Monday, December 24, 2012
Christmas Eve Prayer -- 2012
LORD GOD, the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth, who has broken into the darkness of our lives, coming to our rescue in person; in person as a child born for us, as a son given to us: and in coming to our rescue now the people who once walked in darkness have seen a great light, and those who once dwelt in the land of the shadow of deep darkness, upon them a light has shown!
We confess our obstinacy and sheer knuckleheaded impiousness. We have followed too much the ruses and innovations of our own hearts, by doing those things we knew we shouldn’t, and not doing the good things we knew we were supposed to. In truth, in more incidents than we can count, we allowed our pride and pleasure to twist our relationships and warp our actions. O God, what a mess we are! … [silence for personal confession]... In spite of what we are, you have promised that if we confess our sins, that you –faithful and just – will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and that the blood of Jesus Christ your Son washes us clean! For your lavish mercies and promises we give you our whole-hearted thanks.
And we give you our thanks for your goodness to us through this past year. Even in the face of death, drought, dearth and dread, you have sustained us, fed, clothed, and walked with us. You have heard our prayers, and even provided what we didn't ask for. And we are grateful, as well, for this season; the gathering of our families, the joy and festivities, the moments of renewed hope and reconciliation with those with whom we were estranged. And most of all, we are thankful that you didn't leave us or forsake us, but when we were dead in our trespasses and sins, walking according to the course of this world, conducting ourselves in the lusts of the flesh, and were by nature children of wrath, that you – rich in mercy, because of your great love with which you loved us – sent your unique, one-of-a-kind, son Jesus Christ, and made us alive together with him! And now you call us your very own children, and we can call you Abba, Father! Thank you!
And so, our Father, we implore you to hear us as we pray. Help us to be rich with forgiveness for others, just as you have been rich toward us. Brighten the lives of those who still stumble along in gloom, because of sickness or grief. Bring to this Midwestern region of the USA the necessary rains and snows we desperately need, but also preserve and protect those who must travel in it. For our own country, we entreat you,that justice would run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream! Stir the hearts of the tribes, peoples and leaders of the world-nations to work for peace, instead of blood-spattered dominance! And, O Father, now that the Prince of peace has come hasten the day when the warring factions of this earth shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor learn war anymore.
And now, in solidarity with your people throughout the ages, and in all places, we pray as Jesus taught us, saying:
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 debts as we forgive our debtors;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory,
Merry Christmas all,