Intercessory prayer for the beginning of Advent, prayed at First Presbyterian Church; Oxford, MS, December 2018.

God of promise, 

We come to you this day, at the start of a new season, waiting. 

Your children, O Lord, are waiting to be seen. 

We remember those among us who are feeling forgotten or alone or misunderstood. Grant them assurance that they are whole, and wholly yours, just the way they are. 

May your Spirit spark in them hope, and inspire us to do our part in making it so.

Your children, O Lord, are waiting to be home. 

Whether they have fled their old ones for a better life, been pushed out of them by others because of who they are, or whether they have slipped through systemic cracks to end up on the street, grant belonging and rest to unwilling wanderers.

May your Spirit spark in them hope, and inspire us to do our part in making it so.

Your children, O Lord, are waiting for justice. 

We acknowledge those among us who have been victims of systems set up to make them fail.

May your Spirit spark in them hope, and inspire us to do our part in making it so.

Your children, O Lord, are waiting for healing. 

Hold close those who are hurting in body or mind, whatever the reason. Grant them strength, courage, and the help they need.

May your Spirit spark in them hope, and inspire us to do our part in making it so.

Your children, O Lord, are waiting for peace.

Our country and world are fractured, and doing the hard word of making it better can feel insurmountable. 

May your Spirit spark in us hope, and inspire us to do our part in making it so.

Faithful God, whatever our own uncertainties, breathe hope into our lungs and courage into our hearts. Not the easy or comfortable kind, but grant us, O God, hope in the unexpected promise of a world-changing child born from the humblest of beginnings. Grant us comfort in the words that that child would teach us to pray together:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.