Category Archives: Prayers

Prayer of Praise Lent III

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O Gardener of Life,

your mercy is steadfast, sure.

With care you plant us.

You turn the earth around us

and water our roots with love.

Even when we bear no fruit,

year after struggling year,

you are patient.

Your hope for us leafs out and flowers.

From the sweet fruits of your labor

you make a feast—

a banquet for all the famished,

free and fine.

At the table we tell the story:

God alone is good!

Together we sing your praise:

Honor and glory, gladness and thanks,

now and forever. Amen.

 

A Communion Liturgy for Lent

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*Invitation

Dear friends, we are going to Jerusalem with Jesus.

He is our pardon, our healing, and our peace!

We will suffer the trial with him, resisting evil.

With him, we will walk the path to life.

But come first to the table where there is food for the journey.

With hearts full of joy we come,

giving thanks to God, our maker,

and offering our praise!

*Praise

We are right to praise you, faithful God!

You answer sin with grace;

you guide our wayward steps toward home.

You are mending for the broken,

safety for the poor, belonging for the outcast,

strength for the weak, and pardon for the sinner.

You reveal your kindness in every sorrow,

your mercy even in death.

All your creatures see your works;

they sing your steadfast love.

We too declare your wonder and grace

as with angels and saints we sing:

*Holy, holy, holy…

Remembering and Giving Thanks

Now, O God, we remember Jesus.

Silence…

He fasted and prayed; he was tempted and tried.

He relied on you for everything.

He was obedient to you and scorned by the powers of this world.

He confounded the haughty and gave hope to the humble.

He was betrayed and deserted. He died between thieves and was buried in a borrowed grave.

You gave him new life. He lives even now, our healer and friend.

He loved us well, loved us to the end, and loves us still.

Even on the night of betrayal, he ate supper with his friends.

Words of Institution…

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit, come! Make all things new.

Bless this bread which you have given

and human hands have made.

Let it become for us the bread of life.

Bless also this cup, fruit of the vine

and work of human hands.

Let it become for us the cup of salvation.

Bless us also who eat and drink,

that in this sharing we may know the living Christ

who is with us now, and to the end of the age.

Nourish us by these gifts to be willing servants of your world

until the new age [or, kingdom] comes, and every creature beholds it.

We pray in the name of Jesus, who taught us to say:

Our Father….

Breaking Bread

Sharing Bread and Cup…

*Thanksgiving

Let us give thanks!

Thank you, merciful God,

for gladness in this bread and cup,

for love that cannot die,

for peace the world cannot give,

for joy in the company of friends,

for the splendors of creation,

and for the mission of justice

you have made our own.

Give us the gifts of this holy communion —

oneness of heart, love for neighbors,

forgiveness of enemies,

the will to serve you every day,

and life that never ends.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Prayer of Praise Lent I

The Third Temptation by William Blake

–The Third Temptation of Christ, William Blake

You call us to the desert to sojourn for a while

with wild creatures, to leave the land of markers;

but your eye does not close, you know where we are.

In restive night, you are near.

In dreams disturbed by demons, you are near.

In the heart’s decisive turning, through testing, you abide.

And when it is over (until another time), the angels come from you,

oil in their flasks, food in their baskets, bandages in hand.

Then let the fast begin, this journey alone and never alone.

Let it begin, this time of refusal, this time of embrace;

this winnowing of wheat, this clearing of the eye.

And all the while, let grateful praise arise

from breadstone and pinnacle, city and treasure,

companion beasts and ministering angels—

even from tempters who play their part.

Throughout these forty days, your praise be sung,

and in the endless age to come. Amen.

A Communion Service for Christmas Day

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Prelude

Greeting

*Carol On This Day Earth Shall Ring         

*Lighting the Christmas Candle

Lift up your heads; the day of peace is here!

God has visited us with healing!

All the ends of the earth can see it,

And the distant coastlands rejoice!     

The Christmas candle is lit.

The light of Christ!

Thanks be to God!

*Praise

[A traditional Gloria may also be sung, chanted, recited here.]

Come, let us praise our God!

Glory to God in the highest,

and peace to God’s people on earth!

We worship you, we give you thanks,

we praise you for your glory! 

Lord Jesus Christ, only-begotten Child,

you take away the world’s sin!

Have mercy on us! 

Lamb of God, you sit at God’s right hand!

Receive our prayer!

For you are the Healer and the Holy One,

the world’s hope and the heart’s desire.

You preside in love forever, with the Holy Spirit,

in the glory of God, the Sovereign. Amen.

 

Reading      Isaiah 52:7-10

*Carol   Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light          

Reading     Luke 2:1-20

*Carol   O Come, All Ye Faithful

Shared Reflection [or Homily]

Response

[Short sung refrain, carol, or a recited statement of faith.]

Silence

[A few moments of reflection, could be undergirded by instrumental music.]

Prayers for the Church and World

[Congregational response:  Lord, hear our prayer!]

In peace, let us pray to the Lord for the church and the world:

That the heart of the world might rejoice today

at the birth of a merciful savior, let us pray to the Lord…

That the works of justice may capture every human heart

and lead to peace, let us pray to the Lord…

For an end to war and all violence,

that all people may live in hope and safety,

so that free of fear we may build a new tomorrow, let us pray to the Lord…

For the health of the earth, and the integrity of all creation, let us pray to the Lord…

For the sick, the troubled, the sorrowing and the dying,

that they may know the comfort of God’s mercy, let us pray to the Lord…

For our enemies and for all who have done us harm,

and for all whom we have harmed, let us pray to the Lord…

For the church throughout the world, that we may love God,

God’s world, and one another; welcome and serve all people,

and show forth the mercy of our Savior, let us pray to the Lord…

And now, in the words our Savior gave us, we are bold to say:

Our Father…

*Carol Angels We Have Heard On High 

Holy Communion

*All who are able may rise.

The newborn Child be with you!

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts!

We lift them joyfully to God.

Let us give thanks to God, our God!

It is right to give God thanks and praise.

We are right to praise you, Maker of heaven and earth,

for you have always loved us.

Even when we strayed like sheep, you loved us.

You planted hope within us and sent messengers

to keep that hope alive,even in the worst of times.

At last, in the fullness of time,

in the stillest night, you sent us our healer.

Born on life’s margin, he was one of us,

full of our joy and subject to our frailty,

our brother and your delight.

He welcomed everyone who was unwelcome elsewhere.

He kept faith with you, even when it cost him his life.

You vindicated him, and he lives, our healer still.

From his fullness we all receive mercy after mercy, grace after grace.

Therefore, most wonderful God, with the Christmas angels

and the faithful of every time and place, we praise you, saying [singing]:

*Sanctus

[A traditional Sanctus may be sung, or a Gloria in excelsis Deo refrain from a popular carol may substitute.]

Holy, Holy, Holy God, Lord of heaven and earth!

The cosmos shows us your glory!

Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the Child who comes in your name.

Hosanna in the highest!

Remembering

You may be seated.

[These remembrances may be interspersed with an alleluia refrain or the refrain of a familiar carol.]

Now we remember the Garden, Adam and Eve and God’s footsteps.

We remember that long ago we sinned and were left without a home.

We remember Abraham, and Sarah, Moses, the sea, the desert.

We remember the manna, and water from the rock.

We remember the prophets, the longing, the promise.

[Refrain]

We remember an angel interrupting a young woman’s day.

And we remember Joseph’s dream.

We remember a hard journey, inns with no room.

We remember poor things –a manger, a child, some straw. 

We remember the cold, the shepherds, the night.

[Refrain]

We remember midnight glory, God in human face outshining.

We remember Jesus.

He came to us then.

He is with us still – we are not alone.

[Refrain]

And when he was all grown up,

in the middle of another night when the end was near

and betrayal was in the air, he shone all the brighter with love for his friends.

He ate with them, taking bread, the staff of life.

He gave thanks to God for it, called it his body, and shared it all around.

He drank with them, too, taking a cup and blessing it,

pouring it out like life-blood for the forgiveness of sins.

He said to them: Whenever you do this, remember me.

Calling on the Holy Spirit

Send your Spirit upon these gifts, O God –

fruit of the earth and work of human hands!

May they be for us life-giving food and drink.

As we share in their goodness, give us love for each other

and make us willing servants of your justice in the world.

Sharing Bread and Cup

Meditation in Music

[During or after communion. Could be choir, piano, organ, or whatever you have!]     

*Thanksgiving

All may rise.

Let us give thanks for all we have received.

We thank you, O God,

for making yourself known to us in the human life of Jesus.

Keep us always in the joy of this Christmas Day,

like Mary and Joseph, like angels and shepherds –

servants of your love and bearers of your grace.

Glory be to you in the church and in all creation,

now and forever. Amen.

*Carol                                              Joy to the World!

*Benediction

Beloved, do not be afraid! Today a Child is born to us.

God is alive among us, closer to us than our own hearts.

God will never leave us or lose us.

Unfailing love will always save us,

and the blessing of God is forever upon us,

Creator, Redeemer, and Giver of Life.

Thanks be to God! Amen.

*A Sign of Christmas Joy, and Sending

Now offer each other a sign of Christmas joy, and go in peace!

Odds and Ends of Advent/Christmas Liturgy

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I. Words to Introduce A Carol

Leader: Advent is waiting and preparing.

It is desire and hope.

It is also a question.

A question Mary asks.

A question you have asked.

A question everyone asks, sooner or later.

How can this be? What does it mean?

Scripture tells us that for Mary,

Advent was a long pondering.

She spent the time

between angel and manger

turning things over in her heart.

Advent is a wondering,

perhaps a contradiction,

certainly a mystery.

How can this be? What does it mean?

Advent is also a morning.

It begins to dawn on us,

which is why we light candles.

In Advent there is light, increasing light,

such beautiful light;

but that doesn’t mean anything is clear.

Carol [solo or choir] I Wonder As I Wander

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4320471_f248–Tricia Mason

II. Words to Introduce A Carol

Leader: Some babies are born into bleak midwinters

when water is stone.

Others are born in spring

with soft blankets under their chins.

Some children are born to own their lives.

They are never dressed in hand-me-downs.

Others draw their first breath in a borrowed crib

and their last in a borrowed tomb.

This is way things are. What can you do?

What can you do?

Carol  In The Bleak Midwinter

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–Candles in the Grotto of the Nativity, Bethlehem, photo Christopher Chen

III. A Candle-Lighting Liturgy for Advent 3 Gaudete

Reading  Isaiah 35:1-10

Reader 1: A reading from the prophet Isaiah.

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus 2it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.

Reader 2: Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. 4Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God.” 5Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.

Reader 1: For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; 7the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

Reader 2: A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God’s people; no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray. 9No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.

Reader 1: And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Candle Lighting

Leader:  In silence and shadow, we wait.

In mystery, we live.

In unknowing, we look for wisdom,

for a ray of darkness.

At night, our hearts are awake:

Love is not far away.

And in the fullness of time,

when everything is still,

the One we wait for comes.

[Light Candle(s) here]

Leader:  Let us pray.

All:  Joy of every longing heart,

you draw the sound of singing

from speechless fear and unrelenting pain;

from the gulf of estrangement

come laughter and song.

By the light of this candle, show us again

the glory of your mercy full and free—

death routed and in flight,

a cradle rocking newborn Life,

all creation dancing home,

ringed  ‘round by herald angels

playing music in the air.

Hymn  My Soul Sings Out with Joyful Praise

[or another setting of the Magnificat]

Advent Prayer

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You give us Advent, Lord,

and we are grateful and glad

to abide in your time,

unhurried and urgent,

full life in due season.

You give us Advent, Lord,

and we are grateful and glad

to watch by your light—

revealing and veiling,

old promise in new flesh.

You give us Advent, Lord,

and we are grateful and glad

to ponder your love—

sweet cure and affliction,

hard labor for earth’s joy.

You give us Advent, Lord,

and we are grateful and glad

to receive your hope—

familiar and foreign,

and child-shaped on straw.

Advent Confessions [Cf. Isaiah 11; Luke 3:1-6; Luke 1:26-38]

God of the root and the trunk,

Lord of the seed, the shoot, the flowering branch,

we cannot break these hard shells.

We are buried too deep to be softened by rain.

We do not imagine the light above ground.

We do not dream of fresh things; we sigh and fret about the old.

You say, I am coming.

Change your hearts. Turn around.

We say, Help us, O God,

to bear the fruits of repentance.

Give us what we need to hope.

God of the holy mountain,

Lord of the house where righteousness dwells,

Judge of living and dead,

we are not like you who knows the heart;

we judge by what our eyes see.

We do not consider the poor,

nor decide for the meek.

We do not inquire after you. We have forgotten your name.

You say, I am coming.

Change your hearts. Turn around.

We say, Help us, O God,

to bear fruits of repentance.

Give us what we need to be wise.

God of the lion, the wolf and the lamb,

Lord of the leopard, the kid, the child,

we do not lie down together.

We step warily near the serpent’s hole.

We are afraid of everyone;

we make them afraid of us.

We watch for each other with swords in our hands.

You say, I am coming.

Change your hearts. Turn around.

We say, Help us, O God,

to bear the fruits of repentance.

Give us what we need to make peace.

God of the threshing floor, the fork and the fire,

Lord of wild honey, of locusts and wild places,

God of the axe and the crowd,

we do not line up at the river.

We do not go in.

We do not bend our knee; we tie no one’s sandal.

We level no mountains, raise no valleys.

We are a crooked road, a stony path, a haughty crowd.

You say, I am coming.

Change your hearts. Turn around.

We say, Help us, O God,

to bear the fruits of repentance.

Give us what we need to decrease.

 God of Mary, whom you disturbed,

God of her life upturned,

God of the fruit of her womb, Jesus,

who mothered our lives with his mercy,

we are not startled by angels;

we guard against interruptions.

We do not turn the prism of our hearts,

pondering the whys.

We do not open our hands: we expect so little.

You say, I am coming.

Change your hearts. Turn around.

We say, Help us, O God,

to bear the fruits of repentance.

Give us what we need to desire.

Give us what we need to dare.