Prayers for the 3rd Sunday of Advent (December 16-22, 2018)

The Watchword for the week:
Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Luke 3:8

Stir up our hearts, O Lord,
to prepare the paths for your Only-begotten Son:
that we may worthily serve you
with hearts purified by His coming.

Isaiah 12:2-6
Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid,
for the Lord God is my strength and my might;
he has become my salvation.
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
And you will say on that day:
Give thanks to the Lord,
call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations;

proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;  let this be known in all the earth.
Shout aloud and sing for joy O royal Zion,
For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

A Confession of Sin

Preparing for the coming Savior means that we need to acknowledge our need for one. Let us prepare the way for the arrival of Jesus Christ by confessing our sins:
Forgive us, loving God, for the winding path upon which you have to travel to find us. As we bend to the selfish influences of our culture we lose sight of your intended will for us. Too often we live by fear rather than by faith because we underestimate your power to heal the parts of us that are broken, and to correct the parts of us that have drifted from your influence. We confess that we have separated ourselves from you and our spirit, soul, and body have been used to meet our own needs rather than seeking the purity of your will. Bring us back to you so that we might respond to your grace by sharing it with others. Give us the courage to give you unhindered access to all of who we are and in so doing find ourselves blameless at your coming. 

Comfort, comfort my people says your God. Speak tenderly to them and proclaim that they have suffered long enough, that their penalty is paid, and their sins are forgiven.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. AMEN. 

Now is a time for the reading of a scripture passage.  If you have a copy of the Moravian Daily Texts take time to read them now, but don’t rush over them as a task to be completed. These are the words that God would have you to cherish for this day. These are words that could transform your life if you allow them to.  So read slowly and deliberately.  Pause at words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit, for these are places where God might be speaking to you. When you have finished with your reading of scriptures, take time to pray for the needs that you present today, for the needs of those you love, and for the needs of a hurting world.  May your time of prayer help you to clarify where God would want you to focus your energy. When you are ready continue with this prayer as follows:

Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, hear us. 

Giver of life and grace who dwells in heavens, we lift our praise to you. We pray that the ways of heaven might be made real in our earthly lives as we, your children, seek to do your will. Give us today the food that we need. Forgive us as we seek to forgive those around us, and as we fix our eyes on you, keep us from temptation and deliver us from evil influences. For this is your world, and to you is due all honor, and glory, and praise forever and ever. Amen. 

Christ, the Light of the world, empower us to shine as lights in this dark world of sin.
As we continue in this Advent season enable us to more faithfully seek your presence in our daily lives.
Come Lord Jesus, come.
Come and mold us, change us, use us.
We praise you, for you are good,
And your mercy endures forever. Amen.

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Prayers for the Second Sunday of Advent (December 9-15, 2018)

The Watchword for the Week:
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. Luke 1:68

Come, all who labor and are heavy laden.
Come, all who are lost and in need of a home.
Come, all who have faced their weakness and sins.
Rejoice greatly, shout for joy! See, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and brings salvation. 

Luke 1:68-79

[Zechariah said:]
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has looked favorably on
his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a mighty savior for us
in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke through the mouth
of his holy prophets from of old,
  that we would be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us.
Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
and has remembered his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham,
to grant us that we, being rescued
from the hands of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
    in holiness and righteousness
before him all our days.

Hear the voice of John the Baptist calling to us from the wilderness, challenging us to prepare the way for the coming Messiah; to repent and to make the pathway to our heart a straight one.

Holy God, we know that you want to come and walk with us through the journey of our lives. You send to us a Savior, Jesus, the Christ who seeks to offer us a pattern for the living of our daily lives. Forgive us for the times when we have turned our back on your invitation and have chosen to walk our own way. Forgive us for the times when we make the path into our hearts a steep one, making it hard for you to enter. Forgive us when treat even our loved ones with an unforgiving spirit. Forgive us when we busy our lives with diversions that deflect our attention from you. We invite your Holy Spirit to dwell within us and to bring us close to you this day. 

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to them and proclaim that they have suffered long enough, that their penalty is paid, and their sins are forgiven.

We give thanks to the one who creates us, we give thanks to the one who redeems us, we give thanks to the one who brings the spirit of holiness to us today. Amen. 

Take time now to read a passage of scripture.  If you have a copy of the “Moravian Daily Texts” read them now, but don’t rush over them as a task to be completed. These are the words that God would have you to cherish for this day. These are words that could transform your life if you allow them to.  So read slowly and deliberately.  Pause at words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit, for these are places where God might be speaking to you. When you have finished with your reading of scriptures, take time to pray for the needs that you present today, for the needs of those you love, and for the needs of a hurting world.  May your time of prayer help you to clarify where God would want you to focus your energy. When you are ready continue with this prayer as follows:

O Lord, Hear our Prayer:

Giver of life and grace who dwells in heavens, we lift our praise to you. We pray that the ways of heaven might be made real in our earthly lives as we, your children, seek to do your will. Give us today the food that we need. Forgive us our sins as we seek to forgive those around us in like manner. As we fix our eyes on you, keep us from temptation, and deliver us from evil influences. This is your world, and to you is due all honor, and glory, and praise forever and ever. Amen. 

O Emmanuel, God with us, Jesus Christ, desire of every nation,
come to earth we pray.
Shepherd of all humanity, and Savior of our souls
give us rest in your arms today.
Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth.
You alone are the most high, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.
Come Lord Jesus,
Open our hearts to welcome you, let the Word become flesh in our hearts and in our lives. Amen.

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Prayers for the 1st Sunday in Advent (December 2-7, 2018)

Portions of this prayer are adapted from the Liturgy for Advent 2, Moravian Book of Worship pages 54-58, used by permission of the Interprovincial Board of Communication of the Moravian Church.

The Watchword for the Week – Jesus says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Luke 21:33

Sing to the Lord a new song, for God has done marvelous things.
Rejoice greatly, shout for joy! See, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and brings salvation. 

Psalm 25:1-10

1 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me.
3 Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame; let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
4 Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.
5 Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.
6 Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness’ sake, O Lord!
8 Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.
10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.

Hear the voice of John the Baptist calling to us from the wilderness, challenging us to prepare the way for the coming Messiah, to repent and to make our paths straight.

Gracious God, this Advent season stirs a longing to have Christ come alive within us, yet we allow ourselves to become enslaved to cynicism, selfishness, and greed. In a season for freely giving and receiving, we tend to live by debt and obligation. We rush from task to task, scarcely opening our eyes to the peace and beauty around us. We sing of one who was laid in a borrowed manger, but we ignore the poor and homeless around us. We decry the violence of a wicked king, yet we are too often silent in the face of abuse and injustice around us. For this and all our sins, forgive us. 

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to them and proclaim that they have suffered long enough, that their penalty is paid, and their sins are forgiven.
We are forgiven, may God lead us to live a new and nobler life today. Thanks be to God. 

This now is a time for the reading of a scripture passage.  If you have a copy of the Moravian Daily Texts take time to read them now, but don’t rush over them as a task to be completed. These are the words that God would have you to cherish for this day. These are words that could transform your life if you allow them to.  So read slowly and deliberately.  Pause at words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit, for these are places where God might be speaking to you. When you have finished with your reading of scriptures, take time to pray for the needs that you present today, for the needs of those you love, and for the needs of a hurting world.  May your time of prayer help you to clarify where God would want you to focus your energy. When you are ready continue with this prayer as follows:

O Lord, Hear our Prayer:

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,
for ever and ever. Amen.

Christ, the Light of the world, empower us to shine as lights in this dark world of sin.
Christ, lead us into good stewardship of creation that we and our children may preserve and enjoy the world entrusted to us.
O Emmanuel, God with Us, Jesus Christ, desire of every nation, Savior of all peoples,
come and dwell within our hearts and lives.
We praise you, for you are good,
And your mercy endures forever. Amen.

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Prayers for the Festival of the Reign of Christ (November 24-December 2, 2018)

The watchword for the week:
‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. Revelation 1:8

Christ invites us to come to worship
To rest from the things that are troubling us
To pray for the needs of those close us as well as for the needs of the world
To realize what we can offer to others
And so to return into the world to serve
Let us worship God who reigns over all the earth. 

Psalm 93- The Majesty of God’s Rule

1 The Lord is king, he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed, he is girded with strength.
He has established the world; it shall never be moved;
your throne is established from of old;
you are from everlasting. 

3 The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
the floods have lifted up their voice;
the floods lift up their roaring
.
4 More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters,
more majestic than the waves* of the sea,
majestic on high is the Lord! 

5 Your decrees are very sure;
holiness befits your house,
O Lord, for evermore. 

Confession of Sin

(from the Liturgy for Lent II, pages 78-79, Moravian Book of Worship used by permission of the Interprovincial Board of Communication)

Lord Jesus, we come before you in humble confession. Help us conform our lives to you as the model for holy and righteous living.

Forgive us for our desire for personal greatness, for our attempts to make gods of ourselves, for our willingness to exalt ourselves at the expense of others, and for our resistance to serving one another as you have served us. 

Forgive us for making light of your obedience and sacrifice on the cross by living an undisciplined and indifferent Christian witness; forgive us for yielding to fear rather than relying on your strength to take the risks of discipleship.

Forgive us, dear Jesus, for times we have not looked to you as our Lord, and for allowing the clamoring distractions of the world to become higher priorities than you. Forgive us for yielding more to the temptations of this world than being transformed by your lordship over our lives.

May the Holy Spirit empower us to accept the grace that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ offers to us today. Hear the words of our Lord, “Your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more.”

Let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, since as members of one body we were called to peace. And let us be thankful. 

This now is a time for the reading of a scripture passage.  If you have a copy of the Moravian Daily Texts take time to read them now, but don’t rush over them as a task to be completed. These are the words that God would have you to cherish for this day. These are words that could transform your life if you allow them to.  So read slowly and deliberately.  Pause at words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit, for these are places where God might be speaking to you. When you have finished with your reading of scriptures, take time to pray for the needs that you present today, for the needs of those you love, and for the needs of a hurting world.  May your time of prayer help you to clarify where God would want you to focus your energy. When you are ready continue with this prayer as follows:

As you taught your disciples to pray, so we pray together:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your Kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours.
Now and for ever. Amen

And now, most merciful God, we ask you to continue extending your grace and favor towards us;
Let the sun of your gospel never go down out of our hearts;
Let your truth abide and be established among us forever.
Help our unbelief, increase our faith, give us hearts to consider your many gifts to us.
In faith clothe us with Christ, that he may live in us,
And your name may be glorified in us, in the sight of all the world.
Christ, and him crucified,
Remain our confession of faith. Amen.

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Prayers for the 26th Week after Pentecost (November 18-24, 2018)

The Watchword for the week:
Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for God who has promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid;
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
Today may we perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name,
And now visit us with your Holy Spirit as we open our hearts to you. Amen.

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 16

1 Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”
3 As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble, in whom is all my delight.
4 Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names upon my lips.
5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage.
7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I keep the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure.
10 For you do not give me up to Sheol,or let your faithful one see the Pit.
11 You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

We come before the throne of grace to unburden our hearts and to receive forgiveness. Let us confess our sin.
Gracious God, we affirm you as our creator, our redeemer, and the sustainer of our lives. You love us so very much that you have reached into our lives to claim us as your own. We confess however that we take your love for granted, and your grace is often forgotten. We allow our lives to become so cluttered that we forget to stop and count the steps that we have taken on any given day and ponder whether those steps have moved us closer or farther away from you. In so doing we cease to be faithful to you even as you have been faithful to us. We humbly ask that you would hear our prayer, know our hearts, and forgive us our sin. 

The Lord says to each of us: “I will be merciful to your sins, and I will not remember them. Peace be unto you.” Let us give praise to the triune God:
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. 

This now is a time for the reading of a scripture passage.  If you have a copy of the Moravian Daily Texts take time to read them now, but don’t rush over them as a task to be completed. These are the words that God would have you to cherish for this day. These are words that could transform your life if you allow them to.  So read slowly and deliberately.  Pause at words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit, for these are places where God might be speaking to you. When you have finished with your reading of scriptures, take time to pray for the needs that you present today, for the needs of those you love, and for the needs of a hurting world.  May your time of prayer help you to clarify where God would want you to focus your energy. When you are ready continue with this prayer as follows:

Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, hear us. 

Creator of us all, we praise your name because you have lovingly made each one of us. May your intended purpose be made real here on earth, even as it is already done in heaven. Feed us today with those things that we truly need, and may we share our abundance with others. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who have done wrong to us. In times of temptation, may we know of your life-giving strength, and keep us from all evil. Gracious God, this is your kingdom, and we acknowledge your power and glory, both now and forever more. AMEN. 

Empowering God, just as you created the heavens and the earth,
May you create within us a new life.
Open the eyes of our hearts
To see the impact that our every word and action can have on the lives around us.
You give us each day as a blessed gift.
Guide us and lead us to be faithful to you, faithful to our calling, and faithful in all that we do and say.
May the love of God, the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
Be and abide with us now and forever. AMEN.

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Prayers for the 25th Week after Pentecost (November 11-17,2018)

Watchword for the week:The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. Psalm 146:8

The Lord is in the holy temple; let all the earth keep silence.
Gracious Lord, we are your holy temples when we acknowledge your presence within us.
As we marvel at the beauty of the changing seasons, we give praise to your creative power.
May we open our hearts to that same creative and transformative power within us. 

Psalm 146
Praise be to God! Praise God, O my soul!
I will praise God as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God all my life long.
Do not put your trust in nobles,
in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
on that very day their plans shall perish.
Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Sovereign their God,
who made heaven and earth, the sea,
and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.
God sets the prisoners free; God opens the eyes of those who cannot see.
God lifts up those who are bowed down; God loves the righteous.
God watches over the strangers and  upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked God brings to ruin.
The Sovereign will reign forever,
   your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise be to God!

If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just, and will forgive us. Indeed we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous one, and He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Loving God, we thankfully acknowledge that you have stamped your very image within each of us and therefore we are holy, just as you are holy. We confess, however, there are times when we forget who you are, and therefore we lose sight of who we are both as individuals and as communities of faith. We ask that you forgive us for the times when we think of ourselves more highly that we ought and we refuse to acknowledge your holy image pressed within the essence of those who are around us, both near and far. Grant us today a humble spirit that seeks to honor you in the ways that we treat others. 

The Lord says to each of us: “I will be merciful to your sins, and I will not remember them. Peace be unto you.” Let us therefore give praise to the triune God:

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. 

This now is a time for the reading of a scripture passage.  If you have a copy of the Moravian Daily Texts take time to read them now, but don’t rush over them as a task to be completed. These are the words that God would have you to cherish for this day. These are words that could transform your life if you allow them to.  So read slowly and deliberately.  Pause at words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit, for these are places where God might be speaking to you. When you have finished with your reading of scriptures, take time to pray for the needs that you present today, for the needs of those you love, and for the needs of a hurting world.  May your time of prayer help you to clarify where God would want you to focus your energy. When you are ready continue with this prayer as follows:

Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, hear us.
Creator of the heavens and earth, praise be to your holy name. We pray that the gracious ways of heaven may be made real in the world that we inhabit. We hunger for much more than food today, and we pray that you will satisfy us, and all who have need. We are awed by your forgiving nature, and pray that you would grant us a humble spirit with which to forgive each other. While we know that you have created us to be holy, we ask that you keep us from the temptation of living a life which would tarnish your image within us. You have created a world that is holy, and your glory and power are displayed in many wonderful ways; may we give thanks for your blessings all the days our lives, even as we live into eternity. Amen. 

And so my brothers and sisters build yourselves up on your most holy faith.
May we be strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit to pray every day and so be drawn closer to living a righteous life.
May we live a life that gives space for silence to ponder the mercy of our Lord, Jesus Christ,
and give praise for God’s miracle of the sacred within us and others.
And now unto the God who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you as holy before the throne of grace with exceeding joy,
To the only wise God, our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

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Prayers for the 24th Week after Pentecost (November 4-10, 2018)

The Watchword for the week:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:4-5

Praise be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
Praise be to the One who does wonderful things.
Open our eyes, Lord, that we may see the many ways that you have blessed us.
Open our ears, Lord, that we may hear the cries of need in the world and respond as you lead us.
Open our hearts, Lord, that we might feel your presence with us this day.
With all of our heart, and soul, and might, we give you honor and praise.

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 119:1-8
Happy are those whose way is blameless,
   who walk in the law of God.
Happy are those who keep God’s  decrees,
  who seek God with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in God’s ways.
You have commanded that all your precepts
shall be kept with diligence.
O that my ways may be steadfast 
in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your
commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart, 
when I learn your righteous ordinances.
I will observe your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me. 

Let us confess our sins to our loving God:
Gracious God your way is perfect and your will for our lives can bring us meaning. But we confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart. We have at times disregarded your will for us by looking at the world through selfish eyes. We have acted in ways that has brought pain to us and others, and has separated us from your love. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. Hear now our desire to love you with all of our heart, soul, and might, and to love others as you love us. Give us the wisdom to see the world through your compassionate eyes and share your loving presence with those in need. 

Hear the comforting words of our Lord: Your sins are forgiven. Go and sin no more.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. 

This now is a time for the reading of a scripture passage.  If you have a copy of the Moravian Daily Texts take time to read them now, but don’t rush over them as a task to be completed. These are the words that God would have you to cherish for this day. These are words that could transform your life if you allow them to.  So read slowly and deliberately.  Pause at words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit, for these are places where God might be speaking to you. When you have finished with your reading of scriptures, take time to pray for the needs that you present today, for the needs of those you love, and for the needs of a hurting world.  May your time of prayer help you to clarify where God would want you to focus your energy. When you are ready continue with this prayer as follows:

Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, hear us.
Creator of all humanity, we call you Holy, and seek to worship you all the days of our lives. We pray that the ways of your heavenly kingdom may be made real in the world that surrounds us. May the bread that we need for today be made available for us and all who are hungry; and may you forgive us, just as we are able to forgive those who have sinned against us. In the time of moral testing, may we listen first for your voice calling to us. This world, and all that is in it, always has been and always will be yours, help us to lose ourselves to you and your kingdom. Help us to find who we truly are as we walk in your light. Amen. 

God of the past, present, and eternity,
Fill us with your grace.
For the living of this day,
Give us wisdom and direction.
For the desire to share your grace in tangible ways,
Give us passion and purpose.
Lord of life in whom we live, and move, and have our being,
May we follow you all the days of our lives.
We exalt you and praise your name,
For you have done wonderful things and we are thankful.
May the love God, the grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
Be and abide with us now and forever, Amen.

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