12 Advent Prayers - Reflect on Jesus!
- Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff
- 2016 9 Nov
The word 'Advent' comes from Latin and means "coming;" its purpose is to look forward to the coming of Christ to Earth; it was a season that focused on waiting. So, "Advent means something new is coming. The dawn of a new and better era. This is really what the Christmas season is all about, isn’t it? It’s the celebration of the ADVENT of a new era. God broke into time and space and entered our world" (Daniel Darling, “What Advent Is and Why We Should Celebrate”).
Through prayer, we can enter into God's world and ask Him to prepare our hearts the way He prepared all of history to receive the gift of His Son. Ask the Father to use this time during Advent to cut away the distractions and make your life a place of warmth and openness. We've compiled these Advent prayers from across our archives to help you make sure there's "room at the inn" of your heart this year.
First, Some Simple Things to Pray For During Advent:
- Pray for attentiveness to what truly matters, without being distracted by trivial things.
- Pray for opportunities to learn something new regularly.
- Pray for discernment of how God would like you to set your priorities and the ability to focus on them consistently to fulfill His purposes in your life.
- Pray for the grace to be able to rest, become aware of God's presence, and enjoy it.
- Pray for strong relationships with other people in the bond of loving community.
- Pray for peace in all situations, no matter what the circumstances.
- Pray for an enlivened imagination that helps you contribute to the world in creative ways.
- Pray for freedom from all that burdens you - past mistakes, fears, destructive habits, hurts other people have inflicted, and more.
- Pray for joy and a sense of humor.
- Pray for confidence in God's love for you and trust in His power to work things out for the best in your life.
- Pray for a clear mind and the ability to clearly communicate what you value to others.
- Pray for purity so you can grow as a person and encounter God more fully.
- Pray for openness to the Holy Spirit's guidance.
- Pray for a genuine awareness of God's grace in your life and the humility to extend grace to others.
Pray for a passion to pursue justice.
~ Edited from Whitney Hopler's “Pray for Simplicity this Advent”
1. An Advent Prayer for Courage
Dear Heavenly Father,
Help me to hear your voice.
Touch me once again.
Give me the courage to be your beloved.
Give me courage to choose joy.
I need you now this Christmas.
Be born in me again. Today.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
~Bonnie Gray, from “Why it Takes Courage to Choose Joy”
2. A Prayer to Curb Comparison During Advent
Lord, help us stop comparing our Advent season to any other family because we know you have ordained us for this family, at this table, and you have “good works prepared in advance for us to do” that are specific for us. We find meaning and joy in whatever life looks like because we trust Jesus for our lives. Even more, when we’re seated with Christ, we worship you and take our eyes off ourselves. Because we’re experiencing intimacy with Jesus, loneliness and disconnection fade and allow us to focus on blessing others. We can stop obsessing over ourselves and consider how we might serve and love best. When we’re seated with Christ during Advent, we realize that you have sovereignly placed us right where we are for a reason this holiday season, and we can trust that you know what you’re doing. Finally, when we’re seated with Christ, we can reiterate to our heart that at all times, your peace, power, hope, and love are available to us in endless supply. As we take our seat with Jesus, we pray our holiday tables shimmer with your glory and that any joy and hope we’ve lost returns. May we overflow with spiritual gifts as we sit with you, Jesus.
~Edited from Heather Holleman's “The Greatest Seat at the Holiday Table”
3. A One-Word Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father,
This is my one word prayer: PEACE.
I can’t see ahead. I don’t know what to do.
Here are all my fears and my questions… [share yours]
I want to experience your perfect peace.
Let it be with me. Just as you say.
Hold me, God, so I can hear you whisper to me, "You don't have to know the way. I do."
In Jesus' name, Amen
~ Bonnie Gray, from “Praying for Perfect Peace When We Can't See How”
4. A Prayer for Sadness During Advent
Lord, how wrong I have been to act as if Christ had never been born. As if He didn’t perform miracles. As if He didn’t take my every tear, my daily worries, my sin and insecurities on that cross. As if the tomb wasn’t empty and the throne wasn’t full of His presence and grace. It’s that grace that gives meaning and power to your promises. I know that your Word prevails even when our world turns black. I trust that your healing comes in different forms, stages and ways. I believe that you promised to provide all we need. Seeking you doesn’t require physical vision, complete health or a life free of troubles. But instead, a heart full of devotion and obedience, which I offer you. No matter how many Advent seasons sweep by, Lord, your reminders remain the same. Each tear we cry has a purpose. Each trying stage has a divine reason. And in your capable hands, each icy rain of adversity is transformed into the warmth and sparkle of your grace.
~Edited from Janet Perez Eckles' “3 Reasons to Dry Your Tears of Sadness at Christmas”
5. An Advent Prayer for Peace
Lord, in a season when every heart should be happy and light, many of us are struggling with the heaviness of life—burdens that steal the joy right out of our stockings. Tragedy arrives as innocent victims suffer, and an inner voice whispers, “Be afraid!” We need your peace, Jesus. We confess that our hearts are too often filled with wonder of a different kind: wondering when the bills will be paid, when the terror will stop, when rest will come. Will it ever? Is the message still true? In a world where worry, not peace, prevails, stir up that good news again. This Advent, make it real in our hearts. Never have we needed Your joy and peace more than now. Thank You for the gift of Jesus, our Immanuel, the Word made flesh. We not only need Your peace and joy; Lord, we crave it. You’ve promised rest for the weary, victory for the battle-scarred, peace for the anxious, and acceptance for the broken hearted—not just at Advent, but every day of every year. Your name is still called “Wonderful,” “Counselor,” “The Mighty God,” “The Everlasting Father,” and “The Prince of Peace.” We know that peace on earth can only come when hearts find peace with You. You are still our Joy. You are still our Peace. You are no longer a babe in the manger. You are Lord of lords and King of kings. And we still celebrate You as Lord—this Christmas and always.
~Edited from Rebecca Barlow Jordan's “A Prayer for Peace & Joy at Christmas”
6. The Advent Chant
"In the twenty-fourth day of the month of December;
In the year five-thousand one-hundred and ninety-nine from the creation of the world, when in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth;
In the year two-thousand nine-hundred and fifty-seven from the flood;
In the year two-thousand and fifty-one from the birth of Abraham;
In the year one-thousand five-hundred and ten from the going forth of the people of Egypt under Moses;
In the year one-thousand and thirty-two from the anointing of David as king;
In the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel;
In the one-hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
In the year seven-hundred and fifty-two from the foundation of the city of Rome;
In the forty-second year of the reign of the Emperor Octavian Augustus;
In the sixth age of the world, while the whole earth was at peace;
JESUS CHRIST eternal God and the Son of the eternal Father, willing to consecrate the world by His gracious coming, having been conceived of the Holy Ghost, and the nine months of His conception being now accomplished, [all kneel] was born in Bethlehem of Judah of the Virgin Mary, made man. The birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to the flesh."
(From the Roman Martyrology)
~from “Advent: Waiting on Jesus Christ” by Sarah Phillips
7. A Prayer for the Busy Holiday Season
Father, I want this holiday season to be filled with light instead of darkness. Please help me discard my emotional masks and be real before You as well as my family and friends. Father, help me make this holiday season an offering of praise to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
~Mary Southerland, from “Turning Christmas Chaos into Christmas Joy” from Girlfriends in God
8. A Prayer to Prepare My Heart for Christ’s Coming
Father, just as You sent John the Baptist to prepare the way for Jesus, help me to clear the path in my heart, too. Show me the distractions in my life that block me from all-out worship of You this Advent. Lord, I await Your coming! As I celebrate the first Advent––the first coming––I look toward the day where I will see You face to face. I imagine what it will be like. Give me a heart, Lord, that looks for Your coming on a daily basis. Help me to live my life where I'm constantly seeking Your presence. My offering to You today is my righteous life for I know I am only clean because of Jesus. Show me today how I need to be refined, purified, forgiven. Give me the strength to ask for forgiveness and to then change my ways.
~Sarah Martin, from “The Awe & Wonder of Advent: Day 18”
9. The 'O' Antiphons of Advent
Since the seventh century, this set of seven prayer texts has been sung or recited over the final days of Advent during the daily service of vespers, or evening prayer. They are voiced in response to the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). Each antiphonal prayer addresses God with "O" and a biblical name and concludes with a call for him to come. The phrases of the prayers derive from Scripture. You may be familiar with them from the verses of the well-known Advent hymn, "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel." They may be used devotionally, one a day, from December 17 to 23. Here are the traditional texts of the "Great O's":
O Wisdom, O holy word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care: Come and show your people the way to salvation.
O Sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: Come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.
O Flower of Jesse's stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; rulers stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.
O Key of David, O royal power of Israel, controlling at your will the gate of heaven: Come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and lead your captive people into freedom.
O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: Come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
O Ruler of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart, O keystone of the mighty arch of humankind: Come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.
O Emmanuel, ruler and lawgiver, desire of the nations, savior of all people: Come and set us free, Lord our God.
~from “Advent in Church and Cultural Tradition” by Bobby Gross
10. Prayer of Gratitude for Birth of Jesus
Father God, we thank You and praise You today for the miracle of Your Son's birth. Thank You for bringing great JOY to the whole world! Thank You for giving us the assurance that because You came to us in the form of a human, we who believe in Jesus can know with absolute certainty that we'll spend eternity with You. We thank You, Lord, for the many reasons we have been given a merry Christmas. And we rejoice for each blessing. New life. New love. A home. A job. New opportunities. Second chances. And more. We know, Lord, that You bring the sun and the moon and set the stars in motion. You tell the ocean where to stop and the snow when to start. And we thank You for the mighty gift of Your creation. Thank You, Father, for spiritual leaders and faith-filled friends who keep encouraging us when we are close to giving up. And although we have many reasons to rejoice today, Lord, we also know December 25th can be not-so-merry for a whole host of reasons. We pray for those who are experiencing loss during Advent: relational, financial, spiritual and physical. We pray for those who are coping with loving a prodigal and our friends and family members whose hearts are far from You. We pray for those dealing with unemployment and addictions and chronic sickness... and unending pain and frustrations of all kinds. Thank You, Lord, that You are The Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace, even in the midst of our not-so-merry circumstances. Finally, Lord, we ask You to grant us peace. Peace in our homes, peace in our churches, and peace in our hearts, when the world all around us spins out-of-control. Help us to stay focused on You, this Advent season and always. Thank You for loving the whole world enough to send the greatest gift, Your Son, so that we might truly have a very merry Christmas. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
~Steph Raquel, from “A Christmas Prayer for the Merry… and Not-So-Merry , Prov. 31 Ministries
11. An Advent Prayer to Remember God’s Promises
Advent is here, but so is family tension.
Advent is here, but so are dysfunctional relationships.
Advent is here, but so are old habits.
Advent is here, but gone are people we love.
Advent is here, but old baggage still exists.
Advent is here, but fears surface.
You say, "I see all that, and I can handle all that."
You say, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
You say, "Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid."
You say, "Tell everyone who is discouraged, Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue…"
What looks unscalable, You boost me over.
What seems unbearable, You bring me through unbelievably.
What can't be managed, You say, "Let down your guard and I will guard you."
~Edited from Kelly Balarie's “7 Verses When Relationships Hurt at Christmas”
12. An Advent Prayer for The Lord to Come
This Advent, Lord, come to the manger of my heart.
Fill me with Your presence from the very start.
As I prepare for the holidays and gifts to be given,
Remind me of the gift You gave when You sent Your Son from Heaven.
The first Christmas gift, it was the greatest gift ever.
You came as a baby born in a manger.
Wrapped like the gifts I find under my tree,
Waiting to be opened, to reveal Your love to me.
Restore to me the wonder that came with Jesus' birth,
When He left the riches of Heaven and wrapped Himself in rags of earth.
Immanuel, God with us, Your presence came that night.
And angels announced, "Into your darkness, God brings His Light."
"Do not be afraid," they said, to shepherds in the field.
Speak to my heart today, Lord, and help me to yield.
Make me like those shepherd boys, obedient to Your call.
Setting distractions and worries aside, to You I surrender them all.
Surround me with Your presence, Lord, I long to hear Your voice.
Clear my mind of countless concerns and all the holiday noise.
Slow me down this Christmas, let me not be in a rush.
In the midst of parties and planning, I want to feel Your hush.
This Christmas, Jesus, come to the manger of my heart.
Invade my soul like Bethlehem, bringing peace to every part.
Dwell within and around me, as I unwrap Your presence each day.
Keep me close to You, Lord. It's in Your wonderful Name I pray.
~Renee Swope, “The Manger of My Heart” from Proverbs 31 Ministries
Additional Advent Resources
What is Advent? "While Advent is certianly a time of celebration and anticipation of Christ's birth, it is more than that. It is only in the shadow of Advent that the miracle of Christmas can be fully understood and appreciated; and it is only in the light of Christmas that the Christian life makes sense..." - by Justin Holcomb
Bible Verses for Advent
Isaiah 11:10 - "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The spirit of the Lord will rest on him - the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might...
John 1:9-18 - "The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his won did not recieve him..."
Mark 1:1-3 - "The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: "I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare the way - a voice of one calling in teh wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'"
Luke 1:14-17 - "He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord...
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