Prayer Workshop - Nov-Dec, 2014

Advient Worship Litanies

During Advent we are invited to open ourselves to God’s loving Spirit. One of the best ways to do this is by being still. While our world maintains a hectic pace at this time of year, we have an opportunity to quiet our bodies, minds, and spirits, helping us to prepare for God’s glorious gift of love on Christmas day. Enrich your Advent worship by using an Advent wreath — four purple candles (or three purple and one pink candle) placed around a wreath and a white Christ candle in the center of the circle.

Note: There are many ways to be still, including the use of prayer beads If you have a set of prayer beads, I encourage you to use them with this Advent Litany. The words to Say can be used with the cruciform beads, while you can use your week beads to Consider how the litany applies to your life. (Alternative directions: Use each bead to consider how the litany applies to your life.)

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Light one purple candle.
Read: Psalm 37:1-7 and Mark 4:35-39
Reflect: It is a challenge to be still today. We have many demands on our time. This is particularly true during Advent. We may feel distracted, depleted, and even disconnected from God. Yet, Advent is the perfect opportunity to be still and listen for God’s still, small voice calling us to prepare for the coming of our Savior.
Consider: How, when, and where can you be still and listen to God this Advent? (silent reflection)
Say: In this season of Advent we will seek opportunities to be still and listen to God.
Pray: Creator God, in the midst of our noisy lives, help us to listen for your voice so that we may hear your words of love for us. Amen.

SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Light two purple candles.
Read: Psalm 51:1-10 and James 5:13-18
Reflect: One reason we find it difficult to be still is that we fear the silence. In the quiet we hear our pain and sin, and that of the world. It is important to take time in Advent to recognize this pain. We come to understand how sin has devastated our world and how much we need a savior.
Consider: What pain and sin do you need to share with God? What suffering in the world do you want to lift up to God? (silent reflection)
Say: In this season of Advent we will be still and see the pain of the world and confess our need for salvation.
Pray: Merciful God, we confess that we live in darkness, surrounded by sin and death. Hear our cries, O Lord, and save us. Amen.

THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Light three purple candles (or two purple and one pink).
Read: Psalm 27 and Romans 15:7-13
Reflect: As we sit in stillness with our sin and suffering, something marvelous happens: we begin to recognize that we are not alone. We hear God’s words of love and assurance and realize God has been present with us all along, even in the darkness. Our hope is renewed.
Consider: Where do you see signs of God’s presence in the midst of the darkness? How do you nurture hope in your life? (silent reflection)
Say: In this season of Advent we will trust that God is with us even in the darkness. We will place our hope in God’s abundant grace.
Pray: Sustainer God, help us to place our hope in you and your deep love for us. Amen.

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Light four purple candles (or three purple and one pink).
Read: Isaiah 43:1-4 and John 3:9-16
Reflect: The more time we spend being still the more we experience God’s deep love for us. Where previously we were too busy to notice, now we see signs of God’s presence everywhere. We understand that God is preparing us to receive the most profound expression of love — in Jesus Christ.
Consider: How do you experience God’s love for you and the world? How can you share this love with the world?
(silent reflection)
Say: The time is near when we will see God’s greatest expression of love for us.
Pray: Loving God, help us to prepare for the birth of your son who is the full measure of your love for us. Amen.

CHRISTMAS EVE/CHRISTMAS DAY
Light all four colored candles and the white candle.
Read: Psalm 46:10 and Luke 2:8-20
Reflect: Hallelujah! Jesus is born! We come to the stable to greet him, gazing at his holy face. We recognize him as God’s perfect expression of love for us. He is Emmanuel — God with us. We can be still and know that he is God.
Consider: How can you celebrate the birth of our Savior? How can you take time to know the God who loves you so graciously? (silent reflection)
Say: Christ is born! God is with us! Thanks be to God!
Pray: Gracious God, in stillness you entered the world as a tiny baby so that we could experience your love. We praise you and thank you. Help us to be still and feel the peace of your gentle love and abiding presence. Guide us to share this gift with the world. Amen.

— Kristen E. Vincent

- for more information about how to use the Advent Litany with prayer beads, go to: Kristen's blog.

Kristen E. Vincent is the owner and principal artisan of Prayerworks Studio, specializing in handcrafted prayer beads. She is also the author of A Bead and a Prayer: A Beginner’s Guide to Protestant Prayer Beads, published by Upper Room Books. Another Bead, Another Prayer: Devotions for Use with Protestant Prayer Beads (Upper Room Books), by Kristen E. Vincent and Max. O. Vincent, will be available January 2015. Kristen lives with her husband, a United Methodist pastor, and their son in Oxford, Georgia.