

Amen.

Christine Longhurst, Worship Professor, Canadian Mennonite University 

re-worship.blogspot.com

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Psalm 145:14-19

The Lord upholds all who fall
    and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand
    and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and faithful in all he does.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
    he hears their cry and saves them. Continue reading

Prayer for Psalm 77

remember mercy by ₡ґǘșϯγ Ɗᶏ Ⱪᶅṏⱳդ via Flickr
 
 
Lord! Have you locked your mercies in a cage?
Did you wrap your compassion with forgetfulness?
Has your rejection of your people become like a volcanic mountain?
Has your mercy become as small as a speck of sand?
Is there not one single umbrella of mercy 
    that provides shelter at the noon of your rage?
 
Just a moment of your rejection is like an eternity of pain.
The streets of hell become my path in your anger.
Will you reject your people forever?
Has the date of your mercy expired?
 
I am a Canaanite woman who has a daughter possessed by demons (Mk 7:26).
I seek your mercy.
I am blind Bartimaeus begging for your compassion (Mk 10:47).
You showed mercy to your servant Lot (Gen 19:16)
    and to Epaphroditus when you healed him (Phil 2:27).
We too are your people!
Nurse us with your compassion and embrace us.
Don’t call us Lo-Ruhamah (Hos 1:6);
     instead, fill our lives with divine mercy.
 
I shall recall your works and wonders,
    and I shall remember you.
Will you forget us while we remember you?
We contemplate your works and hunger for your mercy.
Your compassion is better than life.
 
O Lord, Pharoah is wandering in your land!
The devil holds the neck of your daughters.
Loudspeakers are everywhere, rejecting your religion.
The body of Christ is blistered with divisions,
    and your people are busy amputating your body.
Where are the winds of heaven and the thunder of your voice?
Where is the arm of God?
Where are your wonders, acts of power, and fountains of mercy?
 
I cannot be convinced that you have forgotten your mercies,
    and so I wait for you.
Have mercy on me and my country.
Have mercy on us and guide your people.
Bring millions of believers to your church.
O Lord – Kyrie eleison
    Have mercy, O Lord!
 
Yohanna Katanacho, 1967 – , Palestinian Israeli evangelical theologian
 
____________________________
 
 
I cried out to God for help;
    I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
    at night I stretched out untiring hands,
    and I would not be comforted.

I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
    I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.
You kept my eyes from closing;
    I was too troubled to speak.
I thought about the former days,
    the years of long ago;
I remembered my songs in the night.
    My heart meditated and my spirit asked:

“Will the Lord reject forever?
    Will he never show his favor again?
Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
    Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
    Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”

Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
    the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
I will consider all your works
    and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

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preparing to pray

Photo by Olivia Snow on Unsplash
 
 
Enable me, O God, to collect and compose my thoughts 
    before an immediate approach to you in prayer.
May I be careful to have my mind in order
    when I take upon myself the honour to speak
    to the Sovereign Lord of the universe,
    remembering that upon the temper of my soul
    depends, in very great measure, my success.
You are infinitely too great to be trifled with,
    to wise to be imposed on by a mock devotion,
    and abhor a sacrifice without a heart.
Help me to entertain an habitual sense of your perfections,
    as an admirable help against cold and formal performances.
Save me from engaging in rash and precipitate prayers
    and from abrupt breaking away 
    to follow business or pleasure
    as though I had never prayed.
 
Susanna Wesley, 1669-1742, mother of John & Charles Wesley, founders of Methodism
 
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The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and kind in all his works.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
    he also hears their cry and saves them.

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All Saints Day prayer

image by geralt via pixabay
 
 
Before you, O God,
    we remember today the ones who went before us.
Not held back by the awesomeness of the task
    they followed you with tenacity and joy.
Full of courage and trust they went to new places,
    ready to stand and suffer with you.
 
Like a cloud of many witnesses
    they stand around us.
 
Before you, O God,
    we remember the saints of our day,
    who do not live by the rigid letter of the law
    but by the wild demands of faith,
    always prepared to give more,
    always ready to be turned inside out,
    knowing that new ways can only be found
    through risk and pain.
 
Like a cloud of many witnesses
    they stand around us.
 
Eternal God,
    we thank you for the witnesses of all times and all places.
May the stories of their lives show us the richness of your grace.
May they inspire us to look deep within our souls.
May they encourage us to take the risk of faith
    and to serve you in new ways.
 
Francis Brienen, United Reformed Church, UK
 
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Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, 
    let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, 
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 
    looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, 
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, 
    despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, 
    so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

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May Your Spirit …

image
 
May your Spirit guide my mind,
Which is so often dull and empty.
Let my thoughts always be on you,
And let me see you in all things.
 
May your Spirit quicken my soul,
Which is so often listless and lethargic.
Let my soul be awake to your presence,
And let me know you in all things.
 
May your Spirit melt my heart,
Which is so often cold and indifferent.
Let my heart be warmed by your love,
And let me feel you in all things.
 
Johann Freylinghausen, 1670-1739, German pietist and hymnist
 
______________________________
 
 
how much more will the blood of Christ, 
who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God,
purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

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Ignatian Litany of the Names of Jesus

Christ Pantocrator 

 
Jesus, Son of the Virgin, . . . . . . . . Have mercy on us.
Jesus, our Creator and Lord, . . .
Jesus, eternal Lord of all things, . . . 
Jesus, who created and redeemed us, . . .
Jesus, who is to be our eternal judge, . . . 
Jesus, divine majesty, . . . 
Jesus, complete and perfect goodness, . . .
Jesus, infinite love, . . . 
Jesus, our kindly Lord, . . . 
Jesus, infinite wisdom, . . . 
Jesus, author and source of every blessing, . . .
Jesus, the giver of every gift, . . . 
Jesus, our perfect and eternal good, . . 
Jesus, our salvation, . . .
Jesus, our help and support, . . .
Jesus, our Mediator, . . .
Jesus, the power of God, . . .
Jesus, our supreme leader and Lord, . . .
Jesus, our food and companion in pilgrimage, . . .
Jesus, beautiful and lovable, . . .
Jesus, poor and humble, . . .
Jesus, made obedient for our sake, . . .
Jesus, plunged in sorrow, . . .
Jesus, overwhelmed by anguish and grief, . . .
Jesus, naked upon the cross, . . .
Jesus, who wished to be sold to redeem us, . . .
Jesus, who chose a painful death to give us eternal life, . . .
Jesus, now in glory, . . .
Jesus, full of happiness and joy, . . .
Jesus, our consoler, . . . 
Jesus, our peace, . . . 
Jesus, our joy, . . . 
Jesus, our hope, . . .
Jesus, our life, . . . 
Jesus, our reward exceedingly great, . . . 
Jesus, true life of the world, . . . 
Jesus, our model and guide, . . . 
Jesus, the head of your body the church, . . .
Jesus, the bridegroom of the church your spouse, . . .
Jesus, your Father has placed us with you, . . . 
Jesus, we have cast the anchor of our hope in you, . . . 
Jesus, move our hearts to follow you in complete poverty, . . . 
Jesus, help us conform to the will of the most Holy Trinity, . . . 
Jesus, be the means of our union with the most Holy Trinity, . . . 
Blessed be the name of Jesus, now and forever. 
Amen.
 
 
_______________________
 
 
Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:

He was manifested in the flesh,
    vindicated by the Spirit,
        seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
    believed on in the world,
        taken up in glory.
 

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Defend me from all temptation

Temptation on the Mount / Duccio / Wikimedia Commons
 
Defend me from all temptation, 
    that I may ever accept the right and refuse the wrong.
Defend me from myself, 
    that in your care my weakness may not bring me to shame.
May my lower nature never seize the upper hand.
Defend me from all that would seduce me,
    that in your power 
        no tempting voice may cause me to listen,
        no tempting sight fascinate my eyes.
Defend me from discouragement in difficulty and from despair in failure,
    from pride in success and from forgetting you in the day of prosperity.
Help me to remember that there is no time when you will fail me 
    and no moment when I do not need you.
Grant me this desire: 
    that guided by your light and defended by your grace,
        I may come in safety and bring honor to my journey’s end
        by the defending work of Jesus Christ my Lord.
 
Norman Shawchuck, 1935–2012, American United Methodist pastor
 
______________________________
 
 
And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, 
    “God is tempting me.”
 God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. 
Temptation comes from our own desires, 
    which entice us and drag us away. 
These desires give birth to sinful actions. 
And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
 

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Your prescient eyes saw me

photo by Jason Hogan   on Unsplash
 
There was a time when I did not exist,
    and you have created me;
I did not implore you for a wish,
    and you have fulfilled it;
I had not come into the light,
    and you have seen me;
I had not yet appeared,
    and you have taken pity on me;
I had not called for you,
    and you have taken care of me;
I did not raise my hand,
    and you have looked at me;
I had not prayed to you,
    and you were merciful to me;
I had not uttered a sound,
    and you have heard me;
I had not groaned,
    and you have lent an ear;
 
With prescient eyes you saw
    the crimes of my guilty self,
    and yet, you have formed me.
And now, I who have been created by you,
    and saved by you,
    and have been tended with such care,
Let me not completely perish by the blow of sin –
    that is but the slanderer’s invention;
Let not the fog of my stubbornness
    triumph over the light of your forgiveness;
Nor the hardness of my heart
    over your forbearing goodness;
Nor my mortal carnal being
    over your most perfect fullness;
Nor my material weakness
    over your unconquerable grandeur.
 
Gregory of Narek, c.950 – c.1003, Armenian mystic and theologian
 
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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
    who has blessed us in the heavenly realms 
    with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world 
    to be holy and blameless in his sight. 
In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, 
    in accordance with his pleasure and will
    to the praise of his glorious grace, 
    which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
 

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