Genesis 49:8 – 10
Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; the children of your father and mother shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He crouches down, he stretches out like a lion, like a lioness — who dares rouse him up? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and the obedience of the peoples is his.
Praise and honor to you, O God.

Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
who shepherds the people
and sets them free.
God raises from David’s house
a child with power to save. --
--Through the holy prophets
God promised in ages past
to save us from enemy hands,
from the grip of all who hate us.
The Lord favored our ancestors
recalling the sacred covenant,
the pledge to our ancestor Abraham,
to free us from our enemies,
so we might worship without fear
and be holy and just all our days.
And you child, will be called
Prophet of the Most High,
for you will come to prepare
a pathway for the Lord
by teaching the people salvation
through forgiveness of their sin.
Out of God’s deepest mercy
a dawn will come from on high,
light for those shadowed by death,
a guide for our feet on the way to peace.
O God, as we keep watch in this Advent season, we look forward to your future coming, and we pray.
For a spirit of openness to the leaders in our church who are charged with the office of teaching and sanctifying:
~ May we recognize your presence in their words and deeds.
For a spirit of openness to the prophets and poets in our midst who speak with special clarity:
For a spirit of openness to the strangers we meet each day who challenge us to new understandings:
For a spirit of openness to those with whom we minister and whose creativity, steadfastness, and generosity inspire us:
For a spirit of openness to our companions in community with whom we share a common call to Mercy:
O God of Judah and ruler of the people, you confound the strong and raise up the weak. Help us to recognize your presence in the faces of all whom we will meet today. We make this Prayer through the intercession of Jesus, our teacher and brother. Amen.


1 Corinthians 1:4 – 9
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind — just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you — so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who is faithful, will strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of the Lord Jesus Christ. By this God you were called into the company of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Thanks be to God for the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus.
I acclaim the greatness of the Lord,
I delight in God my savior,
who regarded my humble state.
Truly from this day on all ages
will call me blest.
For God, wonderful in power,
has used that strength for me.
Holy the name of the Lord!
Whose mercy embraces the faithful,
one generation to the next.
The mighty arm of God
scatters the proud in their conceit,
Pulls tyrants from their thrones,
and raises up the humble.
The Lord fills the starving
and lets the rich go hungry.
God rescues lowly Israel,
recalling the promise of mercy,
the promise made to our ancestors,
to Abraham’s heirs forever.

Welcoming God, you are our refuge and home in every trouble.
We pray for the world’s refugees, driven from their homes by war, famine and persecution:
~ Open the hearts of nations to provide welcome and shelter to those in need.
We pray for those who govern nations:
~ Bless them with wisdom and compassion, that they may choose the welfare of their people over the false gains of ownership and power.
We pray for all who are victims of civil and domestic violence:
~ Give us the courage to defeat the culture of violence through advocacy, education and assistance.
We pray for farmers, gardeners, conservationists, and for all who work the land:
~ Teach us, as individuals and as a community, how to care for the earth.
We pray for all those who are specially dedicated to the service of the church:
~ Endow them with courage, joy and compassion toward all to whom they minister.
Gracious God, you are the source of every spiritual gift. From you we receive all that we need for our daily journey; like you we seek to share all that we have with those who are in need. Help us to be faithful to the mission to which you have called us. We make this Prayer in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.