A number of people seem to have found this prayer helpful, so I thought I should post it here.
Week 2 - HOPE Came Down at Christmas : Isaiah 9:1 -7
“Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan —
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”
Loving God, you know the anxiety of poverty,
the gnawing fear of the next bill,
how to feed the children, care for the sick.
You know the brokenness of dreams and ideals,
and the cynicism that hardens hearts
and crushes community.
You know too the foolishness of faith in wealth
and the mystery of great generosity in times of crisis.
This Advent season, we look to you, God,
Father of Jesus, our humble and joyful Lord,
who laughed and cried,
lived abundantly and died terribly
to be with us in every season of life and death.
We look to you, because you have been there;
be our Counsellor, our wise guide through these dark days;
fill us with the hope of those who know their Saviour is coming,
fill us with the love of those who know ourselves deeply loved
fill us with the songs of those who know our struggles are not eternal.
Give us hope in you so that we may be generous and not hoard,
fill us with confidence in your goodness
and gratitude for your faithfulness,
so that our children may live lives of hope.
Shine in us as light in the darkness,
a testimony to the end of war,
an alternative to violence,
and abundance instead of poverty and injustice.
May your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth...
The prayer was written in Geneva, while discussing Mission, Justice and Partnership between churches in the strategic planning for World Communion of Reformed Churches. I was thinking of the implications of the economic difficulties facing the Republic of Ireland and beyond. The Bible text was the one I was given, when Margaret Clarke asked me to write the prayer.
The full set of prayers written for Advent is on http://www.transformations-ireland.org/