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Prepare for Christmas

Father, this Christmas
as I prepare for worship,
prepare me to receive Your Gift.
Prepare me to receive
Your life,
Your love,
Your wisdom,
Your complete well-being,
Your wholeness,
Your harmony,
Your joy,
Your purity,
Your constant enabling.
Prepare me to receive
Yourself in
Your Holy Son, Jesus Christ.

Help me to welcome Him into
all my thoughts and
all my desires,
into the priorities that rule my every decision,
into all my daily habits, and
each of my personal relationships.

A gift is only valuable when it is received.
This Christmas, help me fully receive
Your priceless Gift,
the Living Christ. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Jesus, the Gift of Christmas
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Prepare for Advent: Love

Father, in Jesus Christ You have not only showed us Your love.
You have poured it out on us in Him.

He comes to us fully expressing Your boundless love
in every aspect of our lives.
He comes forgiving,
healing,
teaching,
touching,
talking,
weeping,
smiling,
suffering,
dying, and
rising again.

See what great love the Father lavished on us! (1 John 3:1, NIV)

Father, as we gather together in Your presence on this fourth Sunday of Advent,
help us to realize Your love,
receive Your love,
respond to Your love, and
actively express it to everyone we touch day by day.

As You freely poured out Your love through Your Son,
pour it out through us
on all the world,
through His Spirit within us. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Love Has Come!
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Prepare for Advent: Joy

Joy to the world!
The Lord has come!

Father, on this third Sunday of Advent, we celebrate
good news of great joy (Luke 2:10).
Your Son has come to us, and
we rejoice!
He has poured out on us the oil of gladness. (Isaiah 61:3)
He has shared with us the fullness of His joy,
the joy that He finds in You alone. (John 17:13).

He is mercy and complete forgiveness.
He is sufficiency in every situation.
He is full and unbroken union with You.
He is the same
yesterday,
today, and
forever,
so He brings a joy that
trouble,
sorrow, and
death itself cannot destroy.

But this great joy is only a down-payment on
the joy that is to come.
When we see Jesus for all that He is,
our joy in Him will be full and forever.

O come, Lord Jesus!
We are waiting! 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: The Lord Has Come!
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Prepare for Advent: Peace

Father, You are peace.
You are wholeness,
harmony, and
complete well-being.

I long to breathe Your peace
as Christ breathes it,
so perfectly and naturally.
You and He are
one Spirit,
one heart,
one mind,
one love.
As I trust You, I share in Your peace.
I share in Christ, and
He Himself is peace. (Ephesians 2:14)
The fruit of His presence is peace. (Galatians 5:22)
He gives peace in every circumstance. (1 Thessalonians 3:16)

On this second Sunday of Advent,
You give us a glimpse of a new world in which
Your perfect peace flows like a river
through every relationship and
through all of life,
through the very fabric of creation itself.

That peace comes only in Jesus Christ,
who alone can make us one with You.
His peace began at His first coming –
and how I am enjoying those beginnings!
But His universal, all-encompassing peace will not be complete till
He comes again.

O come, Lord Jesus!
We wait for You and
long for You! 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Sweet Peace
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Prepare for Advent

Father, Advent reminds me that
we live in a period of eager waiting.
This time between
Your first coming and
Your second coming
is one long Advent season.

Christ has come.
He has brought us forgiveness for sin, and
He has promised to return and do away with sin forever.

He has empowered us for life and service.
He has poured out on us His own holy life,
the life of the Father,
His Holy Spirit.
And He has promised that when He returns,
we will be united with Father, Son, and Spirit
completely and
forever.

He has risen from the dead, and
we are already enjoying His new resurrection life.
But He has promised to come back and
finish His resurrection transformation.
We will be fully risen in Him,
complete in Him,
new in Him,
alive in Him
in ways we have only tasted.

During this Advent season, Father,
heighten within me
the waiting,
the hoping,
the anticipating.
Fix my heart, mind, and daily life on our
oneness with You
in Jesus Christ. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Live in the Promise
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Prepare for Christ the King Sunday

O Father, the day is coming when
every knee will bow and
every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Every heart will sing of Him.
Every life will worship Him.
All that is will glorify Him.
Everything that is not of Him
will be gone forever.
All reality will reflect
Him and
Him alone.

Father, I long for that day!
Today,
begin it in me.
Begin it here, among Your people.
The culmination of the Christian year and
the culmination of all history
is the crowning of Jesus Christ as
King of All Kings and
Lord of All Lords.
For me,
for us,
in our hearts,
in our worship,
may today be the day.

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.” (Revelation 19:6, NASB) 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Enthronement Hymn
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Today Is a Rehearsal

Father, today
as we gather,
as we worship,
as we feast at Your table,
we are preparing for another day.

Today only a few of us will come together.
Soon we will gather as
“a great multitude which no one could count,
from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues.” (Revelation 7:9, NASB*)

Today we gather in a small, local building.
Soon we will gather
“before the throne and before the Lamb.”
Even a vast, magnificent temple would be useless there, for
“the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” (Revelation 21:22, NASB)

Today we few lift our
humble songs and
stumbling words of praise.
Soon heaven and earth and all creation will
reverberate with worship that
transcends all words, and
we will add our hearts and voices to theirs.

Today our sacred meal appears
small and
symbolic.
Soon we will feast
our body, soul, mind, and spirit,
forever,
together,
each of us and
all of us.
We will drink deeply of the wine of life.
We will feast on the True Manna from heaven,
on our Creator’s complete provision for our entire being.
We will feast on
all Christ is and
all He has done for us.
We will celebrate
our eternal, perfect union
with You, Father,
in Christ, Your Holy Son.

Father, as we gather now
in our little time and place,
feed our hearts and
nourish our souls
with an undying hunger for that day. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Come, Our Lord!
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Longing for God

Father, as I live here in Your presence,
every connection with You,
every word from You,
every sense of You
feeds a deep longing to be fully one with You.

Every time Your Spirit touches
my heart or
mind,
I am overwhelmed with Your reality.
I yearn to know You
without the dimness,
without the distance,
without the distraction.
I yearn to know You
for all You are,
without interruption,
forever.

I know that day will come, Father, and
when it does,
let that deep, unbroken knowing
call from me
all the worship,
all the praise,
all the living, loving response
that is possible from
a small, unworthy creature like myself.

O Living God, I long
to see You,
to know You,
to praise You. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: O Living God
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Prepare for All Saints Day

Father, thank You for uniting us with Jesus, Your holy Son.
In Him, we are one with You
through the Spirit we share.
And as we are all one with Jesus,
we are one with each other as well.
We are one in Him with all God’s children of every
language,
culture, and
personality, of
every time and place.
By being one with Him in the Spirit,
we all become one in Him with each other.
Our oneness
with You and
with every other believer
is in Jesus Christ.

All this is Your doing, loving Father, and
we praise You!
We are in the early stages of this wonderful unity, and
we are just beginning to understand what it will mean.
We are warmed as Jesus speaks of us so glowingly as
His friends,
His family,
His body, and
His bride.
It seems that no one image can fully express His desire
for all of us to be together in Him
in the fullest possible sense.

Father of all,
help us to grow in this marvelous and mysterious unity.
We know it is Your loving desire for
each of us and
all of us,
so it is our desire as well.
More and more one in Christ,
and in Him,
more and more one with each other –
that is our prayer, Father.
One with You. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Christ and His Bride
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We Come and Go as Your People

Father, we come because You call us.
You call us together
as Your children,
as Your people.
You gather us to Yourself.

When our brief gathering is ended,
we go because You send us.
You send us
as Your children,
as Your people.
You send us out into our individual
homes,
neighborhoods,
communities,
schools,
work places,
social groups, and
circles of friends.
You scatter Your people into every corner where
people are,
people whom You long to know You.

Father, as we come and
as we go,
help us come and go
in Your name,
in Your love, and
in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Come, Children, Come
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