16 December 2022

Praying in Advent with Lichfield Cathedral
and USPG: Friday 16 December 2022

‘Spend some time today asking yourself what news you need to hear from God?’ (Lichfield Cathedral Devotional Calendar) … newspapers at a kiosk in Rethymnon, Crete (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

Patrick Comerford

The countdown to Christmas has gathered pace, the traditional counting of the ‘O Antiphons’ begins tomorrow, and there are just nine days to go to Christmas Day. Before today gets busy, I am taking some time this morning for reading, prayer and reflection.

During Advent, I am reflecting in these ways:

1, The reading suggested in the Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar produced by Lichfield Cathedral this year;

2, praying with the Lichfield Cathedral Devotional Calendar;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary, ‘Pray with the World Church.’

‘How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace’ (Isaiah 52: 7) …the mountains near Siranda, close to the border between southern Albania and northern Greece (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Isaiah 52: 7-10 (NRSVA):

7 How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
who announces salvation,
who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’
8 Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices,
together they sing for joy;
for in plain sight they see
the return of the Lord to Zion.
9 Break forth together into singing,
you ruins of Jerusalem;
for the Lord has comforted his people,
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The Lord has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations;
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.

‘For the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem’ (Isaiah 52: 9) … a restaurant sign in Dublin (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

The Lichfield Cathedral Devotional Calendar:

Advent is a season for alertness and preparation – spend some time today asking yourself what news you need to hear from God? How will I recognise the messenger? What horizon do I scan to see the bearers of good news? And what does the ‘salvation of our God’ look like and feel like?


O Lord Jesus Christ,
who at your first coming sent your messenger
to prepare your way before you:
grant that the ministers and stewards of your mysteries
may likewise so prepare and make ready your way
by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just,
that at your second coming to judge the world
we may be found an acceptable people in your sight;
for you are alive and reign with the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion:

We give you thanks, O Lord, for these heavenly gifts;
kindle in us the fire of your Spirit
that when your Christ comes again
we may shine as lights before his face;
who is alive and reigns now and for ever.

Additional Collect:

God for whom we watch and wait,
you sent John the Baptist to prepare the way of your Son:
give us courage to speak the truth,
to hunger for justice,
and to suffer for the cause of right,
with Jesus Christ our Lord.

USPG Prayer Diary:

The theme in the USPG Prayer Diary this week is ‘Walking Together.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday by the Right Revd Maria Grace Tazu Sasamori, who became Bishop of Hokkaido in Japan in April 2022. She shared her reflections on this year’s Lambeth Conference with Archbishop Justin Welby.

The USPG Prayer Diary invites us to pray today in these words:

Let us pray for our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion. May we put aside our prejudices and open our hearts to understand our differences.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

‘Break forth together into singing, you ruins of Jerusalem’ (Isaiah 52: 9) … Jerusalem in a painting in a restaurant in Dublin (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

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