Advent Worship Resources

                Each resource on this page has been bookmarked. To link to a particular prayer use the designation at the beginning of it, without the parenthesis, with a #. Thus, the first prayer would be bookmarked as:
                Dates at the end of an entry are when they have been used at this church, according to records not kept until Oct., 2000. All have been part of worship here, though when they were written or first used may go back as far as 1990 (first computer files).

        O God of Love, who came as a infant, small and vulnerable; O Prince of Peace, who said "Let the children come to me;" O Spirit of Life, who empowers little ones to lead us in worship, continue to bring Joy to this world. Desperate is our need. Great is your Joy. Make of this hour a festival of joyous song, truthful confession, heartfelt praise, earnest words of hope amid our fears, hands and voices raised in adoration and extended in compassion. When at last we stand and sing our majestic chorus of "Hallelujah!", remind us again of the lowliness of a manger, and the folly of a cross, and the words of a prophet who once witnessed:
             "The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them."  (Isaiah 11:6)  Lead us, O Lord. Amen!

        O God of the still, small voice, when you spoke through the angel Gabriel to Mary, mother of our Lord, you said, "Don't be afraid." And in the mighty chorus of your heavenly host, you comforted those frightened shepherds with the same words. This whole business of "Gloria in excelsis" can be a bit overwhelming, to put it mildly. It seems we're never really prepared for your new possibilities. We're not very good at waiting. And when the focus of our impatience arrives, well, you know how we react. You know us very well. And you say, again, "Don't be afraid."
        In your Word we find these words: "Perfect love casts out fear." May that love come to birth in us today. In the stillness of this moment, cast out our fear, and create in us a united voice which cannot help but cry out your delivery room song: "Gloria in Excelsis Deo!"
  Glory to God in the Highest!  amen! Amen! AMEN!

     Be still ... Hark! ... Pay close attention ... Listen ... Quiet us, Lord, that we might be able to hear, over the noise of our busy lives, beyond the clutter of our Christmas preparations; Help us to become still, even for a moment, that we might hear the herald of your angel voices: "Glory!" ... "Peace on Earth" ... "Mercy" ... "Reconciliation" ... "Joy!" ... "Christ is born." The message of the ages still rings out for those willing to listen. This is our desire. Open us that we might hear. Today ... Now. We pray this in the name of the One who was born where he was welcomed: a garage out back. Come, Jesus, into our home. Welcome! Amen.

        In you we find our true joy, O God. From you we receive real peace, O Christ. Through you we step out in faith, O Spirit. Forgive us when we seek joy where it cannot be found. Forgive us when we derive peace from the things which do not make for it. Forgive us when we walk without the power or direction to really move. May this worship, Lord God, be a time of seeking and finding, asking and receiving, knocking and opening. For those willing to enter your ADVENTure, these things you have promised. And you are faithful, even when we are not. Thank you, and praise you. Amen.

        Winter is almost here, Lord God, a time when bare branches and cold weather may turn our thoughts to death & dying. Lead us this hour to your seeds of new life. Help us to see your rose blooming out of the snow. Guide us in remembering your promise of fresh saplings from old roots. Draw us toward the manger where your Son, Jesus, may be born in our midst once more. It's in his name that we are gathered here, and his name in which we now pray. Amen.

        O come, faithful God, who empowers the weak, who encourages the fearful, who enlightens the blind, who intones the deaf, who energizes the lame, who emancipates the speechless, who enriches the poor, who invigorates the dead; O come, faithful God, come and enable us, right now, to worship you, and work for your Kingdom, filled with your strength, your hope, your vision, your melody, your motivation, your Word, your inheritance, your Life!
All this we pray, through him who came to be our Savior, who lives to be our Lord, who will return and fully make all things new; In Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

(a-7)                    Call to Worship (second Sunday of Advent)

child 1 - Welcome to God's House!
child 2 - Today is a very special day.
child 1 - Isn't every day supposed to be special?
child 2 - Yes, but this is God's day, and we've all come here
to worship him.
child 1 - I know something else special about today.
child 2 - Go ahead, make my day.
child 1 - There's only ___ days until Christmas.
child 2 - I knew that.
child 1 - It's also the second Sunday in Advent.
child 2 - I knew that.
child 1 - And we get to light the second candle on the Advent wreath.
child 2 - I knew that.
child 1 - OK, I know something you don't.
child 2 - Really? What is it?
child 1 - Do you know what the second candle stands for?
child 2 - Sure. It stands means.... All right, tell me.
child 1 - It stands for........I forget... Mom?
mother - It stands for faith. Last week's candle stood for hope. Today we focus on faith.
father - Faith is important as we journey toward Christmas.
mother - Faith means following God even when we can't see very far ahead.
father - We keep on walking, trusting that God will guide our steps.
mother - For Christmas is more than presents and pretty lights.
It's about God sending
                    his Son to walk with us, to save us, and to lead us home.
child 2 - That reminds me about what we just studied in Sunday School. How God sent
                    Moses to save his people from Pharaoh and lead them to the promised land.
child 1 - Yeah, God protected them along the way. Us kids are going
to sing about it this morning.
father - Well, then, let's get ready.
mother - Prepare the way of the Lord!
father - Make a space for God here and now.
mother - Invite Jesus to be with us.
child 2 - And light the candles.
child 1 - Especially today's candle, the one that stands for faith.
mother - Shall we stand and sing together: "Come, thou long-expected Jesus"
                 [wait until the people start singing, and then light the first 2 candles on the Advent wreath]

     Come, Lord Jesus. We are expecting you to be here. Even so, surprise us. Move among us through your Holy Spirit today in such a way that makes it clear you are near. Confront the Pharaoh in each one of us. Passover our sin, because of your promise. Part the waters of our indifference. Lead us through the wilderness of our daily experience, toward your promised land. Speak to us this hour from your mountain. For like Moses, we stand on holy ground. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

(a-9)        (Fourth Sunday of Advent)             note: child 2 is younger, perhaps a non-reader


child 1 - Today is the last Sunday before Christmas. 
                     We have been lighting a new candle each week.
mother - With each candle we remember a different aspect of what Advent is
all about.
                     The first one stands for the HOPE we have that God is faithful to his promise;
father - The second represents the journey of FAITH, which prepares us for, and leads us on
                     toward God's coming Kingdom.
mother - The third is for the JOY we find in the Peace of Christ.
child 1 - Today we light the candle of LOVE.
child 2 - God loves us.
mother - Would you stand with us as we read together of God's steadfast LOVE, from which
                     come HOPE, FAITH, and JOY in Jesus Christ.

Call to Worship   (Psalm 89:1-5)

child 1 - I will sing of your steadfast love, O LORD, forever;
All - with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.
father - I declare that your steadfast love is established forever;
All - your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.
mother - You said, "I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn
                    to my servant David: 'I will establish your descendants forever, 
                    and build your throne for all generations.'"
All - Let the heavens praise your wonders, O LORD, your faithfulness
                 in the assembly of the holy ones.

Opening Prayer

child 1 - God, do your angels in heaven sing when we sing?
mother - Have I been listening to hear the "Glory" around me?
father - Have I been asking "Why this Jubilee?" and waiting for your answer?
child 2 - We love you God.
mother - We want this worship, and our lives, to reflect your love in us.
father - Light a candle under us, Lord, that we might sing out, as well as listen, seek as well as proclaim.
child 1 - God, help us to hear your angels sing. And help us to sing right along with them.
mother - Glory to God in the highest!
father - Amen.

(b-1)    Opening Prayer
     "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to and end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness." Letís pray together.
        Faithful God, we are gathered this day in the name of the One whom you promised to send - your Messiah. You kept your word, and sent your very best. In Christ Jesus we have found, and continue to discover your tender mercy. In him we know what true love is. In him there is real peace - your peace, your justice. In him we have hope.
        We need hope, because the future still awaits, your kingdom is still coming, what you are about behind the scenes of this world has yet to be fully revealed. We await the fulfillment of your great advent-ure.
        Empower this hour with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. In this moment, we open the door to our hearts and lives, that the One who knocks may enter. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.        (12/10/00)

(b-2)    Returning our Tithes and Offerings (Philippians 1:3-6)
        The apostle Paul wrote this to the church in Philippi: "I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ."
     As you return your offering, ponder what "good work" God is in the process of bringing to completion in us, in you. Are you thankful? Are you joyful? How are you sharing in the gospel, the good news of Jesus, the "Word made flesh"?
        Will the ushers come forward to receive our tangible giving of thanks?

Dedication Prayer
        It may not be "incense, gold, or myrrh," that we have given, Lord. Still, we thank you for how you are at work in us. This is your construction zone. Guide us, with wisdom and courage, to make good use of the gifts you have given. In Jesusí name, we pray. Amen.        (12/10/00)

(b-3)    Returning our Tithes and Offerings (Phil 4:4-7)
     "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
     There is something about repetition that allows what we hear or do to sink in deeply. "Rejoice," Paul wrote, "and again, Rejoice" And again and again.
        Well, friends, "again" we return our offerings. As we do so, may it sink in more deeply that all we possess comes from and belongs to God. Furthermore, in responding to his goodness, may we grow in letting go of "worry." The Lord is near!
        Will the ushers come forward to receive our tithes and offerings.

        Immanuel, God with us, our wallets and purses, our checkbooks and credit cards have been getting a workout lately. In so doing, are we revealing our true God? Forgive us, O Lord, and receive our offerings. Help us through them to be getting our priorities straight. May joy, gentleness, gratitude, and peace be our bottom line. With our hearts and minds guarded by you in Christ Jesus, we pray. Amen.        (12/17/00)

(b-4)    Opening Prayer
        "Hark!" those angels, your messengers sang long ago, Lord God. "Hark!" Listen! Pay close attention! You are speaking through them still. Your Word rings out. "Glory!" We have gathered once again to listen, Lord - to open our ears - our hearts and minds. Help us to hear. Forgive our sin, that which gets in the way of listening and following. We confess how quickly and easily we stray from you, like those sheep protected by those shepherds out in that field. Shepherd us, O Lord. Live in us through your Holy Spirit. Right now. We open the door for your leadership. Welcome! This we pray in the name of the one we call Jesus, our Christ, your Son. Amen.        (12/24/00)

(b-5)    Returning our Tithes and Offerings (Micah 5:2-5a)
        Listen to the prophet Micah:  "But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace."
     "How silently the wondrous gift is given," we will sing of what happened in that "little town of Bethlehem" long ago. Letís respond now, with our tithes and offerings, to "the blessings of the heavens" which God has given and continues to give. Will the ushers come forward?

Dedication Prayer
        O prince of Peace, our shepherd, enter in. We receive you. Receive now our gifts. Help them be put to wise use in the work to which you have called us in this "little town of" Long Green. Thank you, Creator of heaven and earth, for caring about the smallest, the least, the lost, and sending your Son for all the "little" places and people. In his name we pray. Amen.        (12/24/00)


©1990-2000, Peter L. Haynes

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