Eternal God, by the birth of Jesus Christ you gave yourself to the world. Grant that, being born in our hearts, he may save us from all our sins, and restore within us the image and likeness of our Creator, to whom be everlasting praise and glory, world without end. Amen.
We are all still reeling from the school shooting that happened this past weekend. This afternoon, I had the privilege of talking with a youth pastor from Newtown, CT. He works with children and teenagers in his community just minutes from where the shooting happened.
There was a lot that he and I talked and prayed about. Here are a few of the prayer requests that he said that I could feel free to share.
This is one of my favorite hymns written by Charles Wesley. I use it often as a prayer.
Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set they people free; from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee. Israel’s strength and consolation, hope for all the earth thou art; dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.
Born they people to deliver, born a child and yet a King, born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring. By thine own eternal spirit rule in all our hearts alone; by thine all sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne.
In the advent seasons, when the past has fled, unasked, away and there is nothing left to do but wait, God, shelter us. Be our surrounding darkness; be the fertile soil out of which hope springs in due time. In uncertain times, help us to greet the dawn and labor on, love on, in faith awaiting your purpose hid in you waiting to be born in due time. Amen.
Waiting is hard to do. And, we do a lot of waiting. We wait in line at Starbucks. We wait for test grades to come back. We wait to hear if we were accepted at the college of our choice. Or maybe we’re waiting for our parents to stop fighting, an addiction to find an end, or a friend to be a friend again.
God has promised us that no matter what we go through, God will always be with us. God made a promise to David that a new “house” or temple will be built. In David’s prayer, he gives thanks but also asks God to fulfill God’s promise.
During this season of waiting, where do you need God to move? Today write your own prayer asking God to fulfill God’s promises in your life. Don’t be afraid to be as bold as David was in his prayer.
Merciful God, you sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation. Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may celebrate aright the commemoration of the nativity, and may await with joy the coming in glory of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen.
who hast knit together thine elect
in one communion and fellowship
in the mystical body of Your Son, Christ our Lord:
Give us grace so to follow Your blessed saints
in all virtuous and godly living,
that we may come
to those ineffable joys
that thou hast prepared for those
who unfeignedly love thee;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord,
who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth,
one God, in glory everlasting. Amen
On this hallowed evening, may the Holy Spirit fill us with the tricks of the trade of mask-making. In the same way that you call us to imagine ourselves in others’ shoes, call us to try on the faces, the masks, the voices, and the characters of those who fascinate and captivate us, those whom we fear, those whom we adore, those who have gone before us. Guide little ones, elders, and everyone in-between safely as they cross paths with strangers, knock on neighbor’s doors, and open their own front doors. Tonight is a thin place – where darkness and light, heaven and earth, life and death, fear and awe dance so closely together. Saint us, trick, us betwixt us, treat us, beg us, and hallow us as we hallow your name.
The following was posted on The Dark Knight Rises‘ Facebook page today from director Christopher Nolan.
“Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew of The Dark Knight Rises, I would like to express our profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community.
I would not presume to know anything about the victims of the shooting but that they were there last night to watch a movie. I believe movies are one of the great American art forms and the shared experience of watching a story unfold on screen is an important and joyful pastime.
The movie theatre is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me.
Nothing any of us can say could ever adequately express our feelings for the innocent victims of this appalling crime, but our thoughts are with them and their families.”
- Christopher Nolan
Be in prayer for the victims of this act and their families, as well as with the suspect and his family.
Gracious and loving God, who took the horror of what we did to your Child and turned it into new life: hear our prayer this morning. We have chosen the world’s cares over your Child’s easy yoke. We have looked for smooth paths, when your Child would have led us over difficult ones. We have hidden our faces from you. Holy One, remind us: You who raise Jesus from the dead can raise us to new life. Bring healing to our broken places, bring your peace to our anger and our fear, and bring your tender mercy to us, that we might know ourselves forgiven and ready to begin again. – Jane O. Sorenson