Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

A Year Ends

Father, as we say goodbye to another year, we may have regrets for things we have done or said or for those we have neglected. Help us to repent where it is needed and to trust that you are always ready to forgive. May we go into the new year in the confidence that you hold us in your loving hands. Amen

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at the turning of the year

Remember us, O God;
from age to age be our comforter.
You have given us the wonder of time,
blessings in days and nights, seasons and years.

Bless your children at the turning of the year
and fill the months ahead with the bright hope
that is ours in the coming of Christ.
You are our God, living and reigning, forever and ever.

... a prayer from US Conference of Catholic Bishops

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Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. 

Father we want to be able to recall the past that we may learn from it. We also want to prioritize the future that we may take advantage of the opportunities that will come and make our living in the present time as meaningful as possible.

Father, we join the Psalmist praying: “ …teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”  Psalm 90:12 (KJV)

And Father help us to apply the admonition of Scripture: “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk —not as unwise people but as wise— 16 making the most of the time,” Ephesians 5:15-16 (HCSB)

Then Father, as we bid the old year farewell and greet the new year with hopeful expectation, we will move forward realizing that time is on our side because you are with us and have given us your promise:  “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (HCSB)

In the name of Jesus our Savior in time and eternity. Amen


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Father, I praise You because You have been faithful and I can rest assured that You will continue to be faithful in the coming year! I do not have to be anxious about the future because my times are in Your hand. I know that You are trustworthy and Your promises to me are true. I will not give up believing in Your promises, and I wait in anticipation for the day I see them fulfilled. I know Your timing is perfect. I will remain faithful to You as I wait, and I praise You in advance for the fulfillment of Your promises! Amen. 

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a new year blessing

God, bless to me this new day and coming year.
Open my eyes to the wonder of your presence in my life.
Help me to understand my purpose as I walk in your very presence.
You have given me this time and this season, O God.

Cause me to bring blessing to everything that my eyes behold.
May your blessing in my life cause blessing to flow from me.
I commit to love and to bless my friend and my neighbors.
In truth, I need the blessings of my friends and neighbors.

God, help me to live from the good heart that you have given me.
Give me wisdom to know your will and trust with all of my heart.
Bring blessings into me family and help us all to trust in you.
In all things, I offer myself and my possessions to your service.

-adapted from a traditional Celtic prayer

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A Savior is Born


We are filled with gratitude this day as we celebrate the birth of Your son Jesus Christ. The promised Messiah had finally come, in the most unusual way. As angels proclaimed the good news, and shepherds came to see this child, the world changed. For Your son came to redeem. To remove the veil between us and you. To be our Advocate, our Rescuer, our Redeemer. Our King. We would never again be the same.

May we be mindful of all the ways You are continuing to do Your work on this earth. All the ways You continue to restore, to bring shalom once again. And may we be mindful of how we are part of Your great work to further Your Kingdom this day.


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Let us Adore Him

This morning, just two days before Christmas, a chorus is echoing in my mind.
O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.
Here are a few verses from that Christmas carol.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels!
Glory to God in the highest glory!
Word of the Father, now in the flesh appearing!
O come, let us adore Him.
Our hearts are filled with the joy of your coming Lord.
Our mouths are filled with your praise.
With the angels we declare your glory.
With the shepherds we bow in awe.

We come in adoration, thanking you for coming to us.


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“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.”
2 Corinthians 9:15 (NKJV)

Father, as I think about the gift of your Son to and for us it is truly overwhelming. That God who is greater than creation took to himself our likeness in flesh and blood. That he who was the glory of heaven in human infancy was laid in a feeding trough of wood and straw. That his life was one of sorrow and suffering. Rejected by his own people, ridiculed by gentiles, and crucified by a foreign hostile government. Literally dying alone on the cross for the sins of the world. “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--”  Romans 8:32 (NIV)   Such is this indescribable gift of God’s mercy and grace. Simply astounding!

It was the ultimate gift of infinite priority. So great is this gift that only God could give it. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son….”   John 3:16 NKJV)

It was the measureless gift of eternal dimension. “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” Romans 11:33 (NKJV)

It is the incomprehensible gift of knowledge beyond our full understanding. “… to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge.... Ephesians 3:19 (NKJV)

How can we not all say: ”Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!” 2 Corinthians 9:15 (NLT)

Our God and Father we bow in humble gratitude and love at the matchless gift of your Son who is our salvation.  Amen.

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Dear God, We thank You today and every day for the gift of Jesus who has restored our relationship with You and made a way for us to daily approach Your throne with boldness.

We can take comfort in knowing that You are Emmanuel, God with us. You hear our prayers, and You are for us. We can take confidence in the fact that You have mended our broken relationship with You, and we are overwhelmed by what You can and will do in our lives and on our behalf as we trust in You!

We bless and praise Your great Name today for who You are and the salvation we have in You. Amen

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Prayers on the Longest Night

As we prepare for Christmas it is always good to remember that this is a very difficult time for many among us. People are, for the first time, celebrating Christmas without their loved ones. So on this day when the night is the longest, I find myself thinking about this meditation (posted below), written in 2001 by Rev. Diane Hendricks. As you read it please think about and pray for those who are hurting so much this season.

Longest Night Meditation

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Only it's not.

  • Not for everyone.
  • Not when there is an empty chair at the table.
  • Not when your body is ravaged with illness.
  • Not when the depression is too much to bear.
  • Not without her voice joining yours on the Christmas carols.
  • Not when you feel all alone even in a crowd.
  • Not when you are not sure you can even afford the rent or mortgage,
    let alone the presents.
  • Not when they are trying their best to the best of you.
  • Not when another Christmas party means he will come home drunk again.
It's the most wonderful time of the year?

No, it's not.

And trying to smile and say Merry Christmas is more than difficult.

It's pretty near impossible.

C.S. Lewis once wrote:

"No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning..."
It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Only it's not.
  • Not after he has died.
  • Not after the doctor gave you the news.
  • Not after they told you they would be downsizing.
  • Not after... you fill in the blank.
  • Not after September 11.
  • Not when there is so much violence and destruction in the world.
In truth, it has never been the most wonderful time of the year. Certainly not in the days surrounding that first Christmas so long ago. The story of the birth of Jesus is not to be told with a jolly voice and a merry ho-ho-ho.
It is the story of a teenage girl, pregnant with a child that is not her husband's.

It is the story of a child born in a dirty animal stall.
It is the story of a family of refugees who had to flee their homeland so that their child would not be killed.
It is the story of one sent into the world in peace who was condemned to death.
It is the story of a light sent to shine in the darkness, which the world snuffed out.
It is the story of God's never-ending, self-giving mercy which was rejected and condemned.
In the great work the Messiah, Handel quotes the prophet Isaiah, proclaiming that Jesus was "despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." One great theologian reminds us that we cannot come to the manger without acknowledging that it lays in the shadow of the cross.

It is not the most wonderful time of the year.

Only it is! It is:
  • If we forget about the tinsel and the trees.
  • If we forget about the holly jolly tidings.
  • If we forget about the presents and the ornaments and the trappings.
And remember. Remember the story.
  • Mary was alone and afraid.
    But God was with her and exalted her among women.
  • Joseph was disgraced.
    But God revealed in Joseph's cause for disgrace God's plan to save the world.
  • The world was in darkness.
    But God sent the light of life to shine.
  • The lowly were imprisoned.
    But Jesus set them free.
  • The blind wandered aimlessly.
    But Christ gave them eyes to see.
  • The lame were rejected.
    But through the Holy One they were made to leap and dance.
  • The deaf were confined to the silence.
    But the song of life unstopped their ears.
  • The sorrowful grieved.
    But God wipes away our tears.
  • We were alone.
    But in Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God is with us.
  • The people rejected God.
    But God embraces us.
  • The world crucified Christ.
    But God would not allow that to be the last word, and gave us the sure hope of the resurrection.
It is the most wonderful time of the year, not because you have to be cheery and happy and merry.

But because you don't.

You can have heavy spirits and shattered dreams. Broken hearts and deep wounds.

And still God comes to be with you.
  • To comfort you.
  • To redeem you.
  • To save you.
  • To restore you.
  • To empower you.
  • To strengthen you.
  • To grant you peace.
  • To be raised for you.
  • To hold you in the communion of saints with those whom you have loved and lost.
  • To store your tears in his bottle.
  • To offer you eternal life.
It is the most wonderful time of the year.
For Christ is born.
Love has come.
God is with us!
Thanks be to the Lord our God.

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This blessed time of year should bring abundant joy to all of our hearts. And yet, for some, it brings heartache and sorrow. 

There are people mourning the loss of loved ones and dreading the first Christmas without them. Some are grieving over loss of relationship, loss of a job, loss of direction, a grim diagnosis. 

There may be some that wonder if they will ever feel joy again.

Truth is, as long as we are living on this earth, we can be certain: joys and sorrows will come, often simultaneously. But in Christ, we have hope. 

Hope that our hearts will heal. Our losses will be temporary. Our sorrow will turn to joy.

While we may grieve, praise God we do not grieve as those with no hope. We rejoice at the miracle that Christ came to earth to save His children. Calling to mind His perfect life, willing sacrifice, and the salvation secured by His resurrection is the only thing that can bring rejoicing during difficult times. 

We have the confidence that God will wipe away every tear and bring a ray of hope into places of pain and darkness.

We can mourn, knowing we are blessed, because there is coming a time of eternal comfort.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)


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Christ with me

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every person who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me,

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of the creation.


-Prayer of Saint Patrick

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A Promise Fulfilled

"Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying 'Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel'. -Luke 2:28-32

Thank you for fulfilling the desire of Simeon's heart ~ not only did he see You, but he held You in his arms. And I thank You, Lord, that what Simeon waited a lifetime to see has been revealed for all who will open their eyes. You are the light of the world. You are the hope of salvation for all who believe. I love You. Amen.

image from                             prayer from Maranatha Worship Bible

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”But when the fullness of the time had come,
 God sent forth His Son…..”
Galatians 4:4

Father we rejoice in the majesty and precision for your timing. Your time is always the right time, the appropriate time and the perfect time. We may wonder at what appears to be delays and yet at just the right moment, according to your plan, you took action and intervened in human affairs in the most dynamic way imaginable.

The greatest evidence of this is the birth of your Son and our Savior. We celebrate that unique and special day with great joy and public declaration as the Angel said: “10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11 (NIV)

Father, what could possibly be better news than the Savior has come and through faith in Him our sins will be forgiven, our hope of heaven will be secure, and our life from day today will be more meaningful with purpose and peace. It was the day of days and one that will be looked on as a plan completed and a promise fulfilled.

Thank you Father that: “Christmas Time is Here”. Through Jesus our Lord, Amen.

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His Gift of Joy

My prayer today is that the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with joy by the power of the Holy Spirit. Father, there is no real or lasting joy apart from the truth that is found in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You have blessed us with Your love, grace and truth in Him to bring us everlasting life. Every promise You have made will endure and come to pass. You are GOOD and I will praise Your Great Name forever. Amen 

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Christmas Prayer for the Troops and their Families

Christmas is a time to be with family and friends. This year some are serving our country overseas and are not with the ones that they love. We ask you Lord to surround those in the military with the presence of loving comrades and times when they can decompress from the stress of combat. We ask you to reveal yourself to those who are lonely and depressed. Help them to embrace the hope of the Babe in the Manger.

For those who worry about their soldier overseas, give them a peace that passes understanding. Help them to find constructive ways to deal with the stress of this situation. And for our governmental leaders, both friendly and not, help them to see past their fears and anger and embrace the One who is called Love. We ask you Lord to bring a lasting peace to the World Lord that your kingdom might come and you will be done. In the name of the Christmas Baby.


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Abundant peace

I would imagine there isn’t anyone reading this that couldn’t use a little more peace in their life. Abundant peace. Strengthening peace. The peace that only comes from our Father in heaven.

Nothing gives us a better promise of this than the Holy Word of God.

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

The promises in that amazing verse are mighty and powerful and comforting.

We don’t have to be afraid.

He is with us.

We don’t have to be discouraged.

He is our God.

He will strengthen.

He will hold us up.

He is our Victory.

What a treasure these inspired words of God are. We can take those promises to the spiritual bank. They are truth. They are life. They bring us abundant peace and eternal comfort.

Thank you LORD for your promise of a life filled with peace in abundance from your powerful and mighty and Holy hand.


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From the Cradle to the Cross

Dear Lord Jesus,

I cannot comprehend that You, the Creator of the universe, took on flesh and were born of a peasant girl. You, the One who spoke galaxies into existence became a speechless newborn baby. You, the One who gave the stars their light, veiled Your own glory and slipped unnoticed into the human race. You, the One who clothed all of nature in its boundless beauty and order, came to us wrapped in rags and lying in a feeding trough. The miracle of Your incarnation is all too unexpected, too mysterious, too holy for me to understand. I can only follow the shepherds to the manger and bow in astonishment and thanksgiving, glorifying and praising You for all that I have heard and seen. How my heart loves you my Lord and Savior. Amen!

Taken from the Worship Bible ~ Luke 2:6-20

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Life’s Greatest Accomplishment

   "Well done, my good servant!' his master replied.”
Luke 19:17 (NIV)

Father, I cannot imagine a greater greeting or affirmation than to hear from you: ”Well done.” It is truly life’s greatest accomplishment. The Apostle Paul reminds us: “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way....” Colossians 1:10 (NIV)

And Father you remind and encourage us to pray for all people, including our leaders. 1 Timothy 2:1-3 (NLT)
      "I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority ….. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior," 

So, Father, I’d like to give a prayer of thanks for George H.W. Bush, 41st president of the United States. In his passing and memorial service we have been reminded of the nobility of service to God and Country. The value of humility and seeking the welfare of others above our own. The love of family and friends with its endearing and enduring influence. Father, we were refreshed and somewhat renewed by the civility, community and compassion that came from various sections of our society.

George H.W. Bush’s tears encourage us to be touched with the afflictions of those who suffer. His laughter tells us not to always take life too seriously, and his ambition stirs us to realize there are more good deeds to be done. His funeral was a great moment for America, be a good citizen. A great message from God, love and forgive people. A great motto, have faith in God. Surely Father the one thing that unites us is faith in you. After all we are “One Nation Under God.” Father you remind us:  “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,” Psalm 33:12 (ESV)

So we thank you Father for this man, this servant, this president. And as the Senate Chaplain Barry Black closed his prayer at the Capital Ceremony: “We pray in the name of George Herbert Walker Bush’s Savior and Friend Jesus Christ, Amen.

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Our Living Hope ... Our Savior

"Praise be to the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead," (1 Peter 1:3)

I praise You today and give thanks because You heard the groaning of Your people under our burden of sin. You came to set us free and I thank You that You have drawn us to Your Son, Jesus, whom You sent to bring salvation. Amen

"And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world."
1 John 4:14 NIV  "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." Luke 19:10 (NIV)

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Come Holy Spirit

Come Holy Spirit.

Bring needed change in me.
Help me to be humble and teachable.
Cause me to be more like you.

In all ways let me be your reflection.
Let love and compassion ooze from my heart.
Teach me to lean into my heart and trust you.

May all who see me see you.
Empower me to walk in your presence.
In every way, I pray that I project Christ.

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To find God afresh in Advent

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.

I love that the Messiah was born in a small village. When I think about him being raised in Nazareth I think of the importance of family and community. God could have come as man but came as a baby who could grow experiencing interactions with both children and adults. Not all was good for Jesus though - because folks in his community knew him so well they were blinded to the idea that his origins were greater than their town. Because of this many could not see him as a messianic ruler. This familiarity is also a challenge to those who grow up in religious communities.

In this Advent season, Lord help us to get past our religious familiarities.
Have mercy on us that we might find you afresh in the midst of shopping for gifts.
Open our eyes to ways that we can serve others who are sad because of the season.
That we might be born anew in us in this busy and hectic season of celebrations.

Teach us to hear and sing beloved Christmas carols with new ears and voices.
Open our minds to new understandings of Christmas and how we might worship you.
Grant us grace that we might find new ways to love the baby Jesus in our families.
Come Holy Spirit and fill our hearts and our families with love, faith and peace.


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Balance in Life

1 Peter 1:6 (ESV)
       In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 

The balance of faith in you, Our God and Father, is that in our human weakness we experience the sorrow of grief and in our spirit we experience the joy of hope, believing that Romans 8:28 is true and reliable. Jesus, you experienced such a complementary contraction. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

Thank you Father that we do not need to deny the reality of our grief nor the joy of our faith in you. It is a strange mystery we may not understand but we do know as 1 Thessalonians 4:13 (ESV) says: We do ”…. not grieve as others do who have no hope.”

Thank you Father that you give us the ability to balance our grief and joy in all of life’s experiences.

In Jesus strong Name, Amen.

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