Praying with Hope
During the first week of Advent, we light the first candle representing HOPE. “They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength; they will mount up on wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31, KJV) Pray that those who have experienced sorrow, sickness, pain, or loss will find their HOPE in knowing that God loves them and gives them strength.
“Now may the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13, NAS) Pray that friends and neighbors in your community who do not know the love of Christ will hear the message of HOPE this season.
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the HOPE that is in you.” (I Peter 3:15, NIV) Pray that you will be sensitive to an opportunity to share the HOPE that you have found in Christ.
During this Advent season, we give thanks for the HOPE that we have in Christ. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (I Peter 1:3, NIV)
Praying for Peace
During the second week of Advent, we light the second candle representing PEACE. Give thanks to God, our source of PEACE in the midst of turmoil. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, PRINCE OF PEACE.” (Isaiah 9:6, NIV).
Pray for PEACE between those who have differences and disagreements whether of a political, cultural, social or religious nature. “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to PEACE and to mutual edification.” (Romans 14:19, NIV)
During this Advent season, we give thanks for the PEACE that we have in Christ. “PEACE I leave with you; my PEACE I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27, NIV)
Pray for those who are worried, anxious, troubled or fearful about situations over which they have no control. “Now may the Lord of PEACE himself give you PEACE at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16, NIV)
Praying in Love
During the third week of Advent, we light the third candle representing LOVE. “Give thanks to the God of heaven. His LOVE endures forever.” (Psalm 136:26, NIV)
Pray that as followers of Christ, our words and actions will demonstrate our LOVE for one another and that those who observe us will be pointed to Jesus. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you LOVE one another." (John 13:35, NIV)
During the Advent season, we celebrate the most precious gift of all. "For God so LOVED the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16, NIV)
Put LOVE in action as UBA churches feed the hungry, provide warm clothes for those who are cold, visit those in prison and care for the sick. “This is how we know what LOVE is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the LOVE of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not LOVE with words or speech but with actions and in truth." (1 John 3:16-18, NIV)
Praying with Joy
During this fourth and final week of Advent, we light the candle representing JOY. We give thanks for the JOY in Christ that can not be diminished by temporary circumstance. “I have told you this so that my JOY may be in you and that your JOY may be complete.” (John 15:11, NIV)
Give thanks that our JOY is not grounded in what we see, feel, or touch but in Christ who can not fail us. “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with JOY that is inexpressible and filled with glory.” (1 Peter 1:8, ESV)
Pray that those who do not know the love of Christ will experience the JOY of his presence during this season and know the wonder of life in Christ. “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with JOY in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11, NIV)
Pray that those who are helpless, powerless or defenseless will find God to be their protector and defender. “But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for JOY. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.” (Psalm 5:11, NIV)
Jesus as our Hope, Peace, Love, & Joy
On December 25, Christmas Day, we light the Christ candle in the center of our Advent wreath and celebrate with all who know the HOPE, PEACE, LOVE and JOY that come from living life within the grace of Christ. “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.’” (Luke 2:10-11, NIV)
The O Antiphons are an ancient tradition in the church used in praise and worship leading up to Christmas Day. However, they are a beautiful any time of the year and a perfect conclusion to the December prayers as we continue to focus on the wonder of Christmas.
O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!
O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!
O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people:
come to save us without delay!
O Key of David,
opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:
come and free the prisoners of darkness!
O Radiant Dawn,
splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the
shadow of death.
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save us, whom you formed from the dust!
O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!