Advent-y Prayers? Not So Much.

matterofprayer blog post for Thursday, December 11, 2014

Advent candles star image

Advent-y Prayers? Not So Much.

I haven’t been feeling prayerful, hopeful and full of anticipation. I just haven’t.

I apologize ahead of time for a blog post that is a bit of a downer. It is just I am not feeling any anticipation for the coming of Christ, for that celebration of the birth of the Baby in Bethlehem.

Yes, I am doing all of the outward, Advent-y things. I am seeing that the Advent candles are lit on the Advent wreath at my church, each week. The hymns and readings for each Advent worship service are set. The church is getting ready for Christmas, what with decorations, the poinsettia orders, and the orders for worship and bulletins. Yes. I taught a midweek bible study on Isaiah 40:1-5, a wonderful Advent passage talking about the voice crying out in the wilderness. Prophecy talking about the coming of John the Baptist. My final question to the bible study was, how are we preparing the way of the Lord, today? What does that look like for us?

Great question, God. I know I told the seniors at the bible study yesterday that we can proclaim Christ’s coming in a variety of ways. Not only by preaching (like John the Baptist), but by showing Christ’s love—in actual, physical, concrete ways, like giving food to our local food pantry, Maine Township Food Pantry. Or, one of the bible study participants suggested by giving diapers to Bundled Blessings, a diaper pantry ministry in Evanston that our church prays for on a regular basis. Yes! A thousand times, yes! I also suggested giving to the Salvation Army kettles.

So, God, I am trying to act in a loving way. I know even if I do not feel hopeful or filled with anticipation, I can still act as if. And sooner or later, my insides will catch up with my outsides. And besides, You still call me to act in a loving, hopeful manner. Even when I don’t feel like it.

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, Gracious God, thank You for Your presence with me—with all of us. Renew the hopeful anticipation within each one of us. The hope given to us by that voice crying in the wilderness, telling each of us to prepare the way of the Lord—Your way, Lord. No matter how each of us is urged to communicate about You today, give each of us opportunities to do exactly that. Thank You for helping us to walk with You day by day, on that highway for our God. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

4 responses to “Advent-y Prayers? Not So Much.

  1. You said this beautifully, Liza. Thanks for being so publically honest. For other ministers out here, it’s good to be reminded that acting as if will eventually bring us home.

  2. I appreciate your comment, Dave. Yes, I try to be honest at all times. Lovingly, yet rigorously honest–and always seasoned with pastoral care and compassion. This is what I strive for. It usually works. *grin*

    Although I made the above comment with a twinkle in my eye, I mean it from the bottom of my heart. And sometimes right now, I just do not _feel_ Advent-y. Not hopeful, not filled with anticipation. Yet, I know that God is calling me to be faithful. Faithful to God, faithful to my calling, and faithful to those I serve. May God be with us both as we continue to strive, continue to be faithful.

  3. I recently came across your blog and am thankful to you Chaplaineliza. I previously blogged regularly but discontinued through busyness, interruptions, health, whatever but am glad I checked back and discovered you. Anyway, to the point, I understand how you could go through a season as you mentioned, yet keep on going. I was fine all through Christmas season, bu when I woke up this morning, Jan. I, 2015, I feel like nothing matters. I don’t have enthusiasm like usual, or inner strength. Yet I know I will continue on and get through with the Strength of our Holy Spirit’s enabling power. I will be at a Christian Drop In / Community Centre tonight ministering and chatting with many hurting people, because I know that is God’s call, and is more important than my feeling. Thank you again, even for this opportunity to lay a bit of my heart out. God’s Blessings.

    • Glad you reached out to me, George. I know what it’s like to have no enthusiasm. When my get-up-and-go seems to have gotten up and left me high and dry. I applaud you for going out and doing things anyhow. I remember C.S. Lewis saying in one of his books (I think om _Mere Christianity_, but I may be mistaken) that he continued to attend Sunday worship even though he felt dry and felt like he was just going through the motions. He made the excellent point that God appreciates our effort even more, in those cases. When we continue to minister even though we are going through difficulty, challenges, depression, or grief.

      Blessings as you minister to people tonight at the community centre. Prayers coming your way, too, from me to you.

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