Living, loving Father,
You forgive the iniquity of Your people, and You forgive our sin. Because we need to hear Your voice, we turn to You with all our hearts today. You speak peace to us, even when it involves calling us to repentance. So we pray, Lord, that You would clear our hearts. Heal our rough places, so that You may dwell more fully in us.
Our lives are not long, but we know that our days are in Your hands. You care for us like a loving shepherd, feeding us, gathering us in Your arms, and carrying us home.
Your patience with us is unfathomable, waiting and giving us chance after chance to repent, change our thinking and our direction, and come to You.
But do not delay the return of Your Son, our Savior, Jesus. Use us to prepare the way for His return as You used John to prepare Israel for His coming. Until that day, help us to live lives of peace, spotless and blameless, as we eagerly await the day when we will see Him, and be at home forever in His righteousness in the new heavens and the new earth.
Until that day comes, we will continue to pray in the words of Him whose sandals we are not worthy to untie, saying:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are Yours now and for ever. Amen
The readings for the week, on which this prayer is based, are:
- Isaiah 40:1-11: Five of the six Old Testament readings from the beginning of Advent through Christmas Day in Year B come from Isaiah.
- Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13: Part of a Psalm that describes a trust in God's deliverance, despite the appearance of current circumstances. It foreshadows the coming of the Messiah and of his messenger ("Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps").
- 2 Peter 3:8-15a: Peter points his readers' attention toward the day when judgment will come, the earth and heavens will be destroyed with fire, and new heavens and earth will be a place "where righteousness is at home." "While you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace."
- Mark 1:1-8: The gospel readings for Year B focus on Mark, and this is the second of two gospel readings in Advent come from this book. This is Mark's introduction to the entire gospel ("The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God..."), and he moves immediately into his account of John the Baptist being the one whom prophecies said would prepare the way of the Lord. John recognized that the Messiah would be more powerful than he was, who would baptize with the Holy Spirit, rather than only with water.