Prayers of People: Advent Common Prayers

 One of the hopes of the no longer "new" liturgical variables in the Holy Eucharist in the US BCP was that the model of the six "Prayers of the People" forms might give rise to other written or extemporaneous prayers. Led by, and perhaps written by, a deacon or other liturgically savvy and prayerfully grounded person, such prayers might follow the form of one or the other of the six patterns of prayer.  

Mostly that has not happened. Instead lay readers read one of the forms pretty much as printed in the BCP. Seldom are there any real contributions to the prayers that stretch the forms given.  Some few come by way of Enriching our Worship or from other BCP's  and devotional material, but few from the local pen or a member of a congregation.

So I was really glad to receive a copy of a Prayers of the People that will be used at St. Andrews and St. Matthews in Wilmington, Delaware this Sunday. The prayers are the work of Christina Brennan Lee, a lay woman theologian living in Wilmington.

Readers might find these prayers useful as a daily litany during the first week of Advent.


~ O God of Hope, as the approaching winter brings us into ever shorter and darkening days, help us to prepare ourselves for the radiant light that will announce the birth of our Savior.

May all who love You, prosper in Your Peace.

~ O God of Hope, the nations, states, and cities of Your Earth continue to battle one another and their own peoples, even in our home streets and neighborhoods. Give us Your strength to work together to melt guns into cooking pots and drones into tractors; let us want and learn to turn warring into peacemaking.  

May all who love You, prosper in Your Peace.

~ O God of Hope, we pray especially for the peace of Jerusalem, the ancestral and spiritual home of all of us who are the children of Abraham so that peace in that City will spread among her children everywhere.

May all who love You, prosper in Your Peace.

~ O God of Hope, as the weather turns bitter, cajole us to seek and serve Christ in all and especially to provide necessities for those among us without shelter, food, or loved ones in this season of Waiting, Joy, and Excess.

May all who love You, prosper in Your Peace.

~ O God of Hope, we send you our prayers for those who are ill and for those who help them so that fear and pain may be relieved and replaced with healing in spirit, mind, and body. (add your own petitions silently or aloud)

May all who love You, prosper in Your Peace.

~ O God of Hope, teach us to give the gift of listening and comfort without platitudes to those who are in mourning; and to remember in prayer those who have gone ahead to prepare the way for us. (add your own petitions silently or aloud)

May all who love You, prosper in Your Peace.

~ O God of Hope, give us the fortitude to turn away from all that glitters falsely and turn toward the coming light of the Son of Man.  Let us charge our spirits with Your love and shop for the light of Christ ‘til we drop into the arms of Jesus and everlasting life.

Prepare us, Lord, for the coming of Your Reign

~ O God of Hope, wake us from the sleep of complacence and keep us alert and active in Your service, awaiting the unknown hour of the coming of Christ Jesus.

Prepare us, Lord, for the coming of Your Reign

The Celebrant adds:  O God of the Present and of the Future, keep us ever watchful for the signs of Your works and wonders as we prepare ourselves and each other for the renewal of the face of Your Earth as the New Jerusalem, through the coming of Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.


  1. Bob McCloskey1/12/13 8:36 PM

    Hi Mark,
    Your observation regarding local lay involvement in freshly crafted POP's is correct in my observations. But I would add the caveat that I know of parishes where parish liturgy/worship committees do this on a weekly and seasonal basis. I know more directly of many parish clergy who craft the weekly POP's themselves based on their pastoral relationship with their congregations. I think that there is room for both.
    However, your initial observation on the BCP's provision of fixed forms as a provisional substitute for the absence of more creative and timely local POP's is spot on.
    The proliferation of published 3 year cycle POP's at least based on the lectionary themes and current events, is a happy interim step towards localized POP's and in my liturgical observations are widely used.
    Thanks for reminding once again of the original intention and goal of the BCP directives which admittedly offer a tedious set of POPs as an all too easy out for many-most clergy.
    Pax, Bob McCloskey

  2. Mark, for another version of the Prayers of the People, see http://www.oplater.net/prayer.htm.


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