An Advent Prayer for Attention and Anticipation
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead your people like a flock. You who are enthroned on the cherubim, shine forth. (Psalm 80:1) From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him. (Isaiah 64:4)
Come Holy Spirit and inaugurate Advent in our midst. Come and open up the book of a new year of our Lord. Lift our hearts to long for your coming and loose our longing to imagine your Kingdom.
We confess—Advent, the season of holy anticipation, has become for us a sign of anxiety. Like Martha, we busy ourselves with so many things, preparing for a celebration of our own design. We confess—our attention has become distraction. Our hearts, minds and souls are divided as we literally surf the channels of our consumeristic culture. Yet, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. (Isaiah 64:8) Begin anew this Advent to shape us. Make us like Mary to sit at the feet of our Lord Jesus and discover the only necessary thing: your Presence. Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved. Shape these days of Advent into a season of undivided attention; of holy anticipation.
As we sing of peace on Earth and good will to all people, open our ears to hear the mournful songs of a war-torn world; the unquenchable cries of ordinary families like our own whose losses are beyond our ability to comprehend. As we prepare to wrap the countless gifts our children will open on Christmas morning, open our hearts to the countless children for whom Christmas morning will be yet another day to survive. Lead us to respond to you in remembering them who will otherwise receive nothing, who are orphaned, whose parents are dead, distant or imprisoned. Open our eyes to see those neighbors nearest to us who are lonely, afraid, sick and suffering. We confess, our lifestyles have become enclaves of escape from the pain and suffering that surrounds us. Yet, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. (Isaiah 64:8) Let this year be different, Lord. Shape our attention in these days of Advent into a lifestyle of love for neighbor and the needy.
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead your people like a flock. You who are enthroned on the cherubim, shine forth. (Psalm 80:1) O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence. (Isaiah 64:1) As we remember and celebrate the birth of the baby in Bethlehem, let us not forget that the King is returning. We confess we have made ourselves at home in a World that is not our home. We know a time is coming when the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; when the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. We know the Son of Man will come on the clouds with great power and glory and he will send out his angels to gather his elect from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. (Matthew 13:24-27) Stir in our hearts a holy anticipation for the World to come, and an undying urgency for the world that is passing away. By your Spirit make us watchful and wakeful. For you, O LORD, are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)
Come Holy Spirit and inaugurate Advent in our midst. Come and open up the book of a new year of our Lord. Hear us as we pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven. . . . .
Prayer taken from Praying the Story, (Dunnam & Walt)