a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

a prayer for the new year

Creator God, the year turns, and we find ourselves uncertain which way to look…
Back, at the blessings you have bestowed upon us—
friends and family,
wonderful summer weather,
beautiful music and theatre,
times for fun and laughter,
new things learned and old habits put away,
the gift of your presence,
celebrations of life and love.
We give thanks for all that has been.

Or perhaps we look back in another direction, at all we have lost—
friends we have said goodbye to,
opportunities missed,
illness or pain that stole our joy,
news that hit too close to home,
worries about livelihoods and about children and about church and about the world.
We pray for healing of our brokenness,
for the comfort of your care to smooth the rough places
and for your light to shine through the cracks.

Or should we look forward, God?
Behold, you are doing a new thing…
we anticipate with wonder that the best is yet to be.
As the old year gives way to the new,
we long for the peace and justice of your kingdom.
We pray that children of every place may grow up with enough food and water and love,
that violence may at last come to an end,
that our leaders might seek the good of all,
that this might be the year when light outshines shadows.

Give us courage to trust you,
to put our hand in yours and walk forward into the unknown with hope.
As we stand at the gate of the year,
looking backward and forward,
remind us also to look inward and outward,
to seek your kingdom first of all.
Remind us that we can see your image in every face,
that you have made us your family, together,
that this world belongs to you and we are its caretakers,
and that there is a still more excellent way—the way of love, faith, and hope.
May this be the year, O God, that all people see your glory together.
We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.


Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, St. John’s Church of Scotland, Gourock

Prayers of the People: eternally victorious

We give you praise, O God,
because you are eternally victorious over death.
In faithfulness you have raised up Christ for us,
and your mercy knows no end.

God of life, we pray for those who are bowed down
under the weight of hunger, injustice, uncertainty, or despair.
You who provide every good thing,
uphold your people.
Open your hands wide
and satisfy the needs of every living thing.

God of hope, we trust in your righteousness
and depend on your love.
Be near to those on whose behalf we call upon you;
to those who face sorrow, illness, injury, or death.
Fulfill our longings for wholeness, healing, and new life;
hear and answer all who cry out to you.

Steadfast God, preserve us in your love,
that we might speak your praise
and bless you forever
in the name of the holy one, the Risen Christ,
who teaches us to pray as we say:
The Lord’s Prayer


Rev. Nathan Williams, Covenant Presbyterian Church, West Des Moines, IA

POP: you are our light

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE (based on Psalm 27)

O Lord, you are our light and our salvation;
we are not afraid of anyone or anything.
When terrible things happen, we put our trust in you,
and we know you are always with us.
Help us to see you at work in our lives always.

We pray for people who are suffering or frightened today,
and for everybody who is sick or grieving;
wrap your arms around them,
give them healing,
and keep them safe.
We pray that everyone would be able to sing your praises
and tell that you have done wonderful things for them.

Show us how to follow you, O Lord,
and help us live as your disciples
as long as we live.
We pray in Jesus’ name,
who taught us to pray, saying:

The Lord’s Prayer


Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Covenant Presbyterian Church, West Des Moines, IA

POP: flows abundantly

We praise you, O Lord, for your greatness and splendor;
we rejoice in you for the beauty and delight of your presence.
Your goodness flows abundantly in the life of the world,
and you provide enough
not only to sustain life
but to make living a delight.
We pray for all that lives,
and especially today for those creatures
whose lives are filled with suffering or uncertainty
because they cannot find enough
food, shelter, security, love, or hope.
Guide us as we seek to use the gifts you have given us,
and open us to see what wonders you can work in the world through us.
We pray for those who hunger for signs of your love
and who thirst for the gladness of your good news.
Make us vessels of your mercy
and servants at your welcome table,
so we might make room for everyone to find a home in you.
We pray as disciples of Jesus Christ, our Lord,
who teaches us to pray, saying:

The Lord’s Prayer


Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Covenant Presbyterian Church, West Des Moines, IA

Prayers of the People for Advent

O Lord, you are coming to us,
and we wait with eager anticipation!
Our souls are standing on tiptoe,
trying to peer over the horizon
where the morning star is about to rise upon us.
We put our hope in your Word, O Lord,
that your Word might take on flesh among us once again
to reveal your mercy and steadfast love.
We wait, Eternal One,
and we cry out to you on behalf of those who have waited too long:
those who seek your healing,
those who seek your forgiveness,
those who seek your presence.
We wait for you,
for there is plenteous redemption with you,
and you redeem the sinful world according to your promise.

We wait for the coming Christ,
who prays with us as we say together:

The Lord’s Prayer


Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Covenant Presbyterian Church, West Des Moines, IA

POP: no other helper

Alleluia! We praise you, O Lord,
with every fiber of our being.
With all our heart, soul, mind, and strength we will sing praises to you.

We earnestly put our trust in you alone,
knowing that there is no other helper but you, the Almighty.

Therefore we call out to you on behalf of all who are hungry or oppressed,
asking you to keep your faithfulness to your beloved creation.

Liberator, set the prisoners free;
Light of the world, open the eyes of those who cannot see;
Strength of the broken, lift up those who long to be healed.
O Lord, hear our prayers for those we lift up before you.

Preserve the righteous by your justice;
care for the stranger in your compassion;
sustain the orphan and the widow in your community of faith;
and save all your world from the hand of the wicked.

You, O Lord, shall reign forever,
and so we join all generations in the prayer your Son taught us, saying:

The Lord’s prayer



Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, Cedar Rapids, IA

POP: O Hear Our Cry

Beloved, we lift up prayers before God,
trusting in the mercy of the One who comes to shepherd all people.
Let us sing our prayers together:

O Hear Our Cry, O Lord v. 1-2

Save your people, O Lord,
and be especially present with those whom we have named before you.

O Hear Our Cry, O Lord v. 3-4

Turn your face toward your people,
and restore us in your mercy.

We pray in the name of the coming Christ,
and we join in the prayer he taught, saying:

The Lord’s Prayer


Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, IA

POP: God’s Anointed

People of God, Jesus comes to bring God’s mercy to all people.
Therefore we are bold to sing our prayers
to the one whose reign is justice, peace, and joy:

All Hail to God’s Anointed v. 1

We pray for those who are captive to violence, oppression, and sin.
We pray for all who are hungry, sick, sorrowing, or afraid.

All Hail to God’s Anointed v. 2

We pray for everyone who longs for new beginnings.
We pray for those who celebrate and rejoice.
We pray for all who travel to be with families,
and we pray for those who celebrate the birth of the Savior alone.
We pray for the gift of peace, in our hearts and in our world.

All Hail to God’s Anointed v. 3

We pray for those in positions of power,
for those who have more wealth and power than they realize,
and for those whom we are called to serve.

All Hail to God’s Anointed v. 4

Let your kingdom come in this world, O God,
and let our hearts welcome the birth of the Holy Child,
who teaches us to pray as we say together:

The Lord’s Prayer


Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, IA

POP: harvest of joy

Lord of glory, Savior of all who call on you,
we pray for your people who are near to our hearts today.
We rejoice with those who rejoice,
whose hopes and dreams have come true today.
Let our mouths be filled with laughter,
and let us sing songs of joy,
for you have done great things for your people.
We give you thanks!
Merciful God, we also weep with those who weep.
We call out on behalf of those whose lives are dry and barren,
for all who long to be restored.
Where there are tears, or suffering, or illness, or grief,
may there be songs of joy once again.
We lift up the prayers of your people
with longing and hope,
trusting that you will bring forth a harvest of joy.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, IA

Prayers of the People: Christmas Eve

God of our Salvation,
we come to you on this wondrous night to gather in praise,
to lift up your name with friend, family, and stranger.
In the beginning, your creative work began with a word,
and tonight, your creation continues with the Word made flesh.
On this holiest of nights, we join the everlasting chorus saying:
    Glory to God on highest!  Great is your name in all the earth!

Like Mary, we ponder these things in our hearts,
and wonder how you could love us so much
as to actually become one of us, one with us.
We remember these stories this evening
that remind us of your steadfast love,
that affirm that you have never, and will never, give up on your children.
    Thank you for your steadfast presence in our lives!

And yet, even on this night on which we celebrate the fulfillment of love,
we recognize that there are many who are still waiting for fulfillment:
the fulfillment of adequate food and shelter…
the fulfillment of peace and the end of violence…
the fulfillment of reprieve from the fierce grip of grief…
the fulfillment of a restoration of a broken relationship…
the fulfillment of a renewing of heart, mind, or body…
the fulfillment of healing from a chronic illness…
the fulfillment of an end to substance abuse…
Giving God,
        give us the courage to do your work in the world
and to share the peace coming to us in the manger this evening.

We pray this night especially for those who have traveled to be here…
for those who have lost loved ones in the past year…
for those who struggle with mental illness…
for those who fight alcoholism’s onslaught…
for those who will be traveling in the coming days and weeks…
for those who work on Christmas:
especially medical workers, police, and emergency personnel…
for those who cannot make it home for Christmas…
hear us we pray, O God,
    Restore us and make your face to shine that we might be saved.

In all that we do and in all that we are,
send your Spirit to send us forward with the majesty of this night
and to share the grace we find with everyone we encounter.
This we pray in the name of your Son, who taught us to pray saying:

    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;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,
for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.  Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY