A Journey of prayer for Advent

A SPRINKLING OF PRAYERS

FOR OUR ADVENT JOURNEY

 

As a sprinkling of notes can bring music to a lonely silence

As a sprinkling of words can bring warmth to an empty heart

As a sprinkling of rain can bring wonder to the petal of a rose

As a sprinkling of light can bring a rainbow to a dark sky

As a sprinkling of snow can bring magic to a tired garden

So may a sprinkling of prayers this Advent

bring the love of God into our world afresh.

Amen

 

 

It is hard to sit in comfort and warmth and not think of those in the Philippines who have lost everything It is a reminder to us all that the earth is a living planet embracing the tensions of creativity and destructiveness and riven with beauty and horror which we see in different forms around us day by day. It is a reminder too not to treat Christmas lightly, sentimentally, or as if a baby in the manager were the final word. In a few months time we will leave the crib and walk the Lenten road from Bethlehem through Galilee to Jerusalem and the baby, now grown will be crucified. Thank God that too isn't the end of the story. But for now we entrust to God all those who are suffering. We give thanks for all the glimpses of joy around us and we commit ourselves to spend a few moment each day praying for the world that Christ was born in to.

 

 

 

Wordswithoutspacesarehardtounderstand

And so is life....

What words are on our lips as we begin Advent? What jumble of words are in our hearts and heads crying out to be separated and sorted and silenced? How can we use the four weeks of Advent to craft out some space? How can we prepare our hearts to receive the Living Word Jesus Christ, both as the Bethlehem baby and as our beloved Saviour?

This collection of prayers are the words that are in my head as I think of Advent and Christmas and reflect on the coming weeks, from my little caravan in the grounds of Mill House. Preparing is one of the great themes of Advent and looking and listening are two of the most precious aspects I have been given as this new stage of my journey unfolds. Whether it is looking at the vivid stars in a sky so dark it is ablaze, or whether it is listening to rain drops dripping on the roof, or pigeons settling down for the night, or an owl out hunting. The sights and sounds are God’s gift and are a way of receiving more of God as I become entwined with creation, her times and seasons, her colours and decay, her struggle and all her joy.

I pray that as we look and listen day by day, drawing closer to Bethlehem and preparing for the birth of Christ, we may both see the sights and hear the sounds around us but also the sights and sounds of the outcasts, the suffering, the abused, the abandoned, the addicted. Or else we will settle in the inn of complacency and miss the cry of the stable. The cry of life new born and eternal. The cry of Emmanuel, God with us. The cry of Christmas, every moment, every day.

God of the stable, whose cry is love,

guide our steps to Bethlehem.

Empty us of all our noise

And Be the space between our words

That is silence and in seeking, in looking and in listening

We may find your gift

Which wrapped not in tinsel, but in hope reborn, is truly Christmas

Now and always

Amen.

Advent Sunday As we light this Advent candle, may its flame be as bold as the voice of John the Baptist, crying in the wilderness. As bright as the star leading us on to Bethlehem and as enduring as the love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit Amen.

Mon 2nd Dec God of our advent pilgrimage, of journeys and doorways of memories and of paths untrod of shared hopes and solitary fears of empty rooms and warm hearths of welcomes and goodbyes Bless with your gentle strength and quiet peace all we journey with day by day, all we come across unexpectedly and all who encourage us along the way And give fill us all with hope and joy and love enough to share This advent, this Christmas And always. Amen.

Tues Dec 3rdWe pray for a sprinkling of compassion in places where prejudice is rife. A sprinkling of love in families where death is drawing near. A sprinkling of determination in governments where there is apathy. A sprinkling of hope in hearts overcome by the darkness of pain. Lord Jesus may our sprinkling of prayers fall upon all in need of your healing, your acceptance, your love, Amen.

Weds 4thAs we set out on our Advent journey in the strength of hope, celebrating the glimpses of glory in our midst and preparing for the glories to come. Following that strange new voice crying in the wilderness, and acknowledging our own voice crying in our hearts. So, Lord of our journeying, Lord of our crying, meet us in Bethlehem, that we may worship you, individually, as a community as a church, as the world, you came to save. Amen.

Thurs 5thFather God, forgive me when my strength is an obstacle to your purposes. Rather may I be as a bare tree in winter, through which your glory may shine more abundantly than when I stand in the ‘wealth’ of summer. May my vulnerability resound with your fragile love which comes as a tiny child into an unforgiving world, to change, refresh, renew and redeem. Amen.

Fri 6thMay our journey to Christmas, be as an adventure, unpredictable, exciting, stirring, challenging. May our minds race, our hearts sing, and yet may we ever find in all our journeying, a stillness that is your presence with us, leading us on to Bethlehem where our spirits can soar towards the light of your eternal love, revealed in a baby, for all creation Amen.

 

 

Sat 7thLord, whenever I must wait, For a bus, at a checkout, at the dentist, at traffic lights, For news, for help Grant me the grace to rest in those moments which seem wasted That they may be agents of healing - freeing me from the power of rushing impatience. Help us all to befriend time and free from the fear of its passing too quickly or too slowly For you are the heartbeat of all time, and in you every second is commissioned and sanctified May we never miss the blessing of a moment, in our haste to journey on but embrace all time in trust and hope in Jesus name Amen.

Sun 8thGod of urgency and passion, You chose John the Baptist to be your prophet and to embody holiness in all its grit and sweat. When we would recoil from his coarseness, challenge our hearts that we may not miss that glimpse of your righteousness embedded in the midst of his call to repentance. But may turn our faces towards Bethlehem, rejoicing that you call those we would not and celebrating your all inclusive love that is Christmas, Amen,

Mon 9thTeach us to pray this Advent as though we were dusting the houses of our lives. Gently brushing away all the cobwebs of disappointment and tiredness, sparing the spiders of dreams once dreamt, but reaching ruthlessly into the corners of lethargy and bitterness, leaving no room untouched. That these days before Christmas may bring fresh hope, fresh energy and fresh life to our hearts, our churches, our communities, our world – in Christ’s name Amen

Tues 10thCome to us through the desert, through the fields of corn Come to us through the crowds, through the waters Come to us through the courts of the temple, through the dusty roads Come to us through the busyness of our lives and the emptiness of our hearts Come to us when we are weak, come to us when we are strong Come to us Lord Jesus, come soon.

Weds 11thGod of strength and gentleness, we give you thanks for the gift of prayer, For the words and the silence, For the glimpses and the shadows For the resting and the weariness For the sprinklings and the avalanches For the deserts and the stars Be with us as we journey towards Christmas, that we may know your presence in our darkness, hear your voice in our silence, and be open to the needs of those who travel with us, friends ands strangers. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our way , our hope our ;light, at Christmas and always. Amen.

 

 

Thurs 12thForgive us Lord, when we only want Christmas on our terms We want to be at Bethlehem. But don’t want the bother of the journey We want to share the birth. But not the pains of labour. We want a new beginning. But we don’t want to change. We want to share. But we don’t want to give anything up. We do want you to come Lord, but perhaps not just yet. Forgive us Lord, when our Christmas is not your Christmas And be born in us Amen

Fri 13thLord Jesus, you came as a song into the worlds silence and you come to us today, touching our secret hopes and longings. May we not fear your music but let it settle deep within us, that we too may sing individually and together. Knowing that however weak our voices, however much they waiver, you are the eternal music that plays above us, beneath us and around us. Drawing us deeper into the mystery of the song that death can never silence- even the song of Bethlehem, Amen.

Sat 14thO God, before all beginnings and beyond all endings, Bless those whose lives have become entwined with ours, Gradually, surprisingly, joyfully, prayerfully, And to whom all our concerns are important. Those who walk with us day by day in all our experiences of living, mundane and magical. Those with whom silence is as expressive as words, touch as precious as prayer. Increase our capacity to give and to receive more fully And draw us ever closer to you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

Sun 15thAs we come together today in freedom, we pray Lord, for all those who are imprisoned- For men and women beating their heads against prison walls For butterflies beating their wings against panes of glass For animals pacing up and down in cages For those trapped by poverty and those imprisoned by riches, For those bound by addictions or bitterness or hate Grant them and us the freedom of spirit that never gives up hope and which in Christ never dies We ask this in His name Amen.

Mon 16thAs your faithful earth weathers the changing seasons and continues to renew itself out of decay, so father, help me to brave the changing seasons of my mind. That the long black nights of winter’s despair may not erase the memory of autumn’s glory or stifle the anticipation of the gentle bursting through of the flowers of spring. But may a sprinkling of your light sustain me on the long journey to Bethlehem and open my eyes to see the brilliance of the birth of your Son our saviour, Jesus Christ, Amen

 

 

Tues 17thLord Jesus, when the pressures of this season weigh heavy on our hearts and the joy of the stable is tarnished by expense and debt. Bless us with a glimpse of your love, that our journey to Bethlehem may not be marred by expectations we cannot meet or disappointments we cannot contain. But enriched by your peace and sustained by your promises may we bring what we can, give what we are and together worship you in spirit and in truth Amen.

Weds 18thI can’t get going today Lord, I want to pray but I can’t be still My mind is anxious, racing, getting nowhere, Everything and nothing keep bursting in and my concentration and faith splutter like a fuel-less car Calm me Lord, protect me, Lead me to a safe place And let me sit with you To receive your peace Celebrate your beauty And be warmed by your love And so fill my heart with an awareness of your presence, that I may rejoice as your child, safe in the knowledge that you are my light and my salvation, now and always Amen.

Thurs 19thThough the mornings are dark – the birds still sing Though the evenings are dark – the stars still shine Though the world isn’t worthy – your Son still comes Though we don’t listen or prepare or deserve- you still love and forgive and renew Father, Son and Holy Spirit as advent starts we praise you – Amen.

Fri 20thSometimes, the words of the Christmas services upset me. Sometimes I want to cry, not sing carols. Sometimes I’m full of unexplained dread, not the expected anticipation. Sometimes absence and loss seem overwhelming. Lord, heal me where I am wounded. Free me where I am bound by the past. And help me amidst the longings of my soul and the realities of my life to welcome you as my Saviour. That i may trust you as Mary and Joseph trusted you and take the risks that they took for love’s sake Amen.

21stLord of the lion and the lamb, of the donkey and the ox, you rested with the beasts of a stable when we could spare no room for you. Forgive us when we abuse your creatures and mar this seasons joy by our cruelty and greed. Forgive us when we are deaf to the cries of those going to be slaughtered amidst the glitter of our festivities. Forgive us and teach us compassion, that all creation may live in peace and worship you without fear this Christmas and always Amen.

Sun 22ndLord, may your birth, your coming, bless us with the courage to look up, not away, the strength to embrace today not tomorrow, the trust to look within not through, the faith to look for joy not satisfaction, the love that holds on and lets go, and the wonder that delights to smell a winter rose – Amen,

 

Mon 23rdGracious God, forgive us when as the innkeepers of our time, we turn away those who are different from ourselves. When there is no room in our hearts for those you love, confront us Lord. Confront us until all the doors and windows of our souls are flung open and we can breath out the generosity your love invites us to share with all those who come before us in need. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Saviour Amen.

Christmas Eve With children who wait excitedly for the morning and with those who fear the dawn, so we wait with you, child of hope and light of all the world, Amen

 

In shadows, In light fragile and flickering Excited, unprepared We wait Lord. As night dismisses the day and we hover on the cusp of Christmas We wait In cautious joy In unfamiliar expectancy In tingling hope In spite of ourselves, We wait. So, come Lord Come in the first breath of the morning And call us by name Amen

 

Christmas Day Jesus, child of the crib, with Mary who bore you. With Joseph who protected you. With animals of the stable who watched over you. With the angels who sang of you. With the shepherds who ran to you. . With our brothers and sisters throughout the world, we welcome you. Jesus Saviour of the world, we welcome you, Amen.

 

Though we have been slow to make our way to Bethlehem- Lord Jesus be born in us today Though we were reluctant to set out and distracted on the journey – Lord Jesus be born in us today Though we have arrived with cluttered minds and weary hearts – Lord Jesus be born in us today Though we have come empty handed- Lord Jesus be born in us today. As we kneel before your crib, with angels and shepherds, with Mary and Joseph, with sheep and oxen- Lord Jesus be born in us today Amen.

 

 

Final thought.....

When our new clothes don’t fit, and there are no batteries with our toys. When we’ve already read the books, heard the CD’s, and seen the videos When the Christmas lights have melted the chocolates and the cat has knocked the angel off the tree, and we got the blame When dinner is burnt and the fire’s gone out and we’ve got enough bubble bath to last 2 lifetimes. When granddad’s nodded off and the Sound of Music is on and mum is singing along, out of tune. When the wrapping paper won’t fit in the wheelie bin and the washing up won’t fit in the sink. When the wine’s all drunk and everyone’s full up and Midsomer murders has finished and we fell asleep just before the end and don't know 'who dunnit' When the day is over and friends didn’t phone and family didn’t come, and we wonder if it was all worth it, let's creep back to the stable and quietly look again into the crib and wonder and ask ourselves whether God thinks it was worth it....... 

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kathy | Reply 15.01.2015 03.13

Beautiful! Thank you!!

Andree | Reply 02.12.2013 13.22

this is a song I was reminded of that goes with Dec 2nd Advent reflection
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD_pd2M4IDk

sarah 28.12.2013 12.50

Timeless truths on this amazing time of the year.

Andree | Reply 24.11.2013 17.10

ChristmasAgain
It only seems five minutes since the Tree went away?
Still food in the cupboard we forgot last Christmas Day!
I light the Candle SPACE to pray...

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28.08 | 20:17

Hi Lynne, the video of the moon bears was very sad and moving. I am a supporter of WWF and at present tigers are my thing. You are an inspiration. Bliess you.

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07.03 | 13:54

How is Dessie doing now? Hope the wren is enjoying today's sunshine and singing of the joys of Spring

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16.11 | 18:22

A new friend recommended we spend a day at Mill House Retreat sometime and suggested I check out your website. I love your writings and the pictures you create

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Lynne, Your words are beautiful! After reading your bio I realized you are living the life I aspire to, simplicity, quiet, silence, Divine awareness in all:)

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