Advent Week 2- Reading 7

An Advent Prayer for a Season of Preparation

Almighty God, Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, giver of the Holy Spirit, we gather to adore you in worship.  Our heart’s desire is to behold your glory.  And yet if we are honest we must admit that your glory is a sight we cannot even imagine and a reality for which we are scarcely prepared.

We hear reverberating in our souls the voice of one crying in the wilderness:  Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  (Isaiah 40:3)

We want these days of Advent to be all celebration when they call us to a season of preparation.  We want to rejoice and John calls us to repent.  We want to feast and John calls us to fast.  We want to be awash in the spirit of Christmas and yet you speak of One who is coming who will baptize us with the Holy Spirit.  (Mark 1:1-8)    For all our apparent strength, we confess with the prophet:  our lives are as grass and our constancy like the flower of the field.  The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.  (Isaiah 40:6-7)   Prepare us to behold the Christ, who is the glory of Christmas, the very Word of God made flesh.  Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him that his glory may dwell in our land.  (Psalm 85:9)  And so we pray, Prepare the way of the Lord:  Make his paths straight.   

Make us to know your ways, O Lord; teach us your paths.  Lead us in your truth and teach us, for you are the God of our salvation; for you we wait all day long.  (Psalm 25:4-5)  For with you one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.  (2 Peter 3:8) We know your return will not resemble your birth.  On that day the heavens will pass away and the elements will be dissolved with fire and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.  (2 Peter 3:10)  For the  prepared, your glory will break forth with resplendent joy.  For the unprepared, the same glory will be unmitigated terror. And so we pray, Prepare the way of the Lord:  Make his paths straight.

Bring down the high ways of our pride and arrogance.  Lift up the cancerous valleys of sickness and depression and despair.  Make smooth and straight the rough and crooked ways of our secret addictions to sin, our duplicitous ways of relationship and our idolatrous love of money.  Teach us the ways of humility, holiness and godliness in our personal lives, with our families, at work and at play.  Grant us courage to have the same integrity in every circumstance, to be the same person in every crowd.  Teach us the ways of confession and repentance that Christmas might become more than we ever imagined.  Prepare the way of the Lord:  Make his paths straight.

We wait with longing for the day when faithfulness will spring up from the ground and righteousness will look down from the sky.  We long for our lives and our church to be havens where  steadfast love and faithfulness meet, where righteousness and peace kiss each other.  (Psalm 85:10-11)  And as we wait we pray, Prepare the way of the Lord:  Make his paths straight.  As together we pray the prayer of our Lord,  Our Father who art in Heaven. . .

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