Sunday, December 3, 2006
Offered by Dana Ferguson, Executive Associate Pastor
Many are the names that we have called you, O God, creator, redeemer, sustainer, faithful companion, abiding presence. And these are the names by which we call you on this glad Sunday of Advent: Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace. On this day, we pray for these things by which we call you: counselor and peacemaker. We pray for wise and patient, gentle and thoughtful, convicted and impatient counsel among leaders in this once and too-often proud land and in this once peaceful and all-too-often violent world. We pray for the leaders of this country and countries that inhabit this world, for leaders of the United Nations and peacekeeping bodies across the globe.
Give wise counsel to these and all those who advise and speak for them; to makers and enforcers of laws and those who are subject to them; to judges and dividers of mortal measure and those who make cases before them; to those who bear arms in the name of peace and justice and those who deploy and lead them. Give them and us fresh vision of hope’s advent. Grant memory that goes beyond war’s alarm to see Bethlehem’s stall and to hear angels singing that all might eagerly anticipate the day of complete kindness, the day of uncompromised justice, the day of absolute truth, the day of full health, the day when grief shall end, the day when joy shall abound.
We raise up to you, O God, matters of great consequence that grieve us and grieve you. The people are hungry of body and hungry of soul; the people are at war within and without; the children who have too little expect nothing. The ones who have too much whine and complain. The people who have, get. The people who don’t have are angry. Too many people who know don’t understand. Too may people who don’t understand don’t wish to know. There is more grief and pain and suffering than we know how to address and yet we, too often, contribute to it. These are the matters of consequence. These are the matters that matter, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace. So come, we pray, with your wonderful counsel and your princely peace. We pray that your light would shine in matters of great consequence, that by grace your light of truth might be seen in the dark shadows that yet circle all around.
Not for the world alone do we pray. Without shame, we pray for ourselves. In anticipation of the holidays, merciful God, we bow in longing of a new break in old cycles. So in these days, give us grace to live kindly, justly, and truthfully; give us grace to live in health of body and mind, and when health fails, give us grace to serve each other, and when death comes, give us grace to comfort each other in the promise of life, and give us grace to know an interval of laughter in all of our waiting.
These are our Advent prayers. As we wait for your coming, surprise us with good answers to our deep prayers and bring quickly the full, unadorned, extravagant hope of Christmas. Amen.
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church