Prayer of Approach and Confession for the Fourth Sunday of Advent
Most High, we sing your praises, for your love endures forever. The Virgin Mary bore the ultimate revelation of your divine love, the baby Jesus. And now we thank you for the privilege of bearing your love in the world. We confess that often we have failed you in this commission. At times, we have questioned this call, saying “How can this be?” Other times, we have failed to offer love out of fear of rejection or self-involvement. Send your Holy Spirit upon us. Strengthen us and show us where revealing your love can bring new life. Amen.
Words of Assurance
When Mary found that she would bear God’s love in the world by giving birth to a baby, she asked the same question: “How can this be?” And the angel answered: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Nothing is ever impossible with God. Be therefore assured that by the power of the Holy Spirit we, too, shall carry God’s love into the world. Amen.
Prayers of the People for the Fourth Sunday in Advent
God of Wonder,
We come before you in anticipation of what is to come;
We are excited
We are fearful
We are relieved
We are uncertain
In all these emotions, you are here with us.
God of No Limits,
We give you thanks for the boundless gifts you have given us:
This universe which you have created with its infinite mystery;
This earth that sustains us with its resources and beauty;
This created life, with all its relationships, of which we are a part;
For all these acts of love, we give you thanks.
God of Love,
We give you thanks for your Church
The community of those who came before, are here now, and are yet to come.
Help us to work together in the building of your kingdom here on earth
That we might live in justice, peace and harmony with all.
God of Many Blessings,
We call to mind all the ways in which you have blessed us individually,
With family and friends that fill us with belonging,
with studies and ministries that challenge and excite us
with good health and happiness.
In silence, O God, we give you are thanks for other blessings that you have laid before us….
God of Wisdom and Understanding,
As we give thanks we also hear the words of Scripture, urging us to bring all the concerns of our hearts to you.
And so we come with prayers of petition and intercession:
For a time when all this world might know peace
When hunger and oppression might end
When those who suffer might know freedom from pain
In our individual lives, O God, we name and offer the sighs of our hearts.
Hear them now as we call out these prayers to you……….
God of Patience and God of Surprises,
Teach us, in this time of waiting, to be open to let go of all those things
That hide your presence from us.
Catch us by surprise, catch us with wonder,
Fill us with the gift of your grace and your love
In this time of Advent and all the days to come.
In the power of the Spirit and in the name of Jesus, your wonderful gift to us,
we pray the words he taught us to say: Our Father…
Commissioning for the Fourth Sunday of Advent
May you be strengthened as you go forth
To carry God’s love, as Mary did.
A love that is radical, powerful, and life-affirming.
Submitted by Rev. Daniel Hayward, Trinity Ingleside and Newington United Churches, South Stormont ON Canada. Written by Karen Boivin, Daniel Hayward and Maggie Melanson while MDiv students at Queen’s School of Religion, Kingston ON.