Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Advent resources and
praying at the Advent
Wreath and candles

Lighting the Advent Wreath ... the first purple candle recalls the Patriarchs and Matriarchs (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

During discussions on ‘Preparing for Advent’ last year [20 November 2017], there were requests for prayer resources suitable for using at the lighting of the candles on the Advent Wreath on each Sunday in Advent.

A new resource on this theme is produced each year by the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel). USPG, which was founded in 1701, partners churches and communities worldwide in God’s mission to enliven faith, strengthen relationships, unlock potential and champion justice.

The USPG Prayer Card for Advent offers prayers to use with the Advent wreath and candles and highlights health work with mothers and children in Ghana

The USPG Prayer Card for Advent 2018, ‘Pray With the World Church at Advent,’ suggests that as we light our Advent candles in anticipation of celebrating the coming of the Christ child, USPG is inviting churches and parishes to pray for mothers and children who are served by the mission of the world church as it responds to the needs of the people and communities it sreves.

We remember the plight of mothers and babies around the world, many of whom struggle with ill health and little access to health services.

For example, in Ghana, Gloria benefitted from the Diocese of Cape Coast’s Integrated Health Programme, which is supported by USPG. Children in Gloria’s village were often falling sick. Then the diocese ran a workshop to explain the importance of washing fruit and vegetable bought at market and washing children’s hands before meal times. Gloria’s children became healthier – and the incidence of waterborne diseases in her village fell dramatically.

These prayers at the Advent Wreath on the Sundays in Advent could also help continue our themes from Mission Sunday last Sunday.

First Sunday of Advent, 2 December 2018 (Purple Candle):

The Patriarchs and Matriarchs

O God of Abraham and Sarah,
we thank you for your faithfulness
throughout all time.
As today we begin our Advent journey,
may the light of your love
surround us and all for whom we pray,
as we watch and wait for your kingdom.

Second Sunday of Advent, 9 December 2019 (Purple Candle):

The Prophets

Loving God, your prophets spoke out
in the darkness of suffering and loss,
of a light coming into the world.
May we proclaim the light of Christ
as we stand alongside the marginalised
of your world,
that they may find new strength
and hope in you.

Third Sunday of Advent, 16 December 2018 (Pink Candle):

Saint John the Baptist

Lord Jesus, your cousin John
prepared the way for your coming.
Bless all who speak out against
injustice and wrong:
so may the light of your truth
burn brightly, and the world become
a fairer and just home for all.

Fourth Sunday of Advent, 23 December 2018 (Purple Candle):

The Virgin Mary

Lord Jesus, your mother Mary
carried you on with tender determination
on the dangerous road to Bethlehem.
May the same flame of love
that drove her on, now bring
courage and hope
to all who carry and nurture children today.

Christmas Day (White Candle):

Jesus Christ

Holy God, your only son was born
with no home and laid in a manger;
fill us with compassion
for all in need today.
Bless all who work for dignity,
healing and peace
and give us generous hearts
to respond to your most generous gift,
of Jesus Christ our Lord.

An Advent gift to USPG could bring health and hope to mothers and babies around the world.

For further copies of this prayer card and to download Advent resources visit:

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