A Prayer for Illumination

Here is an example of a prayer that was used before a sermon on Micah 1:1-2:9, for which the New Testament Lesson was John 1:14-18. A minister could adapt this prayer according to what he is preaching on any given Lord’s Day.

O Radiant God,
  Source of never ending glory,
  Saviour of your people,
We pray to you for the gift of the Holy Spirit,
  that we might understand the prophecies
    of your servant Micah,
That being instructed by his word,
    we might be wise in your ways.
We pray that hearing the Gospel
  of your servant John
  we might perceive grace and truth
  and thereby enter your eternal kingdom.
Through Jesus Christ,
  our Lord.


Source: Hughes Oliphant Old, The Prophecies of Micah and the Gospel at Christmas: A Series of Sermons (1985), 10. Rev. Old preached this series of sermons to his flock at Faith Presbyterian Church in West Lafayette, Indiana during Advent and Christmas, 1984.


John’s Pre-born Prophetic Vault

Framed in light,
Mary sings through the doorway.
Elizabeth’s six month joy
jumps, a palpable greeting,
a hidden first encounter
between son and Son.
And my heart turns over
when I meet Jesus
in you.

–Luci Shaw


Published in: on December 19, 2012 at 11:38 am  Leave a Comment  


We prefer to think of ourselves as givers–powerful, competent, self-sufficient, capable people whose goodness motivates us to employ some of our power, competence and gifts to benefit the less fortunate. Which is a direct contradiction of the biblical account of the first Christmas. There we are portrayed not as the givers we wish we were but as the receivers we are. Like and Matthew go to great lengths to demonstrate that we–with our power, generosity, competence and capabilities–had little to do with God’s work in Jesus. God wanted to do something for us so strange, so utterly beyond the bounds of human imagination, so foreign to human projection, that God had to resort to angels, pregnant virgins, and stars in the sky to get it done. We didn’t think of it, understand it or approve it. All we could do, at Bethlehem, was receive it.

–William Willimon

Published in: on December 12, 2012 at 11:12 am  Leave a Comment  

Prayer for the Third Sunday of Advent

O Lord Jesus Christ, who at your first coming sent your messenger to prepare the way before you:
Grant that the ministers and stewards of your mysteries may likewise prepare and make ready your way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at your second coming to judge the world, we may be found an acceptable people in your sight, who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.  AMEN.

Published in: on December 12, 2012 at 10:38 am  Leave a Comment  

Prayer for the Second Sunday of Advent

Blessed Lord, who has caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant that we may hear them, read, contemplate, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by the patience and comfort imparted by your holy Word, we may embrace and always hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. AMEN.

Published in: on December 8, 2012 at 7:05 pm  Leave a Comment  


Waiting, as we see it in the people on the first pages of the Gospel, is waiting with a sense of promise. “Zechariah, …your wife Elizabeth is to bear you a son.” “Mary, …Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son” (Lk. 1:13, 31). People who wait have received a promise that allows them to wait. They have received something that is at work in them, like a seed that has started to grow. This is very important. We can only really wait if what we are waiting for has already begun in us. So waiting is never a movement from nothing to something. It is always a movement from something to  something more. Zechariah, Mary, and Elizabeth were living with a promise that nurtured them, that fed them, and that made them able to stay where they were. And in this way, the promise itself could grow in them and for them.

–Henri Nouwen

Published in: on December 5, 2012 at 9:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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Advent is here!

The Coming One says:

At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.   –Luke 21:27-28

“Come, Lord Jesus! Maranatha!”
pray the Spirit and the Bride.
Come upon the clouds of heaven
with your angels at your side.
Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!
Evermore with us abide.


Published in: on December 1, 2012 at 10:24 pm  Leave a Comment