Sunday, 18 December 2016
Praying in Advent with USPG,
(22): 18 December 2016
We have come to the last week of Advent, today is the Fourth Sunday of Advent, and there is just a week to go to Christmas Day. Throughout this time of preparation for Christ’s coming at Christmas, I am praying each morning in Advent and using for my reflections the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency, USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel).
Lighting the Advent Candles
This year, as we light our Advent candles, USPG is inviting us to pray for mothers and babies in Tanzania and around the world.
The four Advent candles remind us that the coming of Christ was anticipated over many generations.
Each Sunday of Advent we remember faithful participants in that journey of faith: The Patriarchs and Matriarchs, The Prophets, Saint John the Baptist, and finally the Virgin Mary. The fifth candle, lit on Christmas Day, reminds of the birth of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the world.
As we journey through this season of Advent, we are invited to pray for those who through their life’s journey are in need of a Saviour today.
Fourth Sunday of Advent (Sunday 18 December 2016):
Lord Jesus, your mother Mary
carried you with tender determination
on the dangerous road to Bethlehem.
May the same flame of love
fill your global church to bring courage
and hope to all who carry and nurture children today.
The USPG ‘Prayer Diary’ this week
This week, the prayers in the USPG Prayer Diary focus on the church’s support for children worldwide. The ‘Prayer Diary’ today includes this report from the Delhi Brotherhood Society:
‘Depending on where they live and their family’s economic capacity, children might have very different hopes for Christmas Day. While some hope for the latest toys, others have more basic wishes: safety, food, education.
‘The Delhi Brotherhood Society invited children to draw pictures that described their lives and their hopes for the future.
‘Neha, aged 17, wants protection for children, especially for girls. She wrote on her drawing: ‘Every man needs a mother, wife, sister – then why not a daughter?’
‘Suman, 12, wants her neighbours to enjoy an environmentally-safe Diwa (Festival of Lights) by lighting lamps instead of fire crackers ‘because crackers add pollution to the air’.
‘Shruti, 13, drew a mother weeping because she has a baby daughter and is thinking about the lack of opportunities available to girls in a culture that favours boys. Shruti writes: ‘Save girls.’
‘Mantasha, 15, who wants to be a professor, urges communities to observe environmental cleanliness to help stop the spread of diseases.
‘Humera, 16, is the daughter of a single mother. She wants to see more education for girls so that women might have a brighter future.’
The USPG Prayer Diary:
Sunday 18 December 2016, the Fourth Sunday of Advent:
Loving God, thank you for the gift of children,
for the joy, wonder and innocence they share.
Protect children whose childhoods are taken away.
Help us work together for their protection and care.
Readings (Revised Common Lectionary, the Church of Ireland, Holy Communion):
Isaiah 7: 10-16; Psalm 80: 1-8, 18-20; Romans 1: 1-7; Matthew 1: 18-25.
The Collect of the Day:
God our redeemer,
who prepared the Blessed Virgin Mary
to be the mother of your Son:
Grant that, as she looked for his coming as our saviour,
so we may be ready to greet him
when he comes again as our judge;
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
The Advent Collect:
Give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light
now in the time of this mortal life
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Post Communion Prayer:
you have given us a pledge of eternal redemption.
Grant that we may always eagerly celebrate
the saving mystery of the incarnation of your Son.
We ask this through him whose coming is certain,
whose day draws near,
your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.