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1426748221
ISBN-13:
9781426748226
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Just in Time! Prayers for Advent and Christmas

Just in Time! Prayers for Advent and Christmas

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Overview

Brief, affordable, practical resources to help all who plan and lead in worship.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781426748226
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication date: 04/05/2012
Series: Just in Time! Series
Pages: 102
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

David N. Mosser, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Arlington Texas, is an adjunct homiletics professor at Perkins School of Theology (SMU) in Dallas. He frequently teaches and preaches in numerous United Methodist churches.

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Just in Time!

Prayers for Advent and Christmas


By David N. Mosser, Estee Carel Valendy

Abingdon Press

Copyright © 2012 Abingdon Press
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4267-4840-0



CHAPTER 1

First Sunday of Advent


Invocation

Let us rise and meet our Creator. Let us raise our hands and voices in acknowledgment that God's Holy Spirit moves among us, calling us to new life in Christ. Let us raise our eyes, knowing that this new life of stewardship for all God's creation is seen in the life of Jesus the Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.


Invocation

Eternal God, we are seeking signs of your presence in our lives. Open our eyes, open our ears, open our hearts to receive some word of hope as we anticipate the coming of the One whom you are sending.


Invocation (Romans 13, Matthew 24)

Holy One, we wait and hope for your peace. We live in the promise of your love. As the days darken and the nights lengthen, light our way with your promised presence. Prepare us to celebrate your birth, and guide us to create your kingdom on earth. In hopeful expectation we pray. Amen.


Invocation (Psalm 25, Luke 21)

Righteous One, to you alone we lift our souls; in you alone we place our trust; for you alone we wait all day long. For you are the God of our salvation, abounding in mercy and steadfast love. Help us remain alert and watchful for the coming of your promised One—the One who comes with power and glory, the One drawing near to bring our salvation. Amen.


Call to Worship

Leader: Christ draws near.

People: A new day is dawning.

Leader: God's kingdom is here.

People: A new day is dawning.

Leader: It's time to wake up.

People: A new day is dawning.

Leader: Christ draws near.

People: A new day is dawning.

Call to Worship (Isaiah 2, Romans 13)

Leader: We know what time it is—the moment to wake from sleep.

People: We awaken to greet the day, yearning for God's peace on this earth.

Leader: Let us lay down our swords and put aside all works of darkness.

People: Let us walk in the light and live as peacekeepers.

Leader: Let us worship our God as expectant believers.

People: We worship with joy, knowing Christ will come!


Call to Worship

Leader: Now is the time of watching and waiting.

People: Now is the time of pregnant expectation of new life.

Leader: The candle of hope has been lit.

People: Let us worship in the light of God's grace.

Call to Worship (Jeremiah 33, Psalm 25)

Leader: The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will cause a righteous Branch to spring forth and bring my promised salvation to Israel.

People: The Lord is our righteousness.

Leader: The days are surely coming, says our God, when justice and mercy will be executed throughout the land.

People: The Lord is our righteousness.

Leader: The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when my promised One will teach transgressors my ways, and heal the world with love and mercy.

People: The Lord is our righteousness.


Prayer of Confession

O Lord God, as we begin to prepare our hearts to receive the One whom you are sending, forgive us for all the times we have missed seeing you in our midst, for all the times we have doubted your presence, and for all the times we have failed to help others find their way. Forgive us, in the name of Jesus, the One who is coming. Amen.


Words of Assurance

O God, we thank you for the assurance of your grace and forgiveness, for hearing our prayers and challenging us to seek righteousness, and for your gift of love and acceptance. Amen.


Prayer of Confession

O God, we confess that our sense of expectation has been dulled. We have become reluctant to anticipate any wonders from your hand. We have become so content with the past that we make it the master of our lives. We have been lulled to sleep by our own limited view of your presence among us. O God, before sleep becomes our death, pardon and redeem us that we may avoid the judgment we are bringing on ourselves. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear you as we rise from our stupor; stretch our souls that we may worship you in spirit and in truth. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.


Words of Assurance

God's forgiveness is the light that is coming into the world in Jesus Christ. Because you have asked that this light free you from the darkness of sin, your sins are forgiven. Amen.


Prayer of Confession (Isaiah 2, Romans 13)

Christ Jesus, we pray for light and guidance in the darkness of our lives. When we seek darkness, bring us to the light. When we walk paths of war and injustice, guide us to your paths of love and mercy. When we sleep through life, awaken in us the desire to be your children. Forgive us for taking pleasure in destruction and for walking paths that distract others from your ways. Help us lay aside the works of darkness and put on the protection of your light and love. With hope, we pray for your gracious forgiveness and your wise counsel. Amen.


Words of Assurance (Romans 13)

Let us lay aside the works of darkness! Let us put on the armor of light! For in Christ Jesus, we are forgiven and made new. Salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. And now, Christ invites us to be clothed in righteousness, to walk in the light of God!


Prayer of Confession (Luke 21)

Almighty God, you warn us to read the signs for the coming of your glory—in the sun, the moon, the stars, the roaring of the seas and the waves, the distress among the nations. We have seen it all before. Nothing seems to change. Help us live with courage in this age of ambiguity where wars are fought for peace, and freedoms are stripped in the name of liberty. Forgive our lapse of focus, our sense that nothing ever really changes. Teach us to wait with patience, that we may be ready as our redeemer draws near. Amen.


Words of Assurance (Jeremiah 33, Psalm 25, Luke 21)

From of old, our God is a God of mercy, abounding in steadfast love. When we return to the Lord with our whole heart, God will remember our sins no more. In the name of God's righteous branch, the Son of Man, the One who draws near, we are forgiven.


Pastoral Prayer

God, it is not easy for us to wait. And yet, that is what this season calls us to do. Help us wait patiently for you. Be especially with those in need of your healing and your comfort. Let them feel that you are waiting with them, strengthening them. Come now, Lord. We wait for—and with—you.


Pastoral Prayer

God of light, come into our midst and comfort us, your people who live in darkness. For some of us, the darkness is bearable, but we should not have to endure it alone, O God. Help us know your loving presence, help us feel your gracious peace. For others here, the darkness is stifling and they cannot find their way through its chaos. Help those who wander in darkness to reach out; give them confidence to ask for help. God of hope, God of peace, God of joy—as Advent moves forward our minds are filled with thoughts of Christmas—thoughts of the story of light coming into our darkened world—thoughts of a little baby named Jesus. Open us now, Lord, to more than just thoughts—open up our hearts to the joy that awaits us this special season. Open our hearts to the real joy of Christmas—a joy that comes not in the presents we find under our tree, but in the presence of your light in our lives—the presence of your grace— the presence of your love. Amen.


Pastoral Prayer

Gracious God and author of all human epochs and beyond, we pray honor to your holy name. During this emotionally charged season of Advent we wait in anticipation for a baby born in a stable. As odd as this revelation may sound, we anticipate true living in a hope that only you can provide, O God of joy. We pray this Advent that as you created the world, you might yet again create the hope, peace, joy, and love that our hearts need so immediately. We want to live in love and charity with one another here on earth, but we have so little hope in one another. This season, offer us signs of hope in our earthly sisters and brothers. We pray in the name of the One who brings light to our world. Amen.


Offering Prayer (Romans 13, Matthew 24)

Although we do not know the day or time of your coming, dear God, we know that now is the time to be your children of light. Receive the gifts we bring. Transform them into light for the world, into signs of peace and hope for all to see. Amen.


Offering Prayer

O Gracious God, what can we return to you? You have provided abundance for us at every turn, and what we offer today seems so meager. Many of us are already caught in the web of gift-giving and gift-getting. Remind us that it is you alone who gives the true gifts as we begin a new year in Christ. Thank you for the privilege of giving to your kingdom. Amen.


Benediction

May all the gifts that come from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ be yours. As you look eagerly for Christ's coming, know that God is Emmanuel, strengthening you and waiting with you.


Benediction (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13)

May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as Christ abounds in love for you. And may the Lord strengthen your hearts in holiness, that you may be blameless before God at the coming of our Lord Jesus.


Benediction (Romans 13)

Put on the armor of Christ's light. Shine for all the world to see. Go forth in the love of God!


Benediction

As we go forth from this holy place, let us look for signs of your coming, and let us be messengers, preparing the way for the One whom you are sending. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

CHAPTER 2

Second Sunday of Advent


Invocation (Isaiah 11, Romans 15, Matthew 3)

God of hope and encouragement, we come in the midst of this season of busyness and preparation to find a time and space to slow down, to reflect on what our true preparation should be. We need to prepare our hearts to receive the gifts of love and hope. We need to prepare our minds to focus on your promise that a messiah will come and nothing will be the same. We need to prepare our spirits, to praise God for prophecy, promises, and preparation; to find hope and encouragement; to find peace and joy. May we do so now, in our time of worship. Amen.


Invocation

Lord, we come before your throne of grace not trusting in ourselves but in your marvelous and gracious love as it seeks expression among us. May we listen for your still, small voice as it speaks to us today and as it boldly proclaims the undeniable reality of your love that will not let us go. Stir our hearts and our imaginations that we may see beyond the appearances of what is to the bold reality of all that can possibly become. In the name and spirit of the holy child, Jesus our Lord, we pray. Amen.


Invocation

Eternal God, we come to you with great expectation. We gather this day to worship you, offering our blessing to you. Accept our offering of ourselves. Remind us of the great blessing you offer. Come into this place. Amen.


Invocation (Malachi 3)

Blessed is the Lord, and blessed are God's people to whom God sends a savior, the Messiah, who is Christ the Lord. Blessed is our God, and blessed are God's gifts, that grace us with forgiveness and every good gift. Lord, you have come to dwell within us. Build your temple within our hearts. Amen.


Call to Worship (Isaiah 11, Psalm 72, Matthew 3)

Leader: In this season of prophecy, promise, and preparation, we come to be renewed and refreshed.

People: We come to be inspired by stories of a messiah who will change the world—and change us.

Leader: We come to listen for words of hope and joy, promise and challenge.

People: We come with open ears, open minds, and open hearts. We come to receive the blessings God has in store for us in this season of waiting.

Leader: Come! Let us worship our God—the One who brings all things to fulfillment.


Call to Worship

Leader: We gather here today to listen to what God has to say.

People: Give us ears to hear your word, O God. Leader: We gather here today expecting God to move and work among us.

People: Give us expectant hearts that anticipate the movement of your spirit, O God.

Leader: We gather here today, seeking to see with the eyes of faith and hope for what your love has done, is doing, and will do in the world.

People: Give us ears to hear, hearts that sense, and eyes to see your glory as it is revealed to us this day and always. Amen.


Call to Worship (Luke 1, 3)

Leader: A voice cries out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord!"

People: Make God's paths straight.

Leader: Every valley will be filled, and every mountain will be leveled.

People: The crooked will be made straight.

Leader: The rough and rocky ways will be smoothed.

People: All will see the salvation of God.

Leader: See the light from on high. The dawn is breaking.

People: The Lord is coming! The Lord is coming!


Call to Worship

Leader: We come to prepare for the One who is to come.

People: Let us make straight the pathways of our lives.

Leader: Let us make smooth the roughest places in our lives.

People: Let us boldly speak words of comfort and peace and justice.


Prayer of Confession

God of peace who seeks the lost and heals the broken, we lose sight of those who are lost and broken. You have said that when we touch others' pain and help others through hardship, we do it unto you. Forgive our reluctance to show compassion. Settle our restless hearts that we will see and know the pain and suffering around us. Pardon our sin that we might know again your mercy and share it with all whose lives are burdened by sin. In the name of Christ, the Prince of Peace, we pray. Amen.


Words of Assurance

Leader: Be set free of all that burdens and weighs you down.

People: We take Christ's yoke upon us that we might be freed from sin. Amen.


Prayer of Confession (Isaiah 11, Psalm 72, Matthew 3)

O God, the stories of our faith have lost their power. We have heard the prophecies spoken so many times, the promises retold again and again, the call to prepare ourselves for your coming repeated so often, we don't really hear or heed them anymore. We have replaced these messages of life with guessing what presents we are getting, with preparing for parties and the social obligations of Christmas. Bring us back to a sense of mystery, a sense of awe, a sense of wonder, a sense of excitement, a sense of anticipation, a sense that something special is about to break into our everyday world. Help us prepare our hearts, souls, and minds for the coming of the Messiah. Amen.


Words of Assurance (Psalm 72)

God's promises are sure—promises of steadfast love and forgiveness. God deals with God's people with righteousness and justice. Rejoice and be glad!


Prayer of Confession (Malachi 3; Luke 1, 3)

O Lord, darkness surrounds us like a cold stone tomb, until your light bursts into our lives like a clear, bright dawn. We cover our eyes, we're so unprepared for your coming. Your light blazes forth like a white-hot fire, consuming all that it touches. How can we stand before you, Lord? The road that we thought was straight and wide is now exposed as a twisted, crooked path, blocked by a mountain of sin. Where can we turn? Who will guide us back to the way of peace—the way that leads to you?


Words of Assurance (Luke 1, Malachi 3, Philippians 1)

The Lord is merciful and forgiving, a great and compassionate savior. God rescues us from darkness and frees us from fear. Like a refiner's fire, the Lord makes us shine with the brilliance of the purest gold and silver. The One who began this work in us seeks to bring it to completion. May the day of Christ find us flawless and without blame.


Prayer of Confession

O Lord God, we confess that our lives are not as clean and pure as we would wish them to be. We are not the people you have called us to be. Give us the courage to clean up our act that we may be ready to greet the One whom you are sending. Forgive us for failing to speak out when we might have made a difference. Grant us your peace, in the name of Jesus your Son. Amen.


Pastoral Prayer

O God, we come into your holy presence today anticipating the power of your love as it seeks expression among us. Help us slow our lives down, pause in order to wonder, be reclaimed by a sense of awe at who you are and what you are seeking to do in our broken world. Stir our imagination with images of your grace and fill our hearts with the reality of your incarnation. May this incarnation explode on the scene of our predictable lives. Forgive us for insensitivity to who you are and how you are working in our lives and in our world. Pardon us for being so selfish that enough is never enough to quench our thirst and hunger for more. Direct our attention to the places that we are afraid to examine in our own lives and in the life of the communities where we live. Make us realize the importance of this moment and all the moments that follow. Give to us today, in this season of giving and sharing, hearts that are humble and willing to give. Thank you for the birth of Jesus: to restore and redeem us all by your all-powerful love. Give us joy that we might come to know and claim the reality of Bethlehem. May we too be brought to our knees as we worship the Christ child, who even now seeks nothing less than our hearts and souls. In the name and spirit of the babe named Jesus, we pray. Amen.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Just in Time! by David N. Mosser, Estee Carel Valendy. Copyright © 2012 Abingdon Press. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction,
First Sunday of Advent,
Second Sunday of Advent,
Third Sunday of Advent,
Fourth Sunday of Advent,
Christmas Eve 1,
Christmas Eve 2,
Christmas Day,
Sunday after Christmas,
Epiphany,

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