Praying with the Readings, Year C is now available in print through Lulu

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Praying with the Readings, Year C is now available in print through Lulu.

This resource strives to create Prayers of the Church (Prayers of Intercession, Prayers of the People) using classic forms and presenting the needs of God’s people in fresh ways. Prayers for each Sunday are composed of several petitions that reflect on the thoughts in the readings for the day.

Purchase of the print copy entitles you to download electronic files for free. Details on downloading and directions for finding passwords are in the printed copy.

Prayers are based on the Christian Worship: Hymnal (2021) lectionary, but are compatible with other lectionaries based on the Revised Common Lectionary. A conversion table is included for users of older lectionaries.

Download a preview of prayers for Advent through Christmas.

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The Mozarabic Anaphora

Glory and honor be to the Father, and to the + Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give praise and thanksgiving to God, and to our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is in heaven.
It is good and right so to do.

It is truly good and right, that we should always give thanks to you, O Holy Lord, everlasting Father, almighty God, … Therefore, with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify your glorious name, evermore praising you and saying:

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts,
heaven and earth are full of the majesty of your glory.
Hosanna to the Son of David;
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hagios, Hagios, Hagios, Kyrie ho Theos. (Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God.)

Truly holy and blessed are you,
O God the Father almighty,
for you sent your only Son
to take on himself our nature
and die for the sins of the whole world.
By his cross and passion,
he bore the burden of our sins
and made an end of atoning sacrifices
by that one offering of infinite worth.

Christ the Lord and eternal Redeemer,
the day before he suffered,
on the same night in which he was betrayed,
took bread into his holy and venerable hands,
and giving thanks, blessed, and broke it,
and gave it to his disciples, saying,
“Take, eat, this is my + body, which is given for you.
Do this, as often as you eat it, for a commemoration of me.”
Amen.

Likewise, after supper, he took the cup, saying,
“This is the Cup of the New Testament in my + blood
which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it, for a commemoration of me.”
Amen.

Doing this, most holy Father,
with these your holy gifts, which we now offer you, [1]
we show forth the death of your only-begotten Son,
by which we were redeemed,
as he commanded us to do
until he himself should come again,
remembering his glorious passion, resurrection, and ascension,
giving you most hearty thanks
for the innumerable benefits procured to us by the same.

And we most humbly pray that,
by the same Spirit by whom your blessed Son became incarnate for us,
the holy and undivided Trinity
would bless and sanctify these gifts and creatures of bread and wine,
that we, receiving them according to our Savior Jesus Christ’s holy institution,
may be made partakers of his most blessed body and blood.
Amen.

Graciously hear us, O holy Lord our God,
and through these your good gifts sanctified by you,
grant us, your unworthy servants, your blessing to life eternal.
Amen.


Source: From “Through Your Mercy, O Our God…” Prayers from the Mozarabic Church.

[1] In the early church, it was the custom for members of the church to present bread and wine as gifts to be used for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, which is the “offering” (offerimus) mentioned here. Note that the offering of the bread and wine are the only things spoken of as an offering on the part of worshipers or priest. Also, earlier it is noted that Christ “made an end of atoning sacrifices by that one offering of infinite worth.”

Give Peace in Our Days

Plainchant of ‘Da Pacem’

Lord, give peace in our days,
for there is no other
who fights for us,
but you, our God.

Source: The text is a 6th or 7th-century hymn based on biblical verses 2 Kings 20:192 Chronicles 20:12,15 and Psalms 72:6–7.

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Da_pacem,_Domine

Original in Latin:

Da pacem, Domine, in diebus nostris
quia non est alius
qui pugnet pro nobis
nisi tu Deus noster.

https://lyricstranslate.com

The entire hymn appears thus:

Lord, give peace in our days,
for there is no other
who fights for us,
but you, our God.

May there be peace within your fortifications,
prosperity within your citadels. (Psalm 122:7)

Lord, give peace in our days, …

For the sake of my brothers and my friends,
now I will say, “Peace be within you.” (Psalm 122:8)

Lord, give peace in our days, …

For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek good for you. (Psalm 122:9)

Lord, give peace in our days, …

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
May those who love you prosper. (Psalm 122:6)

Lord, give peace in our days, …

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Lord, give peace in our days, …

Deliver Us from Our Present Sorrows

Lord God,
grant that we, your servants,
may rejoice in constant health
of mind and body,
that we may be delivered
from our present sorrows,
and rejoice with you forever;
through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Source: Prayer in Terce, https://app.neumz.com/listen/tertia-concede-nos-famulos-tuos-quaesumus-domine-deus-in-horis-minoribus-77008/10-07-2021.

Translated and modified for www.acollectionofprayers.com.

The Latin original has this phrase after “…of mind and body,”: “…and through the intercession of the glorious, blessed perpetual Virgin Mary, be delivered from our present sorrows…”

Original in Latin:

Concéde nos fámulos tuos, quǽsumus Dómine Deus, perpétua mentis et córporis sanitáte gaudére: et gloriósa beátæ Maríæ semper Vírginis intercessióne, a præsénti liberári tristítia, et ætérna pérfrui lætítia. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum. Amen.

The Anaphora of Addai and Mari

The Liturgy of Addai and Mari has been in continuous use in the Church of the East since at least the 7th century. Parts of it may be from as early as the fifth century. It is part of the Persian Rite, with roots in Nestorian Christianity. The version presented below includes the Words of Institution (Verba), but originally it did not, and so for many years it was questioned as a valid rite for use in the church. Parts of the eucharistic prayer are the basis of the Prayer of Thanksgiving in The Service: Setting Two in Christian Worship: Hymnal (2021).

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and forever.
Amen.

Lift up your hearts.
To you, O God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, O glorious King!

We bring this offering to God, the Lord of all.[1]
It is good and right.

Peace be with us.

Silent prayer by the priest.

O Lord,
give us sincerity before you
that with your boldness
we may accomplish this living and holy service
with our consciences cleansed from all evil and bitterness,
and plant within us love and peace
and concord toward one another
and toward all people.

The priest then rises and prays aloud, stretching out his hands:

Worthy of praise from every mouth,
worthy of confession from every tongue,
worthy of worship and exaltation from every creature
is your adorable and glorious name,
O glorious Trinity,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
You created the world and all who live in it by your mercy,
and you saved humanity by your compassion,
and you give great grace to mortals.

Your majesty, O Lord,
thousands upon thousands on high bow down and worship,
and ten thousand times ten thousand holy angels and hosts of heaven,
servants of fire and spirit,
praise your name
with holy cherubim and spiritual seraphim
offering worship to your majesty,
shouting and praising without ceasing,
crying out to one another and saying:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of his praises,

and the nature of his being,
and the excellency of his glorious splendor.
Hosanna in the highest.
Hosanna to the Son of David.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Silent prayer by the priest.

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of his praises,
and the nature of his being,
and the excellency of his glorious splendor,
even as I fill heaven and earth, says the Lord.
Holy are you, God the Father of truth,
from whom all fatherhood in heaven and earth is named.
Holy are you, eternal Son,
by whom all things were made.
Holy are you, Holy Spirit,
by whom all things are sanctified.
I am doomed! I am ruined,
because I am a man with unclean lips,
and I dwell among a people with unclean lips,
and because my eyes have seen the King,
the Lord of hosts!
How awe-inspiring is this place,
for this day I have seen the Lord
face to face.
This is nothing other than the house of God,
and this is the gate to heaven.
And now, O Lord, let your grace be on us
and purge our uncleanness
and sanctify our lips
and blend our weak voices
with the hallowing of the seraphim
and the halleluiahs of the angels.
Praise be to your mercies
for you have made creatures of dust
partakers with spiritual beings!

The priest rises and says aloud:

Bless, O my Lord. Bless, O my Lord. Bless, O my Lord. My brothers, pray for me.

The priest continues:

With these heavenly hosts we give you thanks, O my Lord,
even though we your servants are weak and frail and miserable,
for you have given us great grace by taking on our human flesh
that you might enliven it by your divinity,
and have exalted our low estate,
restored our fall,
raised our mortality,
forgiven our trespasses,
justified our sinfulness,
and enlightened our knowledge.
Lord our God,
you have condemned our enemies
and have granted victory to the weakness of our frail nature
in the overflowing mercies of your grace.

[Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “Take, eat. This is my + body, which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way, after the meal, he also took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new testament in my + blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”]

For all your help and grace toward us, let us give you praise and honor and confession and worship, now and forever.
Amen.

Pray in your minds. Peace be with us.

__________

Source: Liturgies Eastern and Western edited by F. E. Brightman, Oxford, Clearendon Press, 1896. The Persian Rite, and The Liturgy of the Nestorians, p. 283-286.

This version, prepared for www.acollectionofprayers.com, was freely modified for contemporary language, and to highlight the poetic nature of the content.

See also: https://acollectionofprayers.com/2016/07/01/worthy-is-your-glorious-name/

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liturgy_of_Addai_and_Mari

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nestorianism

Note:

  1. In the early church, it was the custom for members of the church to present bread and wine as gifts to be used for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, which is the “offering” or “setting before” (offerimus) mentioned here. Later (especially in the Council of Trent), the Lord’s Supper was wrongly viewed as a re-sacrificing of Christ’s body and blood. (See Hebrews 7:27 and 9:26).

The Way of Recovery

The Way of Recovery is a set of twelve devotions based on the Twelve Steps, a recovery program that has its origins in Alcoholics Anonymous.

The wording of the Twelve Steps in the devotions is paraphrased to be:

  • in the present or future tense,
  • addressed from the reader’s point of view as first person singular,
  • made less specific to alcohol to also cover other addictions and problems,
  • and to have a specific Christian emphasis.

The twelve steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous are as follows, without alteration:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The verse before each prayer, “Keep my footsteps on your paths…,” is adapted from Psalm 17:5.

All scriptures are quoted from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version.

The Way of Recovery can be downloaded as a pdf which is printable as a booklet.

First Step: I admit I am powerless over the things that control me—and that my life has become unmanageable.

For at the appointed time, while we were still helpless, Christ died for the ungodly. It is rare indeed that someone will die for a righteous person. Perhaps someone might actually go so far as to die for a person who has been good to him. But God shows his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8

Your car runs out of gas. There you sit, out in the middle of nowhere on the side of the road, hundreds of miles to the nearest town. You could wait for a passing car, but you haven’t seen another car in hours. You could start walking, but how long will that take? And what shape will you be in when you finally reach civilization? Being helpless is a true horror.

What about when life runs out of gas? There are so many missed opportunities—the time for action has already passed. There are more things that should be done—but lack of time, energy and our helplessness keep us from doing them all.

God’s Word tells us, “while we were still helpless, Christ died for the ungodly.”  He died as “the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world” (John 1:28). A biblical word for that is “atonement.” It means a sacrifice of payment—for our sins, failures, mistakes, willful disobedience, what we should have done but didn’t, what we didn’t but should have done—all taken by Jesus, “while we were still helpless.” “Powerless.”  This is more than just rescue. It’s redemption. This is more than just assistance. It is power—the power of God’s own forgiveness—the power of new life given us by Jesus.

And it’s yours, all because of your Savior, Jesus. It’s yours all because of God’s grace (undeserved love). There is nothing for you to earn, nothing for you to repay—because Jesus has given himself for you. Even when your life was out of gas. Even though you feel helpless—he is your Help.

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
You are my only help.
With your Father,
you made all things in the beginning.
In your life on earth
you stilled storms,
fed the thousands,
healed the sick,
and drove out devils.
Help me, dear Jesus.
You alone can still my storms,
fill my hungry soul,
heal my sick heart
and deliver me from every evil power.
Restore my soul,
and make me whole in you.
Amen.

Second Step: I believe that the power of Jesus Christ is greater than myself and can restore me to sanity.

Jesus and his disciples went to the other side of the sea, into the region of the Gerasenes.As soon as Jesus stepped out of the boat, a man with an unclean spirit came out of the tombs to meet him. The man lived in the tombs. Nobody could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he pulled the chains apart and broke the shackles in pieces. Nobody had the strength to subdue him. Night and day, in the tombs and in the mountains, he was constantly crying out and cutting himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down in front of him. He cried out with a loud voice, “What do I have to do with you, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you to swear by God not to torment me.” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “because we are many.” 10 He begged Jesus repeatedly that he would not send them out of the region. 11 There was a large herd of pigs there feeding on the hillside. 12 The demons begged him, “Send us to the pigs so we may enter them.” 13 Jesus gave them permission. The unclean spirits went out and entered the pigs. Then the herd of about two thousand pigs rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned. 14 Those who were feeding the pigs ran and reported this in the city and the countryside. People came to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons sitting there clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. Mark 5:1-15

“Possess” is a strange word. In one sense it isn’t scary at all. It means to have or to own something. You possess a book, a house, a car. In another sense, “possess” is terrifying. It is terrifying when it means something has or owns you. The man on the shores of the Sea of Galilee was possessed by a legion of demons. They had him. They owned him. They caused him much terror and harm.

Until he met Jesus. With a short command, the possession was over. The man who was naked, filthy and harmful to himself and others now sat calmly, clothed and in his right mind, all because of Jesus’ compassion and power.

Jesus is the solution to our helplessness. His power is greater than ours. His power greater than those things that have possessed us. The old Sunday School hymn says, “We are weak, but he is strong.” He can restore you to sanity. Sanity means soundness. It means health of mind and spirit. He can do this in his own supernatural way. He can do this through friends and professionals he has given to help you. With Jesus and those he puts around you, you are not working alone. He is your deliverer. He is your strength.

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
You shed your holy, precious blood
so that I could be your own.
Dear Jesus, precious Savior,
possess me.
Hold me
in the palm of your pierced hand.
Support me
with your mighty power.
Restore me
with the wholeness
and the holiness
that only you can give.
Drive out
everything that clouds my mind,
everything that twists my heart,
everything that draws me
to look inward.
Lift my eyes upward to you,
and outward to the family, friends and neighbors
you have given me to love.
Amen.

Third Step: I decide to turn my will and my life over to the care of God.

Trust in the Lord, and do good.Dwell in the land and feed on faithfulness.Take pleasure in the Lord,and he will grant your heart’s desires.Commit your way to the Lord.Trust in him, and he will act.He will make your righteousness shine like light,your justice like noon.Be silent before the Lord. Wait patiently for him.Do not fret when an evil man succeeds in his ways,when he carries out his wicked schemes. Let go of anger and abandon rage.Do not fret—it leads only to evil.For evildoers will be cut off,but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the earth.10 After a little while the wicked will be no more.When you search for them at their place, they are not there.11 But the meek will inherit the earth.They will enjoy plenty of peace.  Psalm 37:3-11

What struggles King David had! When Samuel came to anoint one of the sons of Jesse as king, Jesse didn’t think his  youngest son David was a good candidate, so David was left out in the field with the sheep. After David killed the giant Goliath, King Saul was insanely jealous and pursued David like an enemy. When David became king, his generals didn’t want to listen to him. Then there was the struggle of David’s own making. Adultery. Murder. Deception. Loss. And then there were troubles within David’s own family. One son, Absalom, campaigned to be king while David was still living, shouting propaganda against David in the city gate where everyone could hear. When one of David’s men killed Absalom, David was overcome with grief. When David was on his deathbed, he made all the arrangements to hand everything over to Solomon, and another son, Adonijah, made his campaign like Absalom did.

So how did David respond to all of those challenges? He sang. He wrote. He taught about faith. Faith isn’t mere positive thinking. It is trust. It is turning your will and your life over to the care of God. “Commit your way to the Lord.
Trust in him,… Be silent before the Lord. Wait patiently for him.”
David knew his struggles and his limits. He also knew that God has no limits—and that God had forgiven him, and God was working for him, with him, and through him. In another psalm he wrote, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” That is faith—not relying on your strength, but relying on God’s strength. That is faith—not trying to be tough on your own, but letting go, putting everything in God’s hands, and enjoying his peace.

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
As I hear your words of promise,
fill me with knowledge
of what you have already done,
and what you promise to do.
Help me see
that your Word is not just true,
but to accept that it is your truth and promise for me.
And finally,
send your Holy Spirit
to soften my hard heart
and create it anew,
built solid and firm
on nothing but trust in you.
Amen.

Fourth Step: I make a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself.

LORD, you have investigated me,
and you know.
2 You know when I sit down and when I get up.
You understand my thoughts from far off.
3 You keep track of when I travel and when I stay,
and you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before there is a word on my tongue,
you, LORD, already know it completely.
5 You put a fence behind me and in front of me,
and you have placed your hand on me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me.
It is too high—I cannot grasp it.
Psalm 139:1-6

In Psalm 139, King David reflects on God’s omniscience. Omniscience is a word that means that God is all-knowing. That’s part of his nature, one of his characteristics. Nothing at all is hidden from him. As David begins his psalm, he doesn’t let us know if he likes God’s omniscience or not. God knows when you sit or stand. Great! God knows when you travel and when you stay. Great!  God knows what you will say before you say it. Uh-oh! He knows every thought. He knows what you alone know. He sees what no one else sees. An old prayer of confession describes it this way: “Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden…”

There are times to forget our sins and relish God’s full and free forgiveness. There are also times not to. When we are denying our sin—denying we have broken God’s commands, denying that we have hurt others, denying how much we have hurt our own body and life, or denying that breaking God’s commands and hurting others is a serious matter—then it’s time to search our own hearts.

Making a “searching and fearless moral inventory” is the first step in confessing our sins to our Savior Jesus. He knows them already. He wants us to lay our sins at the foot of his cross, where he already bore their burden. This is why we don’t need to be afraid.

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
To you all hearts are open,
all desires are known,
and from you no secrets are hidden.
Cleanse the thoughts of my heart
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that I may love you completely,
and rightly magnify your holy name;
Jesus Christ, my Lord.[1]
Amen.

Fifth Step: I admit to God, to myself, and to another human being the exact nature of my wrongs.

For I admit my rebellious acts.
My sin is always in front of me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned,
and I have done this evil in your eyes.
So you are justified when you sentence me.
You are blameless when you judge. Psalm 51:3-4

In the beginning, after the fall, Adam and Eve played a game of “not me.” God asked, “Adam, did you eat the forbidden fruit?” Adam answered, “The woman you put here with me, she gave me the fruit.” God asked Eve, “What have you done?” Eve said, “The serpent deceived me.” “Not me.” “I’m not responsible.” What a game to play with the all-knowing God! If he wanted to, God could have shown them an instant replay and given play by play commentary: “See, here you were thinking about what the devil was saying about being like God. …and here you were thinking about how silly a command about fruit was. …and here you were taking bites of the apples. …and here you were dropping the cores on the ground. …and here is the moment you heard me walking toward you and you ran in horror.”

The essence of confessing our sins is saying “I did this.” Adam and Eve never got there. King David did, but only after a rebuke from God’s prophet, “You are the man. You are the one who did this” (2 Samuel 12:7). David wrote in his psalm, “I admit my rebellious acts. My sin is always in front of me.”
“I was the one who was in Jerusalem when I should have been in the field with my army.” “I was the one who was looking at naked women bathing on their roofs in the cool of the evening.” “I was the one who sent for Bathsheba.” “I was the one who took another man’s wife.” “I was the one who tried to deceive him.” “I was the one who gave the order to have him killed.”

King David goes beyond “I did this.” He prays to God. “I did these things against you. You only, because you are the one who gave the commands, ‘Do not commit adultery’ and ‘Do not kill.’”

No more games of “not me.” “It was someone else’s fault.” No other ways of avoiding blame. “I might have done something like that, but you misunderstood.” No. Confession means responsibility because you stand before your God who knows and sees all.

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
Against you only have I sinned.
You gave me life.
You gave me time.
You gave me people
to serve and to love.
I have failed.
I wasted time.
I used people
only in love and service
to myself.
I did these things.
It was me and no one else.
And I lay it all before you.
Lord Jesus, have mercy.
Forgive.
Amen.

Sixth Step: I am entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Remove my sin with hyssop, and I will be clean.Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.Let me hear joy and gladness.Let the bones you have crushed celebrate.Hide your face from my sins.Erase all my guilty deeds.10 Create in me a pure heart, O God.Renew an unwavering spirit within me. Psalm 51:7-10

I have few memories of when I was very young. I think most people can’t remember much before the age of three or four. One thing I can remember was bath night and the feeling of soap in the eyes and the harshness of a scrub.

In Psalm 51 David uses every word for wash or cleanse he can think of: “Remove.” “Wash.” “Erase.” “Create… pure.” And he uses every word for sin he can think of. “Sin.” “Guilty deeds.” “Rebellion.”

Cleansing can be harsh. Sometimes soap gets in the eyes. Sometimes the dirt or the stain clings to the skin and you have to scrub. It has to be done.

God cleanses us first with the blood of Jesus, which purifies us from all sin (1 John 1:7). He has declared us holy and righteous. Then he transforms us with the power of forgiveness through his blood. He works that righteousness in us by the power of his Holy Spirit. When we see that we are not our own and that he has given us a higher purpose and goal, God begins to work the desire to live as his holy people, renewed and restored by him.

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
Work your cleansing in me
by your holy precious blood,
poured out for me.
Work a change in me.
Take every mistake,
every failure,
every rebellion
against your holy will.
Give me power.
Change what I desire,
and renew me.
Amen.

Seventh Step: I humbly ask God to remove my shortcomings.

Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:4-6 ESV[2]

There are many words for sin. Sin is the word that covers them all. Its basic meaning is missing the mark or falling short of the goal God has set for you. Trespass and transgression both mean to step over a boundary. Iniquity has the flavor of a debt we owe God. We are un-equal to what he demands. Iniquity can also have the meaning of rebellion against God.

Asking God to remove our shortcomings is asking for forgiveness. Isaiah uses many different words for sin: transgressions, iniquity, straying, and words for the consequences of sin: griefs, sorrows, chastisement, wounds. These are the pains we cause by our sins and the pains we endure because of our sins. As much as we want to, we can’t undo these things. The pains remain. There is nothing we can do about them.

There is something we can ask God to do about them. Forgive. And this is something already accomplished by Jesus Christ. He is the one Isaiah wrote about as the one who “has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows… he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities.”  In the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, he invites us to say, “Forgive us…” Because he invites us to pray for forgiveness, it means he is ready to forgive.

The burdens do not need to be on you any longer. Put them all in the hands of your Savior, who has already been punished to bring you peace. Look to him for power and wisdom to face griefs, sorrows, afflictions, transgressions and iniquities. He has already carried them, and he carries them with you.

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
Forgive me my trespasses,
sins, iniquities, transgressions,
rebellion and disobedience.
Take my burden,
because only an almighty Savior
can bear my sin,
along with the sin of the world.
Have mercy on me,
and grant me your peace.
Amen.

Eighth Step: I will make a list of all persons I had harmed, and will be willing to make amends to them all.

Out of the depths I have called to you, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive to the sound of my cry for mercy.
If you, Lord, kept a record of guilt,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is pardon,
so you are feared.
I wait for the Lord. My soul waits,
and in his word I have put my hope.
Psalm 130:1-5

Our forgiving God does not keep a record of your guilt. Instead, because of Jesus Christ, he has washed it all away, put it as far away from him as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), washed it whiter than snow (Isaiah 1:18), and dropped it into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19).

Why should you make a list of what you have done and who you have harmed?  You know that your wrongs have hurt and held you back. They have also hurt and held back others. As you strive to be better and live better, you can’t forget about the impact your self-centered living has had on others. You can no longer say, “Oh, you’re not really hurt by me. You’re just too picky—too quick to find fault.” No. Living for self alone hurts others. Your sins, mistakes, shortcomings and selfish living have impacted others. This is really part of the “fearless moral inventory.” We already learned that an honest confession of sin begins, “I did this…” As you reflect on these dark times in your life, remember how you have affected others:

  • “I wasn’t there for _____”
  • “I missed _____’s event.”
  • “I let _____ down.”
  • “I embarrassed _____ by being drunk, drugged or absent.”

Because of your Savior, Jesus Christ, God keeps no record of sin. Friends and family may still be hurting. Being willing to make amends is the first step in rebuilding bridges to those we love—those we have hurt.

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
You have cleansed me
by your own pain,
suffered for me on the cross.
My sin has not been your pain alone,
but has caused pain to those around me.
Move my heart to mercy,
love, service.
Yes, empower me with your love.
Begin that desire for change within me.
Lead me in the way of your peace.
Amen.

Ninth Step: I will make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man named Zacchaeus was there. He was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but since he was short, he could not see because of the crowd. 4 He ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Jesus, because he was about to pass by that way. 5 When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6 He came down quickly and welcomed Jesus joyfully. 7 When the people saw it, they were all grumbling because he went to be a guest of a sinful man. 8 Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I am going to give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone out of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Today, salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:1-10

Many debts cannot be repaid. Many deeds cannot be undone. When trust is broken, often it is hard, even impossible to rebuild. Why try to make amends?

The goal is not to repay, undo or rebuild. The goal is to live a changed life—no longer trapped in the pattern of living for self alone, but to live for Christ our Savior, and to reflect his love—to live forgiven.

Zacchaeus was a dishonest tax collector—a cheat. He had gained wealth by taking advantage of his neighbors. We know his lifestyle became more burden than benefit because he was looking for this Jesus, this teacher who welcomed sinners. When Jesus came near him, Jesus invited himself to Zacchaeus’ house.  Zacchaeus must have thought, “At last! Someone who doesn’t hate me!”

Zacchaeus’ actions reflected the change within him. “Look, Lord, I am going to give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone out of anything, I will pay back four times as much.”  A change had already taken place in his heart. It had to come out in his life.  His desire to make amends went with his desire for new life in Jesus. This was all because of the change Jesus had worked in him.

“Today, salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham.” Jesus said. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” The change within and the change in attitudes and actions toward those around you is the work of Christ within you. Forgiveness has power!

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
Bring your salvation,
that is, your deliverance
and your rescue
to my house
and my heart.
You alone have paid for my sins.
Work within me the joy of your salvation,
a desire to love and serve others,
and to correct whatever wrongs I can.
There are things
I can never fix,
repay or rebuild.
These I leave in your hands
with continued hope
for healing for me and those I have hurt.
Amen.

Tenth Step: I will continue to take personal inventory, and when I am wrong, I will promptly admit it.

In those days, John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven is near!” Yes, this is he of whom this was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: A voice of one crying out in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord. Make his paths straight.” John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem, all of Judea, and all the region around the Jordan were going out to him. They were baptized by him in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for his baptism, he said to them, “You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Therefore produce fruit in keeping with repentance! Do not think of saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones. 10 Already the ax is ready to strike the root of the trees. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I baptize you with water for repentance. But the one who comes after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing shovel is in his hand, and he will thoroughly clean out his threshing floor. He will gather his wheat into the barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:1-3

John the Baptist’s best-known sermon is “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven is near!” The word repent has some rich symbolism behind it. The Hebrew word for repent is shuv, which also means to turn. The Greek word for repent is metanoia, which means a change of mind.

Both these concepts show us that repentance is not a one-time event. We are to turn from the wrong path to the path of righteousness and keep walking on it. We are to change our mind, our thinking, and continue in it.

John the Baptist said, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance… every tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Just as a fruit tree is expected to grow and produce fruit year after year, Christians also are to grow and produce fruit day by day—staying on the right path, growing in understanding of God’s will and in love for neighbor. It will be constant work, constant effort—but not just your work or effort. It will be God and his Word at work in you, transforming you and empowering you.

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
Keep my feet on your righteous path,
walking with you,
step by step,
day by day,
hour by hour.
Lift me when I fall.
Strengthen me when I am weak.
Guide me when I am wayward.
Empower me to live
in the way of recovery
repentance and love.
For my good,
for the love of my neighbor,
and for your glory.
Amen.

Eleventh Step: Through prayer and meditation I will seek to improve my conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of his will for me and the power to carry that out.

How blessed is the man    who does not walk in the advice of the wicked,    who does not stand on the path with sinners, and who does not sit in a meeting with mockers.But his delight is in the teaching of the Lord, and on his teaching he meditates day and night.He is like a tree planted beside streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, and its leaves do not wither. Everything he does prospers. Not so the wicked! No, they are like the chaff which the wind blows away.Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. Yes, the Lord approves  of the way of the righteous,but the way of the wicked will perish. Psalm 1

Right now, you are holding this book or reading an electronic version on your phone or tablet. You are doing the very thing the Eleventh Step guides you to do. Christian meditation is about filling heart and mind with the Word of God—much like putting gas in the tank of your car. The fuel for your faith is the message of God’s love and forgiveness that are yours in Jesus. Without it, your life of faith will sputter and stop.

There are other things you can put in the tank of a vehicle. I once rented a U-Haul and saw in its rental history, “Diesel pumped out of the tank.” The wrong fuel was put in. Psalm 1 talks about not walking in the advice of the wicked, not standing on the path with sinners, and not sitting in a meeting with mockers. Those are the wrong kind of fuel—things that can gunk up and damage the engine of your faith.

Psalm 1 encourages us to delight in the teaching of the Lord and to meditate on his teaching day and night. This is not just for instruction or information. We meditate on the Word of God because it is the Word of power that brings us forgiveness, love, and the power of new life.

We also pray. Prayer is not power by itself. It is tapping into the power of God. Sometimes prayer comes from our deepest weakness—but relying on the strength of God, strength God alone can give. Think of the many times the Bible talks about prayer as “casting your cares on him” (1 Peter 5:7)or “committing your way to the Lord” (Psalm 37:5).Prayer is a sweet release—your problems are out of your hands and now in God’s.

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
Turn my heart and mind
from all the things of this world
that want to fill them,
to the sweet message of your Word,
to guide, empower and restore me.
Just as you bore my sins on the cross,
hold out your pierced hands
so I can put all my burdens in them.
With burdens lifted,
with heart and mind,
fueled by the power of your love,
help me carry out your will in my life.
Amen.

Twelfth Step: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, I will try to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all my affairs.

Brothers, if a person is caught in some trespass, you who are spiritual should restore such a person in a spirit of humility, carefully watching yourself so that you are not also tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1-2

Your Lord, Friend and Savior Jesus Christ is always there for you. He is the one who has called you out of darkness into light. He is the one who has borne your griefs and carried your sorrows. He has given you the most precious gifts of all: forgiveness, faith, hope, love, healing, guidance, strength, and renewed life. Whatever stage of recovery you are in, just realizing the problem, struggling but feeling like you’re losing, struggling and moving forward bit by bit, or months or years free of dependence, but still “sober and vigilant,” “self-controlled and alert,” (1 Peter 5:8), Jesus and his gifts are yours.

Who can you help? Do you know someone else who is struggling, just like you were? Maybe your friend doesn’t see or realize how much he/she is hurting and who he/she is hurting. St. Paul calls us to “restore such a person in a spirit of humility.” You know what those dark times are like. You actually have an advantage in reaching out. You can say, “Friend, I’ve been there.” “I know what it’s like.” You can also help to bear your friend’s burdens. “I’m always here for you. Let me be your hotline.”

Jesus works directly through the reading or hearing of his Word. He also works through Christian friends. You, too, can be an “instrument of his peace,” bringing his pardon, healing, and strength to those who need it.

Prayer
Keep my footsteps on your paths.
Keep my feet from slipping.

Lord Jesus, have mercy.
Make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.[3] Amen.


Notes:

[1] This prayer is based on the Prayer for Purity from the Gregorian Sacramentary, also used in the Sarum tradition and the Book of Common Prayer.

[2] Isaiah 53:4-6 is quoted from the English Standard Version because it has a more traditional rendering of the text and uses a variety of terms for sin.

[3] This prayer is often attributed to St. Francis, however it was first published in 1912. It contains many of the principles of the twelve steps to recovery.

In memory of DPS.

Merry and Blessed Christmas from A Collection of Prayers

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Feliz Natal, Joyeux Noël, Fröhliche Weihnachten, 圣诞节快乐!(Shèngdàn Jié kuàilè!) to all our readers from around the world from A Collection of Prayers.

May the glory of the Christchild give you strength, healing, pardon and peace!

+ In Christ +

Paul C. Stratman
Editor/manager of A Collection of Prayers

The Way of the Nativity

The Way of the Nativity is a set of fourteen devotions in the same spirit and style as the the ancient Christian devotion of the Way of the Cross. While there are several versions of the Way of the Nativity, there is no official or dominant one. The stations and Scripture selections presented here were prepared for A Collection of Prayers.

The versicle and response, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We have seen his glory, …” is from the Christmas Day Gospel, John 1:14.

The prayers that follow each scriptural devotion are newly written for A Collection of Prayers. The first line of each prayer, “Jesus, brightness of your Father…” is taken from a hymn by Rhabanus Maurus, Tibi, Christe, splendor Patris.

Except where noted otherwise, Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version, www.wartburgproject.org.

All art is by James Tissot except for the ninth station. The illustration for the ninth station is by Guido Reni.

The readings, prayers and art are available as a downloadable pdf, printable as a booklet.

First Station: The Annunciation

The + Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin pledged in marriage to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.” But she was greatly troubled by the statement and was wondering what kind of greeting this could be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, because you have found favor with God. Listen, you will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end.” Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Listen, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age even though she was called barren, and this is her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible for God.” Then Mary said, “See, I am the Lord’s servant. May it happen to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:26–38

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
calm our troubled hearts
with the word of your promise,
for nothing is impossible for you;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Second Station: The Visitation

The + Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

In those days Mary got up and hurried to the hill country, to a town of Judah. She entered the home of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. Just as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She called out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me? In fact, just now, as soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy! Blessed is she who believed, because the promises spoken to her from the Lord will be fulfilled!” Luke 1:39–45

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
you have shown us your Father’s favor
by coming here to be our Savior.
Grant that we also may believe your promises,
and receive your blessings;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Third Station: The Song of Mary

The + Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” Luke 1:46–55 ESV

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
you have done mighty things
and looked with favor on us,
your lowly servants.
Help your servants
that we may remember your mercy
and magnify your holy name;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Fourth Station: The Dream of Joseph

The +  Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. His mother, Mary, was pledged in marriage to Joseph. Before they came together, she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her husband, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her. So he decided to divorce her privately. But as he was considering these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this happened to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son. And they will name him Immanuel,” which means, “God with us.” When Joseph woke up from his sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him. He took Mary home as his wife, but he was not intimate with her until she gave birth to her firstborn son. And he named him Jesus.” Matthew 1:18–25

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
you became like us in every way,
yet you were without sin.
Save us from our sins
through your pure and holy sacrifice;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Fifth Station: The Journey to Bethlehem

The + Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governing Syria. And everyone went to register, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the town of Nazareth, into Judea, to the town of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was from the house and family line of David. He went to be registered with Mary, his wife, who was pledged to him in marriage and was expecting a child. Luke 2:1–5

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
guide every event in our lives
for your highest purpose
and for our good,
until we arrive in your house,
and stand before your throne;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Sixth Station: The Birth of Jesus

The + Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

And so it was that while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son, wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:6–7

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
make room for yourself in our hearts,
that you may dwell there
until we dwell in heaven with you;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Seventh Station: The Announcement of the Angels

The + Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

There were in the same country shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified! But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. For behold, I bring you good news of great joy, which will be for all people: Today in the town of David, a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude from the heavenly army, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward mankind.” Luke 2:8–14

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
show us your glory
that we may not be afraid,
but be amazed at your humility
and the hidden glory of your love;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Eighth Station: The Shepherds Come to the Manger

The + Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Now let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they told others the message they had been told about this child. And all who heard it were amazed by what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Luke 2:15–20

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
amaze us
with the good news of great joy,
and open our mouths
to tell all we have heard and seen;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Ninth Station: The Name of Jesus

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

After eight days passed, when the child was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. Luke 2:21

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
you were given the name
that is above every name,
that name that means
Yahweh is Salvation.[1]
Reveal that name to us
that we may know you,
accept your truth,
and trust you;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Tenth Station: The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

TheWord became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. (As it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male will be called holy to the Lord.”) And they came to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, waiting for the comfort of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what was customary according to the law, Simeon took him into his arms and praised God. He said, Lord, you now dismiss your servant in peace, according to your word, because my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared before the face of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel. Luke 2:22–32

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
you fulfilled all of the law,
so that you could be
our holy and righteous Savior.
Reveal your light to us,
be our glory,
and make us your new chosen Israel;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Eleventh Station: The Visit of the Wise Men

TheWord became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, when Herod was king, Wise Men from the east came to Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this, he was alarmed, and all Jerusalem with him. He gathered together all the people’s chief priests and experts in the law. He asked them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, because this was written through the prophet: You, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are certainly not least among the rulers of Judah: because out of you will come a ruler, who will shepherd my people, Israel.” Then Herod secretly summoned the Wise Men and found out from them exactly when the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you find him, report to me, so that I may also go and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. Then the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them, until it stood still over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with overwhelming joy. After they went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Since they had been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country by another route. Matthew 2:1–12

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
shine like the brightest star
in the darkness of this world
and in the darkness of our hearts.
Shepherd us, your people,
and receive our prayer, praise and worship;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Twelfth Station: The Flight to Egypt

TheWord became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

After the Wise Men were gone, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to Joseph in a dream. He said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, because Herod will search for the child in order to kill him.” Joseph got up, took the child and his mother during the night, and left for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod. This happened to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Matthew 2:13–15

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
as Israel lived in Egypt
until you led them out by Moses,
you lived in Egypt
until you could return in safety.
Bless and keep
all who live under the shadow of trouble,
and when the time is right,
lead them on;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Thirteenth Station: The Death of the Innocents

TheWord became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Wise Men, he was furious. He issued orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and in all the surrounding countryside, from two years old and under. This was in keeping with the exact time he had learned from the Wise Men. Then what was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and she refused to be comforted, because they are no more. Matthew 2:16–18

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
the darkness of this world
fills our hearts with pain
and our eyes with tears.
Wipe away all tears
and hold your promise before our eyes
that you have overcome the world;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Fourteenth Station: The Return to Nazareth

TheWord became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

After Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. The angel said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to kill the child are dead.” Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus, Herod’s son, had succeeded his father as ruler in Judea, he was afraid to go there. Since he had been warned in a dream, he went to the region of Galilee. When he arrived there, he settled in a city called Nazareth. So what was spoken through the prophets was fulfilled: “He will be called a Nazarene.” Matthew 2:19–23

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
your heavenly and earthly fathers kept you safe,
even as the devil and the world
raged against you,
until the appointed time.
Keep us safe from all danger
until you finally deliver us from all evil
when you take us to yourself;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.


[1] Jesus is the Greek form (Iesous) of the Hebrew name Joshua (Yeshua or Yehoshua) which is a combination of the divine name in the Old Testament (YHWH, sometimes rendered in English as Yahweh or Jehovah) and the Hebrew word for save.

Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version

Prayers are written for A Collection of Prayers, © 2021 Paul C. Stratman

Art is by James Tissot from his Gospel Harmony Series.

Art for the ninth station is by Guido Reni (1575-1642).

All images are in the public domain.

See also:

For the Aged

O God our Father,
be merciful
to those who suffer more weakness,
distress or isolation
as each year passes.
Provide homes for them
that treat them with dignity
and give them peace.
Give them understanding helpers,
and the willingness to accept help.
As physical strength diminishes,
strengthen their faith
and assure them of your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Source: Adapted from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.

Original from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.

Look with mercy, O God our Father, on all whose increasing years bring them weakness, distress, or isolation. Provide for them homes of dignity and peace; give them understanding helpers, and the willingness to accept help; and, as their strength diminishes, increase their faith and their assurance of your love. This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (Book of Common Prayer, U. S., 1979, p.  830, #49)

Draw Our Children to You

Blessed Lord Jesus,
you have taught us
that we must become
like little children
to enter your kingdom,
and you loved children
and blessed them.
Draw our children to you
by your Holy Spirit
and keep them in your service,
so that they may follow you,
declare your praise,
and be one with us
in the confession of your holy name.

Source: Common Service Book, #47

Original in traditional English:

Blessed Lord Jesus, Who hast taught us that we must be as the little children in order to come to Thy Kingdom, and Who didst love and bless them most tenderly: Grant that our children may be drawn unto Thee by Thy good Spirit and ever kept in Thy service, so that walking in Thy way, they may ever show forth Thy praise and be one with us in the confession of Thy holy Name; Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen. (Common Service Book, # 47)