Longing for Full Redemption: An Advent Prayer of Confession and Lament

John D. Witvliet prepared this prayer for his ordination service into the ministry of Word and Sacrament in the Christian Reformed Church.

This prayer is based on the ancient “O Antiphons” that are also the basis for the Advent hymn “O Come, O Come, Immanuel” (see also p. 38). The elipses (. . .) are places for possible extemporaneous additions.

Reader 1: Truly, the Lamb of God comes with pardon, giving hope to all creation . . . In hope and confidence, then, as children of God, we come before God during this Advent season with the honest longings of our hearts, and of all creation . . . In that hope, let us pray.

Reader 2: Lord our God, all creation groans in expectation, longing for full redemption of your coming kingdom . . .

Reader 1: O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High, pervading all creation, you order all things with strength and gentleness. Come now and teach us the way to salvation. Come, Lord Jesus.

Reader 2: Lord our God, we confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart and mind and strength . . .

Reader 1: O Adonai, ruler of the house of Israel, who appeared in the burning bush to Moses and gave him the law on Sinai, come with outstretched arm to save us. Come, Lord Jesus.

Reader 2: Lord our God, nation is divided again nation, race against race . . .

Reader 1: O Root of Jesse, rising as a sign for all the peoples, before you earthly rulers will keep silent and nations give you honor.

Come quickly to deliver us. Come, Lord Jesus.

Reader 2: Lord our God, our worship is marked by selfishness. We turn away from the brightness of your glory . . .

Reader 1: O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: Come, shine on those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death. Come, Lord Jesus.

Reader 2: Lord our God, without your grace, we are bound to sin and we cannot save ourselves . . .

Reader 1: O Immanuel, our sovereign and lawgiver, desire of the nations and Savior of all. Come and save us, O Lord our God. Come, Lord Jesus.

[After a brief silence:]

Reader 2: God of grace, ever faithful to your promises, the earth rejoices in hope of our Savior’s coming and looks forward with longing to his return at the end of time. Prepare our hearts to receive him when he comes, for he is Lord forever and ever. Amen.

All Sing: “As a Deer in Want of Water (Psalm 42)” (st. 1-3) PsH 42


Reader 2: The Word of the Lord from Jeremiah 33

—Hear what the Spirit is saying to the church:

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”

Reader 1: People of God: Jesus Christ, our Lord, whose coming we announce in this season, is our righteousness. In Christ, we are made right with God; all creation is renewed and sings for joy. Thanks be to God!

Art by Julie Lonneman, from Clip Art for Sundays and Solemnities (© 2003, Liturgy Training Publications, 1-800-933-1800, www.ltp.org). Used by permisssion.

Rev. Dr. John D. Witvliet is director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and professor of music and worship at Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He also teaches in the religion department at Calvin University.

Reformed Worship 77 © September 2005, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.