O God, our Protector, our Loving Creator,
We come to you this morning from many locations, with many different backgrounds, with many different expectations of this season, but with a common humanity, a common mission in this ministry, and our common bond as Your Children.
In the Northern Hemisphere, we are now experiencing the darkest days of the year, with the nights continuing to become longer and longer. Yet, we survive the darkness. Tonight, many of your children will light a candle for the eight and final night of Hanukkah. Last Sunday, many Christians around the world lit the third candle in this Advent Season as we still wait to light the fourth candle and the final candle that symbolizes the birth of the Christ Child.
We are truly in a time of waiting.
Waiting for that “thrill of hope” – that the weary world might rejoice.
Waiting for the Christ Child – the babe that will bring your Light into the world. We are awaiting the one who brings good news to the oppressed, who binds up the broken-hearted, who proclaims liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners, comforting all who mourn.
Lord there are so many mourning now. We ask that you bring them comfort.
We also wait for the changes a New Year will bring – a fresh start to the new as we leave the old behind us.
We wait for the ready availability of a vaccine. We wait for this virus to be conquered.
We wait for a time when we can gather again as we have before. We long to be able to gather to remember those we’ve lost, and we long to gather to celebrate our joys with one another. We pray for all of those struggling because of COVID, and ask that You give them strength.
We wait for life to return to ‘normal,’ while yet praying for something that may better than our old normal. More Just. More equitable. Less about worldly gain and something more like your Kingdom on Earth – that your will be done through our actions. Isaiah proclaims:
For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.
Help us, Lord, to be that shoot. Give us the strength and will to spring up. Bless our ministry, Lord, that we may be that light that provides hope to others. Light our candle, Lord, with the dazzling fire of your Glory so that we may spread the light of your Word. We thank you, God, for our calling in this work. We thank you for the labor of our U.S. affiliates and National Organizations, for their staffs as well as the many volunteers. We thank you for the generosity of so many, giving us the fuel to sow love and reap a world where everyone has a safe place to live.
Give us strength, Lord God, and forgive us of our weariness. Forgive us when we have lost hope. Forgive us when we are blinded by our needs, failing to see the greater needs of others. Forgive us when we fail to see your light. Give us the wisdom to discern your will, and the courage to do your work as we walk humbly with You. Help us to always walk in your light, and to spread your light – your Good News and your peace. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
An Advent prayer for the Habitat for Humanity Network, December 17, 2020