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

prepare us for surprises

The following prayer was written around this time in 2019.

May God give us the preparation needed for 2021.

We pray ...
for healing ... prepare us for surprises.
for strength ... prepare us for surprises.
for vision ... prepare us for surprises.
for transformation ... prepare us for surprises.
for messengers and messages ... prepare us for surprises.
for community ... prepare us for surprises.
for acceptance - of ourselves and others ... prepare us for surprises.
for making room at our tables ... prepare us for surprises.
for Truth-seeking ... prepare us for surprises.
for support ... prepare us for surprises.
for Common Ground ... prepare us for surprises.
Walk beside us, O Holy One,
as we question and welcome,
as we challenge and invite,
as we discover and understand,
as we see, touch, taste, smell, 
and listen for the Newness awaiting us in 2020.
May we, Your Holy People, walk forward together side by side.

- Written by Sister Mary Ann Barret, O.P.

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New focus


Today, help each of us to be more PURPOSED in our Christian walk. 

Help us to be more COMMITTED to our spiritual growth.

Enable us to be more WILLING to share the gospel with every person we meet.

Empower us. Enrich us. Fill us to the full with GRACE and MERCY to overflowing!

Give us a new VISION for the coming year. A vision that keeps our focus on You in all that we do and all that we say.

Let us never be shaken...

“For YOU are my rock and my fortress..” (Psalm 31:3)

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making new year's prayer personal

Rather than write a prayer for you today, I thought I would help you cultivate your own prayer as you reflect on the challenging year of 2020, and lead you into a personal prayer time for what 2021 will be.

1.)  Consider the things that happened last year that you are thankful for.  

Though this year was very difficult, it also has created a more thankful heart in me. So reflect on the ways, both big and small, in which God has shown you how to be thankful. And for the things you have to be thankful. Hard times lend itself to forgetting what we have that is good; but likewise, hard times lend itself to appreciating what you already have. Make a list of what God has given you this year. 


2.) Remember the prayers God answered last year.

It's ok if this takes a while, especially this year! You likely will need to sit with this one for a bit. But do wit with it. Remember all the ways you have prayed, all the people you have prayed for and situations which you laid at his feet. He may not have answered completely, he may not have answered the way you though he would. But consider how he did answer you and ask yourself what that says about who God is and how it shows his love and care for you.

3.) Lament what you have lost.

We often forget that lament is not despair. Lament is crying out to God because we know it's not how things are supposed to be - and crying out to him because we know and believe he can change it. This is the definition of hope. Lament the losses. God is not offended by your anger, your tears, your swear words, your punches thrown into the wind. God has felt all of those things, too, and has been with you through every loss. Don't suppressed them or think they don't matter. Every loss matters a great deal, and he feels each one of them with you.


4.) Ask yourself what you want for the New Year.

What is your deepest desire? What is your greatest hope? What passions do you want to pursue, what wrongs do you want to see made right? Write them down, create a vision board, whatever it takes for you to think big and build up any hope you may have lost.


5.) Lay all of these hopes at the feet of Jesus.

The mystery of how our prayers and God's sovereign will work together is a complicated one that we do not have answers to. But rather than this keep us from praying big or prevent us from praying at all, may it press deeper into our trust of God. May we remember all that he has done and has promised, know how much he loves us, acknowledge that he hears our prayers, and believe what he has for us. May this deeper trust in him show us to be people of faith, fully submissive to his will.

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I have a Maker,
He formed my heart.
Before even time began,
My life was in His hand.

He knows my name,
He knows my every thought,
He sees each tear that falls,
And hears me when I call.

"Oh Lord, You have searched me and you know me;
You know when I sit, and when I rise;
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
You are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
You know it completely, O Lord."
Psalm 139:1-4

Heavenly Father, such knowledge is too wonderful to understand too lofty for me to attain, but I accept your love, I acknowlege my sinful ways, and seek to walk with You daily in this New Year, and to search your Word, and live in obedience to it.  I'm grateful for every day of this crazy year, and how your have shown Yourself loving and faithful every single day of 2020.
I love You.  Amen!

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So Great a Salvation

"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”

Father, the Apostle Paul exemplifies the true understanding of why Jesus came to earth, to do only what he could do in bringing and being our salvation. Paul experienced the joy of salvation through the forgiveness of his sin, which he personally acknowledged and confessed. "This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all." 1 Timothy 1:15 (NLT) 

And Father as we look at the word salvation we receive insight into the aspects of our sin and our need for salvation.

Sin "....all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," Romans 3:23 (ESV) 

Against "....How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” Genesis 39:9 (ESV) 

Lost  "All we like sheep have gone astray;"  Isaiah 53:6 (ESV)

Volitional "....they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD,"  Proverbs 1:29 (ESV) 

Anger ".....anger lodges in the heart of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9 (ESV) 

Transgression "...sin is the transgression of the law." 1 John 3:4 (KJV) 

Iniquity "We...committed iniquity, " Daniel 9:5 (NKJV)

Offence "Woe to the world because of offenses! ...." Matthew 18:7

Nature "For I was born a sinner— " Psalm 51:5 (NLT) 
Father thank You for the insight and accountability of our sin. Thank You for clearly explaining the desperate need we have for "....this great salvation..." Hebrews 2:3 (NLT) . And Father we join in singing with those of Psalm 96:1-2  "Sing a new song to the LORD; let the whole earth sing to the LORD. Sing to the LORD, bless his name; proclaim his salvation from day to day."

Father help us to be like the shepherds who boldly and with great enthusiasm shared the good new of Your Salvation. "After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child." Luke 2:17 (NLT) 


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A Christmas Prayer

O God, our loving Father, help us
Rightly to remember the birth of Jesus,
That we may share in the song of the
Angels, the gladness of the shepherds
And the worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate and open the
Door of love all over the world.

Deliver us from evil by the blessing
That Christ brings, and teach us
To be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning make us happy
To be thy children and the Christmas
Evening bring us to our beds with
Grateful thoughts, forgiving, and
Forgiven, for Jesus’s sake.


... a prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson

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a prayer for Christmas Eve

Most Loving Father,

Thank you for this day and for all it represents.

For the messianic hope you bestow, we are blessed.

We are grateful for the peace that the Christ Child brought us.

The love that you poured out in that stable fills us still.

We praise you most of all for Jesus, your Word made flesh.

May he light our way as the holy star lit the way for the wise men.

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satisfy our souls

Heavenly Father,

We praise your name on high, grateful that you are a God who saves. The true God who is present, near us at every moment. The one true God worthy of our worship and love.

Help us to breathe, O God, in this rush. In and out, with deep inhaling and slow exhaling. Let us sit in silence for a few moments each day, to listen, to slow down. To be quiet. To wait for Your voice to speak.

For you guide us, O God, and we must learn to be silent and listen for your voice. To listen for your direction. Teach us to slow down, to be present as we create memories and experiences. To slow down and see all that you are and all that you are doing around us.

I will wait for You 
On Your word, I will rely 
I will wait for You 
Surely wait for You
 Till my soul is satisfied (Ps. 130)

Satisfy our souls, O Lord. Not with the things of this world, but with you alone.



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Luke 2:25. . . ."Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout.  He was waiting for the consolation of Isreal and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  It had been revealed by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ.. . . .When the parents brought the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praise God saying:

Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, You now dismiss your servant in peace.

For my eyes have seen your salvation which you prepared in the sight of all peoplel.

A light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Isreal.

Dear Lord, thank you for fulfilling the desire of Simeon's heart ~ not only did  he see You, but 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 alll who believe.  I pray that at this Christmas Season, many will see the light and receive the salvation of grace by faith to freely given.  I love You.  Amen.

Maranatha Worship Bible

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The Perfect Christmas

 "A Savior Has Been Born to you..." Luke 2:11

Father in the birth of Your Son you saw all of the events that would combine in his life and death that would bring salvation for all who believe. "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."  Luke 2:11 (NIV)  

Isaiah prophetically proclaimed: "7 He was oppressed and treated harshly.....He was led like a lamb to the slaughter......10 .....his life is made an offering for sin, .....11 .....because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins."  Isaiah 53:7 & 10-11 (NLT) 

John the Baptist declared: ".....Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"  
John 1:29 (NLT) 

The Apostle Peter wrote: "18 .....God paid a ransom to save you ......the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20 God chose him as your ransom l..."  1  Peter 1:17-20 (NLT) 

The Apostle Paul said: "But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners."  Romans 5:8 (NLT) 

The Apostle John exclaimed: "This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins."  1 John 4:10 (NLT) 

Father it was a perfect Christmas because You gave Your Son the perfect gift, the perfect lamb, and the perfect sacrifice through whom our sins can be forgiven and have perfect peace with You. In the song "Lamb of God" Sarah Reeves captures the essence. the wonder and the perfection of  Christmas. 

"Your only Son No sin to hide  But You have sent Him, From Your side
To walk upon this guilty sod And to become the Lamb of God
        Your gift of Love They crucified They laughed and scorned him as he died
The humble King They named a fraud And sacrificed the Lamb of God
        Oh Lamb of God, Sweet lamb of God I love the Holy Lamb of God
Oh wash me in His precious Blood My Jesus Christ the Lamb of God"

What wonder, what love and what grace! Thank You Father for the perfect Christmas Amen.

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hope in the longest night

I post this meditation (written in 2001 by Rev. Diane Hendricks) every year as a reminder that things are not always as they seem. Darkness eventually gives way to light and night transitions to morning. And we can have hope in the darkest of times. 

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 get 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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when the holidays are hard

Sometimes the holiday season surfaces all sorts of emotions. Sometimes we find ourselves grieving a loss or struggling with all sorts of images from holidays past.

In these times God can seem distant and prayers so hard to say. I find that simple prayers can help to communicate our heart. Here is something we can pray.

I am hurting Lord. I am sad and I am struggling.

I offer my pain to you. I lift up my struggles and my sadness.

I confess that you are my friend, that you care about me and you are with me.

I ask you to help me. To comfort me. To bring joy into my life.

I believe in you Lord and trust you to bring me through this season.

I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen

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O, Holy Night

May we never forget to remember the day that our LORD and Savior was born. 

May we never fail to give Him the worship that He deserves. The worship that He requires. The worship that He is so worthy of...

May we always bring honor and glory to Him. Truly the season is about the miraculous birth of a baby destined to be King. Destined to be the Messiah. Destined to be our SALVATION...

O, Holy Night... it is the day of our dear Savior’s birth.

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we belong to God

Sovereign Lord,

In the beauty of your power and gracious will, You have made us Your children. As we prepare for Christmas - even a very different one from what we may be used to - may we never lose sight of who we belong to. May we be reminded that we are bound to You through the sacrifice of Your son Jesus, who came in an unexpected way. Another reminder to us that You work in ways we don't always understand - but it's for our good in ways we cannot see. 

May this teach us to trust You more, knowing you keep Your promises - just as the promises of Genesis 3, Isaiah 7, 49, 53, Zechariah 9, 1 Chronicles 17 and so many more have been fulfilled in the person of Christ - will be fulfilled in Your kingdom, in Your time. We are Your children, and You will do what You have said You will do.

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Third Week of Advent

Father, as we wait in anticipation of the return of our King, help us to not sit passively by, but to rejoice in the great privilege you have given us to join in your mission of reconciling the world to yourself. As we await the final culmination of your Kingdom, help us to be about bringing that Kingdom to bear in every part of our day-to-day. Amen
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Luke 2: 8-20 "And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them "Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

Oh Lord, I cannot comprehend that You, the Creator of the universe, took on flesh and was born of a peasant girl.  You the one who spoke galaxies into exsistance, 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.   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!  I love You.  Amen.
Maranatha Worship Bible

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Why We Need Christmas?

"I am a sinner.’"

Luke 18:13-14 (NLT) 
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” 

Father as we approach Christmas Day and all of the celebration and joy it brings, may we remember that Jesus did not come to just bring peace but to especially make peace possible between us and You and each other.

Colossians 1:19-22 (NLT) 
     1 9 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. 21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. 

Father should we not be astounded by our former spiritual condition as sinners, as enemies, as separated, as unjustified, as unreconciled, having no peace and unable to help ourselves. We were totally at Your mercy and Your gracious mercy is the gift we needed and was given to us in Your beloved Son on that first Christmas morn. 

Now we are redeemed, reconciled, and have peace with God and the peace of God. All, Father, because of your mercy which is why we need Christmas. As the Apostle Paul reminds us: "Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us."  Romans 5:1 (NLT) 

Thank you Father for the price that was paid that we might have mercy, forgiveness and peace through faith in Your Son. Amen. 

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help us to find joy in waiting

I think that most of us struggle with the idea of God's timing. TV commercials tell us that we can have it "our way". Another saying tells us that he who hesitates is lost. There is a constant pressure on us all to Just Do It! Yet these ideas are not relevant to the kingdom of God and we see in this verse that there is a beautiful timing to the will of God. Please join me in prayer.

Sovereign God, we come to you with anxious and impatient minds. We seek after your timing yet we often struggle seeing the beauty of the big picture. Help us to find joy in waiting and peace in our struggle. When we get impatient please remind us of this verse and that you are making things beautiful in concert with your will. And Lord help us to keep praising you as we wait.


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for grace to trust that all will be well

In you, Father all-mighty, we have our preservation and our bliss.

In you, Christ, we have our restoring and our saving.

You are our mother, brother, and Saviour.

In you, our Lord the Holy Spirit, is marvelous and plenteous grace.

You are our clothing; for love you wrap us and embrace us.

You are our maker, our lover, our keeper.

Teach us to believe that by your grace all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well. Amen 

-a prayer of Julian of Norwich

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peace, be with us

Humanity waits in darkness longing for your light.
In the center of darkness, rekindle our hope.

As we wait for peace in the midst of war,
be with us.

As we pray for families to be reunited,
be with us.

As we pray for enemies to be reconciled,
be with us.

As we pray for lands to be restored,
be with us.

As we pray for long-term security,
be with us.

As we pray for kindness and community,
be with us.

Restore and set right our relationships.
Replace the darkness in our hearts with your light and joy.
Let your word set alight the hope the world needs
to bring to life your love and justice.


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Luke 1:38 "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered.  "May it be to me as you have said."  Then the angel left her."

Oh Lord, Your plan of redemption was advanced when one simple peasant girl said yes to You ~~a yes that would change the world.  There was not a complicated ritual, nor advanced theological training involved.  Just the trusting words, "I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me as you have said."  Lord, may it be the same in my life.  Help me to cooperate with Your plan for the world by saying yes to You.  Even now I say yes to You, Holy Spirit come upon me so that the life of Christ may be manifested through me to the needy world around me.  I love You.  Amen.

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God Never Worries, So Why Should I?

Thank you Father that there is never a time, a place, or an experience through which we pass that is unknown to you. Not only do you know but even greater you are with us as an ever present help. Father thank you for the truth of 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT) Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” This precious promise is beautifully expressed in the song you gave Audrey Meier “It Matters to Him about You.”

Although God has millions of souls to see about
Although the sun, the moon, the stars are in his care
How wonderful to know wherever you may go
He can be reached just by a whispered prayer.

It matters to him about you
Your heartaches your sorrow he shares
Regardless of what you may do
He wants you He loves you, he cares
Oh yes, it matters to him about you
Believe it because it is true
Cling to his hand, He'll understand
For it matters to Him about you.

Thank you Father for the affirmation of this glorious truth in Psalm 55:22 (NLT) Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”

In the warmth and love of Jesus name. Amen

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In anticipation of Christmas

As Christmas approaches ...

We pray for a deeper understanding of the mystery of the incarnation. Open our minds that we might grasp the significance of the babe in the manger and the wonder of the shepherds.

We ask for a heart that loves the Lord Jesus more passionately. Help us to put him first in this season. Grant us grace that we might do the things that will draw us closer to him.

We do not want to get caught up in the commercialism of the season. Penetrate our hearts with a deep caring for the people around us. Help us to give of ourselves and not just of our wallets.

We intercede for those who are hurting. Comfort those who have lost a love one this past year. Ease the suffering of those who equate the season with pain. Help more joy to be in their lives.

We commit ourselves to be vessels of your light and love this season. Please work through. Help us to bring the presence of Jesus (and Christmas) to all of those around us. 

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for beautiful feet

Dear Lord,

Help us to have beautiful feet.

Courageous feet that walk through dark valleys.
Compassionate feet that take us to hurting people.
Happy feet that bring us to sorrowful friends.

Blessed feet that are steadfast in your love.
Going feet that proclaim the good news.
Most of all, cause us to walk where you walk.

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of hope



It's the first word we often ponder during the Advent season and yet this year it feels strange to even think about hope with so much despair and conflict all around us.

So we lament. We cry out to You.

But in this, there is hope.

Because we wouldn't cry out to You if we didn't hope You would hear us. If we didn't hope You would fix what was broken and right what was wrong.

Lord help us see hope in a new way this Advent and Christmas season. Remind us to find hope in what You have done and what You are doing, and to find hope in the promises You have made for our future. Remind us that we are secure in our place as Your children and that our union with You is at Your gracious and loving hand. 

Remind us that our hope is not in the things of this world, but in the person of Jesus Christ who will come again. For this, we wait and hope.

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