Happy things – Christmas prayers

I mentioned these on Facebook and had some requests for them so am reproducing them here in full. I wrote these because I’m on prayer duty for midnight service on Christmas Eve – and I firmly believe that prayers are as much for the earthly listeners as the heavenly ones.

Father, through Advent and in the Christmas season we have heard or will hear the familiar story, sing the familiar carols. We pray that this year we’ll hear the story afresh, learn new things, and have our eyes opened once more to the greatest event in history, when He who made the universe became a helpless baby. Help us in this glorious season of Christmas and in the year ahead, to be part of the retelling of that story, in our words and in our actions, and to be living witnesses to your love.
Lord in your mercy…

Lord, you decided your son would be born into an ordinary family, to a young mother, a working father, and that the news of his birth should first be told to farm workers and to members of a foreign sect. Forgive us when we look down on others because of their background or circumstances. Forgive us when we only seek to find you in cathedrals and palaces and forget to look for you in the carpenter’s workshop or the stable. Help us, this week and in the year ahead, to see you in everyone we meet and to remember that what we do for the least of your children we do for Jesus Himself.
Lord in your mercy…

Father, Mary and Joseph had to escape persecution and ensure Jesus’s safety by travelling to a foreign land. We remember refugees all over the world, that they will find safe passage and avoid exploitation. Forgive us when we turn our backs on the needs of refugees and others who have fled places of danger. Help us, in this season of good will to all mankind and in the year ahead, to remember the holy family when we read the news or form our opinions. Open our hearts to the needs of others, especially when they’re those we find hard to love or are prejudiced against.
Lord in your mercy…

Lord, the angels brought a message of peace on earth and goodwill to all. We hold before you the areas of the world where peace seems very far away. Bring comfort to those who suffer because of conflict, prosper the work of peacemakers and conciliators, and bless those who shine a light in the darkness through acts of kindness, courage and selflessness. Bring us your peace, Lord, and help us where we experience conflicts within families or among friends and colleagues. Now, and in the year ahead, make us channels of your peace, bringing faith, hope, light and joy to all around us.
Lord in your mercy…

Father, the wise men brought presents for the Christ child. Enable us to use the many good things you’ve given us to serve you and serve humanity. Help us, at Epiphany and in the year ahead, to employ our money, time, abilities, common sense and kindness for the greater good and not just for our own purposes. And when we think we have nothing of worth to offer, remind us that a smile, an encouraging word or an hour spent with someone lonely is worth more than gold or frankincense or myrrh.
Lord in your mercy…

And Lord, we remember those in need this evening, whether present here, at home or far away. The angels brought tidings of comfort and joy – we ask that your comfort, joy, love and peace will flow down upon all those who suffer in body, mind or spirit.
And we pray for healing and wholeness with words written at the front in 1915.
O Jesus, pitiful, draw near, That even we may see The Little Child who knew not fear; Thus would we picture Thee Unmarred by agony. O’er death and pain triumphant yet Bid Thou Thy harpers play, That we may hear them, and forget
Sorrow and all dismay, And welcome Thee to stay With us on Christmas Day.
Merciful father…

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