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awaiting the Messiah: a prayer for advent

November 14th, 2005 by isaac · 3 Comments

At my church we don’t have one person who is responsible for the Sunday worship. We share those responsibilities. Well, one thing I do to make church happen is help plan worship. Recently the planners asked me to compose a responsive prayer that we would pray together every Sunday as we look forward to Advent. (note: they asked, not because they thought I was good at praying, but because I’m a pushover when it comes to taking on unwanted responsibilities!) Anyhow, below is what I came up with. I was surprised by how much work it was to write a prayer. I had all kinds of anxiety about praying something that was true, and something that expressed what it means to long for the return of the Son.

Part of what I struggle with these days is the relationship between the church and Israel. What does it mean that we Gentiles confess Jesus as the Jewish Messiah, while Israel’s children (i.e., modern Jews) deny our participation in the people of their God and that Jesus really was the Messiah? What does it mean for the church to be grafted into the true vine of Israel, while acknowledging that the branches of Israel don’t necessarily die out? And what is different about how the Church waits for the return of the Messiah from the way Jews still wait for the first advent of the Messiah? These are the sorts of questions from which my prayer flows. My prayer attempts to be faithful to the lectionary texts that we are reading in this time before Advent. If you hear echoes of biblical passages, that’s becuase my language is dependent on those lectionary readings.

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Congregational Prayer

Leader: Faithful God, remember your covenant with us. We are people familiar with forgetfulness. We confess our lack of faith, our inability to remember your faithfulness to Israel. Convict us of sin. Free us from our idolatry. Save us from the gods of this land that so easily ensnare us.

People: God of Israel,
redeem us, your people.

Leader: God of Israel, save us from ourselves. You invite us to rest in your faithfulness, yet we refuse you and turn to our own gods, images of our own desires, human creations that give life to the evils hidden in our depths. O faithful God, turn from your anger and save us from our destruction. In your mercy, redeem your people.

People: Father of Israel,
raise us to life through your Son.

Leader: God of Jesus Christ, we long to see you face-to-face. Look upon us with favor and rescue your scattered sheep. Father of Israel, gather all of us into your promised land, the kingdom of your beloved Son. As we look forward to the advent of your Son, may your Holy Spirit illumine a path of servanthood where we learn to see you in “the least of these.” For the greatest in your kingdom is the servant, the servant unto death, the slain Lamb.

People: Come Lord Jesus,
Messiah of Israel,
long awaited promised One.

Tags: theology

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Drew // Nov 18, 2005 at 10:57 pm

    Beautiful!

  • 2 isaac // Nov 22, 2005 at 2:43 pm

    Drew, thanks man. Good to hear you are still alive and reading the blip.

  • 3 Jewel // Jan 25, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Hi,

    Great prayer!

    I am wondering please if anyone can tell me, are there actually a group of people in Damascus, Syria awaiting the Branch of righteousness’s return? And what is this about the Branch building the house of the Lord? (Zechariah 6:12) Is this Jesus? Or is this some other, of today, in charge of this rebuilding?

    Thanks so much for your time.

    Aloha,
    Jewel