Saturday, December 21, 2013

Advent 4 ~ Signs A-Wastin'

 For the last three weeks I have posted the Prayers of the People  (PoTP) for the Season of Advent along with brief commentaries about the message of this Season and each week.  These Intercessory Prayers are being used in several Churches as part of the Sunday Service and are posted on several Facebook pages.  I hope that you will find them useful for personal prayer or small group meditation or in your congregation.  See more information at the end of this post.


         We're STILL Waiting?  YES!  But, are we looking?  Do we know what to look for? A momentous occasion feels imminent but how will we know?  We are told the signs are all there, all we have to do is ask God for them.  But the ever-Kingly Ahaz says "Oh-No-I-don't-want-to-test-God" with the false humility of a leader who is really saying, "I can't be bothered."  Isaiah's frustration is palpable when he says, in effect, "OH PLEASE!  The Lord Himself is telling you that there's a young woman with child from the House of David, and you'll be out of here before he's old enough to know good from evil."  And Joseph has a lot of strange dreams but he believes in signs and so acts upon what he's told.  Our Messiah is coming, soon, to a stable near you! Are you ready? PAY ATTENTION to the signs.   There's an old bumper sticker that says, "Jesus is Coming, Look Busy." I think it should say, "Jesus IS Coming, LOOK!"

Readings:  Isaiah 7:10-16; Ps 80:1-7, 17-19; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25
Leader: ~ Emmanuel, Emmanuel, Your Holy Name means “God is with us.” Your Holy Birth is only hours away.  Let us breathe into the present moment, savor the anticipation, and look for the embrace of the only true GIFT of the season, YOU. 
Response: DEAR GOD of NOW, let us find a stillpoint to wait in and let go of the frantic activity that distracts us from You.
~ Emmanuel, Emmanuel, we are called, as Mary, to be a vessel that carries You into the world and yet we resist the changes we need to make in our lives.  Give us the courage to open ourselves to Your Glory and allow You to shine through us for all to see and understand.
DEAR GOD of NOW, in these remaining moments before we celebrate Your birth, let us feel the fullness of Your Presence in our bodies, minds, and souls.
~ Emmanuel, Emmanuel, we beg for Your Grace and Peace to infuse the sensibilities of those who govern in this world.  The homeless, hungry, frightened, lonely, and brutalized need the Compassion, Empathy, and Mercy that are the hallmarks of this season of Your birth.  Push the rest of us to be determined, intentional, and proactive in our pursuit of Justice, Tolerance, and Humanity for every person on this Earth.  Help us to be the Reflection of Your Love in every thought and action of our lives.
Dear GOD of NOW, help us to remember that we are as responsible for the well-being of Your people as every individual in every government position.  Keep us aware and involved.
~ Emmanuel, Emmanuel, may the impending joy of Your birth bring healing mercies to those who are ill and for those who give them care.  Free all who suffer from pain, sadness, loneliness, and fear and release us all from single-mindedness and self-pity.  Restore and renew our faith and hope in You.     (add your own specific petitions)
Dear GOD of NOW, it is said that if You are with us, who can be against us? Help us remember You walking with us through all sorts and conditions of woman and man.
~ Emmanuel, Emmanuel, please dry our tears as we mourn our loss of those whose souls now live in Your eternity.  Help us feel the warmth of Your tender care in our grief and the promise of our own new birth in You. (add your own specific petitions)
GOD of us all, we wait in prayerful patience as You walk with us in our sorrow toward the time when suffering and grief are no more.
~ Emmanuel, Emmanuel, we rely on those who lead us in Your Church to show us the pathway to You.  Endow and imbue them with Your Spirit that they may feel the depth of You in themselves and impart the mystery of Your breadth to us.  (add your parish/congregation/Diocese, Province, etc. name here) 
Prepare us, Dear GOD of NOW, to revel and live into the Joy of the Birth so close at hand.
~ Emmanuel, Emmanuel, our souls deeply know the astonishing You. Please help us connect our hearts and minds with our soul knowledge and live each day as a new creation in Christ.
Prepare us, Dear GOD of NOW, to revel and live into the Joy of the Birth so close at hand.
The Celebrant adds:  Dear God of Now, in these hours before our Holy Child is born, we are called again by You to willingly and knowingly belong to Christ Jesus our Lord. Give us the fortitude to hear the call, to follow Him, and share the Good News as easily as we breathe.  Amen.
These Prayers and those for the four weeks of Advent are available for personal or congregational use as long as they are not sold or charged for in anyway. I ask only for attribution and a copy of how they are used. All other content and photos on this blog are proprietaryPlease contact me at for further information.
Beginning with Christmas Eve, 2013, Prayers of the People and other prayers will be posted on
"People's Prayers" at  Please visit often!


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