Merciful God, in the birth of your Son Jesus Christ in Bethlehem you became one of us; you shared our joy, suffering and pain. We thank you for taking refuge in Egypt and for identifying yourself with refugees and victims of political power. We thank you for your suffering on the cross and for identifying yourself with those who suffer from injustice and live under occupation.
Triune God, you have revealed to us that the works of darkness and injustice have to be conquered by the dying and rising of Jesus. Jesus' offer of peace encourages us to imitate him in breaking the bonds of inhumanity, of injustice, of hatred, of disunity. Strengthen us with your Spirit of peace that we may always hate evil, love good and establish justice. Do not allow us to cry "Peace" when we are comfortable but declare war against those who go hungry and live in precarious situations. Enable us to find your peace in humble and courageous service of the least of these who are members of your family. Amen.
Though we may realize our faith is most strengthened, not in the easy times of life, but in the most trying, it’s often hard to walk that out once we're swirling in the midst of it all. We long for carefree days, yet sometimes, God takes our hand and leads us straight into the darkest of times. Not to harm us, ever. But to bring greater strength, character, trust, beauty, and perseverance to the deepest part of our souls.
Christ, light of light, brightness indescribable, the Wisdom, power and glory of God, the Word made flesh: you overcame the forces of Satan, redeemed the world, then ascended again to the Father. Grant me, I pray, in this tarnished world, the shining of your splendor. Send your Archangel Michael to defend me, to guard my going out and coming in, and to bring me safely to your presence, where you reign in the one holy and undivided Trinity, to ages of ages. Amen.
O Lord, you see how everywhere the winds have burst forth, and the sea is convulsed with the great violence of the rising waves. Command, we beseech you who alone are able, both the winds and the sea. Restore to mankind the true peace of your name, that peace which the world cannot give, and the calm of social harmony. Under your favor and inspiration may men return to due order, and having overthrown the rule of greed, bring back again as ought to be, the love of God, justice, charity toward neighbor, temperance in all desires. May your kingdom come. May all recognize that they are subject to you, and must serve you who are truth and salvation; that without you they labor in vain. In your law is reason and fatherly kindness. You are ever at hand with your strength and your copious power to help man to keep it. Life upon earth is a warfare, but you watch the contest and aim man to conquer. The weak you sustain; the victor you crown.
Rebecca Barlow Jordan is an inspirational author, speaker, and passionate follower of Jesus who loves to encourage others heart to heart. She has written 11 books and over 1700 other articles, greeting cards, and other inspirational pieces. Her daily devotional Daily in Your Presence is available for delivery through Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Rebecca at www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com.
O Great Spirit of our Ancestors, we raise the pipe to you, to your messengers the four winds, and to Mother Earth who provides for your children. Give us the wisdom to teach our children to love, to respect, to be kind to each other so that they may grow with peace in mind. Let us learn to share all the good things that you provide for us on this Earth.
Holy One, you do not distance yourself from the pain of your people, but in Jesus bear that pain with us and bless all who suffer at others’ hands. Hallow my flesh and all creation; with your cleansing love bring me healing and strength; and by your justice, lift me up, that in the body you have given me, I may again rejoice. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.