Evening Prayer Friday, 27 November 2020
Good evening, everyone.
Welcome to Friday evening’s prayers.
The nights really are beginning to draw in now, aren’t they?
With the colder temperatures we have felt on some days this week,
it seems to me that winter is fast approaching.
But that means that Advent draws near too.
I remember being told at school that Advent is a Penitential season –
a time to look carefully at ourselves,
confess what we regret and resolve to do better in the future.
This was not usually what I heard in services
leading up to Christmas in my own Methodist church, though,
where we seemed to focus more on anticipating
the joy of the Christmas season and the coming of Christ.
So I felt much more comfortable with what I heard
at church and Sunday School than I did with school assemblies.
However, it now seems to me that it does us no harm
to look carefully at ourselves at this season of the year.
And this year, many of us have more time to spend
considering how we might do things better,
or perhaps, recognise the benefits of ‘doing’ less and ‘being’ more.
So, let us each take a little while to reflect on the past year –
the highlights, the disappointments and those actions which we regret.
[Take some time to do this.]
So, let us pray:
Loving God, thank you for reminding us
of good things which have happened, or which we have contributed to,
as well as those things we wish we had not done.
We pray for any people who came to mind as we reflected on the year.
We ask forgiveness for any actions we repent.
We thank you for all the blessings we have received.
As we enter Advent this weekend,
we pray that you will guide our preparations for Christmas –
not the commercial Christmas,
not even the celebrations we may be able to have with family or friends,
but the Christmas which reminds us that Jesus came into the world
and remains with us, to guide our thinking and our actions day by day.
Please click the link below for an Irish blessing to close our prayers this evening:
I do not wish you a pathway free of troubles
Nor a life of ease on a bed of roses.
I do not wish that you should never feel pain
Or endure bitter pangs of sorrow and regret.
I do not wish you these,
For they are not the things that matter.
My wish for you is that you find courage in times of trial,
When the skies darken, and the outlook is bleak,
When others load their burdens on your shoulders
And even blame you for their woes.
When all seems darkness
May you always find the ray of light
And may all the gifts God gave you grow and flourish.
May you always have friends who are worthy of the name
Who will help in times of need and share your times of joy,
And may you always offer friendship in return
As you enrich the lives of all you meet.
But this is not all…
One more wish I have for you.
In every moment of every day
May you feel God’s love and be inspired.
That is my wish for you
Now, always and for ever.
May we all have a peaceful night.