Matthew 24:42 tells us about the necessity for watchfulness which we celebrate in the waiting period of Advent.
“Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming…Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
We stay awake to the needs of the world and our need for Christ in our service, our giving, our praise, andour prayers among other practices. We wait for the coming of the messiah of Isaiah 9:6: “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Here is a prayer longing for that Wonderful Counselor — a presence that, as Walter Brueggemann describes, can bring about a new social order based on love not fear, on justice not oppression, on mercy not retaliation, on hope not the status quo
Eternal God, we live in awe of your abiding presence.
When we wake you are there. You greet us with the sun’s rays, with the chirping of songbirds and the buzzing of insects and the soft glimmer of dewdrops.
When we rush through our day and buckle under the burdens of our work and obligations, you are there. You comfort us with an unexpected call from a friend or a favorite song. You challenge us to remember we are part of your larger family with a reminder of a stranger’s need or the imperative to share the road in traffic.
When we sit down for a meal. You display your creativity and abundance in all the variety of your creation and in the depth of conversations we have.
When we seek rest after a long day, you wrap the evening in a warm blanket of darkness and set the stars to twinkle with the hope of knowing time had a lifespan way beyond our conceiving.
We pray today for these are the times we must stay vigilant – to honor your abiding presence and to be a presence of love and mercy for others.
We have been awakened to the needs of this world and we need to stay awake as we await the realization of Christ’s love for all living things.
On this first day of Advent, we pray for Christ’s love coming as our Wonderful Counsellor, bringing visionary leadership, imagination and insight to heal the brokenness of our common life together. To reveal the systems that imprison us and help us create new ways of being in community. Keep us awake so we may be witnesses to recognize the personhood and equal rights of all people no matter their skin color, gender, sexuality, or country of origin.
Help us awaken the world to the rights of everyone of your children to live freely and fully in this world. Help us to celebrate your presence and image in each person.
Make us vigilant to the peace that Jesus brings with the tools that Jesus used – not with weapons, prisons, and the limiting of rights. But with the power of his hands, his thoughts, his teachings and his life – choosing to be with those who struggle and suffer.
O God, we pray for those whom this world has demeaned, that they may be dignified in Christ’s love.
We pray for those whom our systems have crushed, may they be lifted in Christ’s love.
We pray for those who are hungry for food or for goodness, may they be fed as Jesus fed us.
We pray for those who are lonely, may they be comforted by your presence. We pray for those who feel meaningless, may know your teachings and your love.
We pray as a reminder to stay vigilant. Let the words of the Lord’s Prayer, the eternal hope taught to us by Jesus the Christ, Our Wonderful Counselor, be in our hearts daily as we pray for bread and mercy for all people. Amen.
~Rev. Beth Waltemath
Prayer © Beth Waltemath, 2016.