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A Prayer for the Second Sunday of Advent:

God of earth and sky and sea,
God of rich and poor and in-between,
God of lost and God of found,
God who is like a shepherd to us,
we walk the path of Advent awakenings,
mindful of your call to repentance and change,
thankful for your offer of mercy and grace.
You are ever before and behind us.
You are the one constant amid a sea of change.
You are the shepherd who feeds his flock,
the one who gathers the lambs in his arms (Isa 40:11).
You long for us to receive your word of comfort.
You announce that our penalty is paid,
that we are free to live with godlike compassion,
that we are empowered to bring comfort to the world.
Still we turn away,
and walk in paths that suit our own interests,
and fail to welcome the one who is different,
and justify our prejudices with Scripture verses.
Forgive us our sins, and change our hearts, O God.
In this time of waiting and watching,
we pray for all who need the comfort of your presence,
for all who need the comfort of your Church.
To those who are sick or in pain, bring wholeness.
To the lonely and discouraged, renew hope.
To the grieving and troubled, speak comfort.
To any who struggle with self-judgment, extend your grace.
To any who are exiled from your Church, awaken their faith.
(We silently bring our prayers for particular persons now.)
Make of us your forgiven and reconciling people.
Use us to welcome others into your kin-dom.
Stir up within us the faith to trust you with our blind spots,
our shortcomings, our very lives.
And even though our lives are transient like the flowers of the field,
feed us with your word that stands forever (Isa. 40:8).
In the name of the Christ who comes among us to heal and to save. Amen.

Words (c) 2014 Mark Lloyd Richardson