Prayer for illumination

Image courtesy of Simon Howden /

Roman prisons forced letter writers to get to the point. Prisoners were grateful when friends and family brought food; stationary supplies were a luxury. When Paul put pen to parchment, he didn’t waste words. His letter to the Ephesian church is no exception.

Following a quick greeting, Paul laid out some basic truths of the faith—foundational blessings: We are God’s adopted children, blessed with every spiritual blessing. We are redeemed through Jesus’ blood and sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. He then told them what he prayed ceaselessly for them. There is no mention of material provision, health, effectiveness in evangelism so their church will grow, or freedom from suffering. Those are good prayer topics, but Paul singled out one request:

“. . . that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened . . .” (Eph. 1:17-18)

Paul’s priority was a prayer for illumination in the deepest part of their being.1 The focus of the spiritual revelation was knowing God and all that God has done for and made available to His people.

The knowledge he requests doesn’t fit in a brain but in a heart. It cannot be taught adequately using a white board or PowerPoint. The Holy Spirit unveils it.2 Such knowledge of God is accurate, but it is also experiential and relational.

When time is a rationed luxury, what better thing is there to pray for yourself and others? The God we are to know is no ogre hiding in heavenly shadows waiting to punish us for our flaws and misdeeds. No, God is our Father and He lavishes spiritual blessings upon children that He adopted at vast cost. Revelation of such a God is the best thing we could ask for.

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O Fire Divine, go through my heart.

O Light eternal, illuminate my soul.

May we discover you in our loving,

through the Spirit of Christ who abides in us.


Almighty God,

through your only Son you overcame death

and opened to us the light of eternity.

Enlighten our minds and kindle our hearts

with the presence of your Spirit,

that we may hear your words of comfort and challenge

in the reading of the scriptures,

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God, you know us better than we know ourselves.

As the scriptures are read, we will listen for your voice.

By your Spirit lead us out of our fears

and into the knowledge of your love,

through Jesus Christ, the Great Shepherd of our souls. Amen.

Spirit of the Living God,

free our minds from error,

teach our hearts the living words of Jesus,

and inspire our lips to share the Good News,

in the name of the blessed Holy Trinity. Amen.

O God,

Lover of humanity,

Joy of creation:

Pour out your Spirit on us

that we may hear your ancient words in a new key.

Inspire us to sing your praise

in every land and with every generation,

through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

God, whom we know

through the scriptures and creation,

speak to us in this hour.

Show us the wisdom and joy of your ways

that we may know what is good and do what is right,

through Jesus Christ your Word. Amen.

Everlasting God,

whose tenacious love holds us:

make our hearts the house of your truth,

and make our minds the realm of your wisdom

so that our fellowship will become your dwelling place,

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Send your Spirit among us, O God,

as we meditate on your love.

Prepare our minds to hear your Word,

move our hearts to embrace what we hear,

and strengthen our will to follow your way.

This we pray through Christ, our Savior. Amen.

Loving God,

open our hearts and minds

by the power of your Holy Spirit, that,

as the scriptures are read and your word proclaimed,

we may hear with joy what you say to us today. Amen.

Guide us, O God,

by your Word and Holy Spirit,

that in your light we may see light,

in your truth find freedom,

and in your will discover your peace;

through Jesus Christ our Friend. Amen.

Prepare our hearts, O God, to accept your Word.

Silence in us any voice but your own,

that, hearing, we may understand your will

and follow your way that leads to life,

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Lord of life,

by submitting to death you overcame the grave,

and by the power of your resurrection

you restore humanity and renew the world.

Open our minds to receive your hope;

open our hearts to celebrate your joy.

For all praise is yours, now and throughout eternity.


God of wonders,

who nurses us with the new life of your Spirit,

replace our fears that keep us from trusting you.

Teach us how to sing the resurrection song,

and how to live in peace with one another;

through Jesus Christ our Risen Brother. Amen.

Great Creating Spirit,

open our ears to hear the wonders of the universe,

open our eyes to see the beauty of the earth,

open our hearts to receive the wisdom of your Word,

through Jesus Christ our Lord

who holds all things together in heaven and earth.


God of love,

by the power of your Spirit

enlighten us to understand your truth

and inspire us to do your will

in the name of Jesus Christ,

who laid down his life for us

so that we can abide in your love. Amen.

O God, who is closer than breath itself

and yet cannot be contained by time and space,

reveal your life-giving truth

that comforts and disturbs us,

through Jesus the Christ. Amen.

Come, Holy Spirit, and illuminate us.

Come, wind of heaven, and move us.

Come, flame of love, and stir us.

Come, dove of peace, and unite us.

Come, giver of all gifts, and fill us.


O Trinity of Love,

God in community,

Speak to us, today, in word and song.

Draw us into your presence

so that we may learn your truth

and live in your hope. Amen.

God our helper,

show us your ways and teach us your paths.

By your Holy Spirit, open our minds

that we may be led in your truth,

and pour into our hearts the power of your grace

so that we can find the courage to be faithful

through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

God of all health,

you are the source of our life

and our fulfillment in death.

Enable us to hear your promises in the midst of pain;

Empower us to trust your Word in the depths of despair

through Jesus Christ who is the Great Physician of our souls. Amen.

Lord Jesus, Teacher of our souls,

enlighten us with your wisdom

encourage us through your words,

and empower us to do your will

so that we are ready to go into the world with

your words of mercy on our lips,

your way of peace to guide our feet,

and your work of justice in our hands. Amen.

O God, the Three in One,

you draw us into your community of love

with people across the ages and around the world.

By the same Spirit that binds us together

speak to us that what we read and ponder

may enliven us and stretch us to trust and follow you;

through Christ our Savior. Amen.

O Jesus, who is the Light of the world and the Redeemer of our souls,

do not forsake us to the power of our fears and ignorance.

When we are troubled, share your peace.

When we are confused, show your truth.

Enable us to be a people of faith at all times and in all places,

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Generous and Patient God,

you alone satisfy the desires of our hearts

by leading us in the way of peace.

Feed our minds with your truth

and nourish our souls with your wisdom

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Holy God, we need your wisdom.

Teach us your will,

show us your way,

and fill us with your Spirit.

Put our hearts in tune

with the hymn of the universe

through Jesus Christ our life and hope. Amen.

O Wisdom Divine,

just as you inspired the mothers of our faith

grant us your knowledge and discernment

so that we can learn how to be

clever in our compassion

and courageous in our faith,

through Christ and in the Spirit. Amen.

O God, open our hearts and minds

by the power of your Holy Spirit,

that as the scriptures are read

and your Word is proclaimed,

we may hear with joy what you say to us today.


Dear God and Mother of all people,

who is always persistent and ever-giving,

do not give up on us.

speak your truth, shine your light and show us your way

until our stubborn ignorance gives way to faithful obedience

through your Child our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Helper of all who seek you and our Eternal Guide:

As we journey through this life,

shine your light on our path,

show us your will through the sacred scriptures, and

speak to us through the Spirit’s interpretation

to give us the direction and strength we need

to follow Jesus Christ, the Shepherd of our souls. Amen.

Through friend and foe, we have learned your truth.

In the celebration and the mourning, we have heard your voice.

Help us now, O God, to understand your Word and embrace your will

so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in us. Amen.

Holy and mighty God,

by the power of your Word

the world was created and our souls are renewed.

Speak once again

to challenge our priorities and overturn our assumptions

until we can say,

‘let it be with me according to your Word’.

Fill us, your humble servants,

with the wisdom to become

God-bearers to the all creation. Amen.

Beautiful Creator,

even if the harvest fails,

even when the economy falters,

you are still our God,

our Provider and Protector.

Open our eyes to see your active hand

in plenty or in want,

in pain as well as pleasure.

Open our ears to hear your word

when it reassures us and when it challenges us,

so that we can learn how to open our hands

and share with others the gift of Jesus Christ. Amen.

O Spirit of the Triune God,

satisfy our desire to know you and your will.

The more we know you, the more we love you.

The more we love others, the more we come to know you,

for in our loving we enter into the space between the Father and the Son

where you have made a place for us to nurse on the bosom of your grace. Amen.

Most holy God,

the earth is filled with your glory,

and before you angels and saints stand in awe.

Deepen our understanding of the scriptures,

and enlarge our vision to see your power at work in the world,

that we may become heralds of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Amen.

God of wisdom and strength,

you led your people through the wilderness

and brought them to the promised land.

Guide us now to understand the scriptures and obey your voice

that we might find comfort through the inspiration of your Spirit

and courage through the words of your Son our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

In every time and place, O God,

send forth your Spirit to instruct your people,

that the Scriptures may come alive as they are

read and sung, contemplated and studied

in adoration for what you have done for us in Jesus Christ. Amen.

Grant to me and to all your people, Great God,

the guidance of your Spirit.

Give us the wisdom to known how best

to temper justice with mercy,

to buttress mercy with justice,

so that your will may be done on earth as in heaven;

through Christ our Judge and Advocate. Amen.

Clever and Amazing God,

you have subverted evil and injustice by the resurrection of your Child.

In this hour, show yourself to us in the scriptures

and inspire us to follow Jesus Christ in the way of liberation,

who lives and reigns eternally triumphant over the forces of death. Amen.

O God, the Mother of us all,

Pour out your Holy Spirit on our hearts and minds,

that we may know how to

reject evil and injustice,

and receive the peace and power

that flows through our covenant together in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

God of mysteries and wonders, we come with

open hearts to accept your assurance,

open minds to receive your wisdom,

and open hands to do your will.

By the inspiration of your Holy Spirit

reveal your vision of hope

in scripture, sermon and song. Amen.

Creative God, Source of all beauty,

you give light to the soul.

Open our eyes that we may see the wonders of your Word;

Open our ears that we may hear the truth of your Spirit;

and grant us the courage to choose your way of wisdom;

through Jesus Christ our Sovereign. Amen.

Sovereign God,

you reveal the mystery of your grace in surprising ways.

Tune our hearts to hear your voice

that we may remain faithful

to the ways of Jesus Christ, Our Savior.


Triune God,

you reveal the mystery of your grace in surprising ways.

Tune our hearts to hear your voice

that we may remain faithful

to the ways of Jesus Christ, Our Savior.


O God our Judge,

Save us from cheap excuses and easy answers.

Speak your word to us

so that we may measure our lives by your truth

and not by the standards of this world,

through Jesus Christ our sure defense. Amen.

Eternal Parent,

you are the source, the guide and the goal of our lives.

Show us the strength of your love

and teach us how to care for others as you have cared for us

through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

God of Truth,

Lord of Compassion,

Spirit of Healing—

expose the ignorance of our arrogance

and remove all hypocrisy that protects apathy

so that we can rejoice in all the wonderful things

you are doing through Jesus Christ,

the Great Physician of our souls. Amen.

God, who is constantly working for our good,

prepare us to receive your truth.

Open our minds to hear your word;

soften our hearts to accept your will,

and strengthen our hands to do your work

for the glory of Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen.

Faithful God,

by your grace you have called us,

with your wisdom you direct us.

Speak again through scripture and song

and show us how to be your faithful people,

through Jesus Christ our Redemption. Amen.

God, our Guide and Helper,

through the scriptures we find the way of life.

Now, through the abiding presence of Jesus Christ in our hearts,

enable us to understand this way without distortion

and to walk in it without timidity. Amen.

God of all grace:

Take from us all hardness of heart and dimness of mind.

Remove our reluctance to know and do your will.

Fill us with your Spirit and guide us with your word

that gentleness and loyalty will be the mark of all our relationships,

through Jesus Christ. Amen.

God, our guide and helper:

In the scriptures you have give us the treasures of your wisdom.

Now, by your Spirit’s generosity,

enable us to understand your truth without distortion

and to walk in it without timidity;

through Jesus Christ our teacher. Amen.

Pour out your Spirit upon us, everlasting God;

As you have done for generations, so now

enlighten the eyes of our hearts

that we might live in hope;

through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Faithful Redeemer, by the presence of your Spirit

you revealed truth to our spiritual mothers and fathers.

Speak to us that we may understand anew

the divine wisdom for our generation

and be your faithful witnesses in this age,

in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Gentle and strong God,

to serve you is freedom and to know you is joy.

Quiet in us the voices competing for our allegiance,

and remove from us any thought that does not come from you.

By your Spirit, reveal the life-giving reign of Jesus Christ

to us and all the world. Amen.

Eternal God,

in your providence you made all ages

a preparation for the reign of your Son.

Make ready our hearts for the brightness of your glory

through the work your Spirit

to enlighten our minds and inspire our hearts

as we read the ancient promises of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Mighty God, our strength and hope:

you have not left us on our own to struggle without direction.

Rather, you have given us the scriptures as a reliable record of your presence.

Open anew the meaning of what we read,

that by the gifts of your Holy Spirit we may be strengthened

and sent forth to do your work of peace in the world;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Glorious Creator, your Word and Wisdom sustain the world.

Now, as the scriptures are read and the Good News is proclaimed,

plant your hope and peace in our lives.

Grant us the inspiration of your Holy Spirit

to strengthen our hearts and teach us patience

as we wait for the coming of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

O God, our Heavenly Mother,

who revealed your grace in the baptism of Jesus,

immerse us in the wisdom of your Spirit

to understand you and boldly confess

Christ as Sovereign and Savior

who with you and the Holy Spirit, One God,

gives, loves and delights in glory everlasting. Amen.

Holy God,

our strength and our redeemer,

by your Spirit teach us the wisdom of the scriptures

that we may serve you with courage and worship you with joy,

through Jesus Christ your Word. Amen.

Creator of all peoples and Sustainer of all creation,

as the scriptures are read,

by the gift of your Holy Spirit,

take away the dullness of our minds

and the distractions in our hearts

from hearing your Word and doing your work

through Jesus Christ our teacher and redeemer. Amen.

O God, the strength of all who hope in you,

because we are weak we can do nothing without you.

Help us to see and understand the commands you call us to obey,

and give us the wisdom and the power to do them

in the Spirit and through Christ who is our Lord. Amen.

O Bright Morning Star,

O Light of our salvation,

O Wisdom of all,

O Word divine:

shine in our hearts

and remove the shadows of pain;

fill our minds

and replace the darkness of anger

so that we can know your love

and live in you peace. Amen.

Spirit of God,

whose strange and saving wisdom

was revealed on the cross,

help us to die

to all preconceived notions and pat answers,

so that we may be raised anew

into a greater knowledge of your love and hope

in Jesus Christ the Word. Amen.

Spirit of God, there is nowhere that you are not:

You support the universe with your grace;

You sustain every creature by your mercy;

You saturate our lives with your love.

Open now our hearts and minds to receive your Word

so that we can discover you in the ordinary and overlooked,

and find our place and play our part in your work of hope;

through Jesus Christ, who is all in all. Amen.

O God,

through your Word we were created

and by your Word we have been made whole,

speak to us and we will listen.

Tell us what we need to hear,

and show us what we ought to do

to obey Jesus Christ who is your Word embodied. Amen.

Gentle God,

let us sit on your lap and learn your ways.

Teach us how to walk with our brother Jesus,

and show us how to live in the Spirit of your wisdom.


We have nursed on your kindness, O God,

and you have claimed us as your own.

As the scriptures are read

teach us how to be the priests of gentle grace,

and show us how to become the tribe of holy love

that our lives may declare the wonderful deeds of light

we have discovered in Jesus Christ,

who is the founder of our faith. Amen.

Great Creator of all peoples,

Holy Sustainer of all life

in whom we live and move and have our being,

reveal your nature and your will

in the reading of the scriptures

that we may worship and adore you

through the Risen Christ. Amen.

O God, as the scriptures are read and the music is sung,

plunge us into the depths of your mercy

and lift us into the heights of your grace,

through Jesus Christ our Savior and Guide. Amen.

Spirit of the Gentle Father,

as the scriptures are read,

speak deep within us your reliable words

that we may know your assurance

and learn the way that leads to life,

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Faithful God,

our hearts yearn for hope.

Shine the light and glory of the coming Christ on our lives.

Show us how to be your servants of justice

and children of righteousness. Amen.


Jesus our Guide,

you explained the scriptures

and revealed yourself to the disciples at Emmaus.

Now, by your Spirit,

enlighten our minds to understand their witness

and ignite our hearts to receive you at the table. Amen.

O God our defender,

through the reading of your word,

replace our fears with your wisdom

and our discouragement with your understanding.

Preserve in us the faith of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.

God of extravagant grace,

may your Spirit refresh our hearts

through the reading of the scriptures

that we may perceive all the good we can do for Christ

and so grow in our faith toward our Lord Jesus. Amen.

O God, you alone are our Judge.

Send your Spirit of truth

to expose our self-deception

and challenge our complacency

so that we may surrender to your mercy

and follow your will

through Jesus Christ our Liberator.


Righteous God,

send your Holy Spirit to be among us.

Grant us the wisdom

to see your purpose,

to embrace your will,

and to obey your word

far beyond what we can understand at this time,

through Jesus Christ, the Pioneer and Perfecter of our faith.


Faithful God,

you chose Mary, full of grace,

to be the mother of our Sovereign and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Now fill us with your grace, that with her,

we may understand your ways,

rejoice in your salvation,

and embrace your will;

through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever. Amen.

Compassionate God,

all creation delights in your radiant presence of your Word.

May the authority of your Spirit

bring understanding into our confused minds

and truth into our troubled hearts,

that we may praise and serve Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 35

Guide us, O God,

by your Word and Spirit,

that we may learn and proclaim your Good News,

for the sake of Jesus Christ,

the bearer of hope for all peoples. Amen.

Father of mercies,

share your Word with us

through scripture, sermon and song

that we may be comforted

and learn how to comfort others

in the name of Jesus our Friend. Amen.

God of love,

who renews at the table of grace,

prepare us to receive the feast of your wisdom

through the illumination of your Spirit.

Nourish our souls with your Word

that we may learn how to love our neighbors

as you have loved us through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Lord Our God,

we need the illumination of your Spirit

to deliver us from slavery,

to obey your commands,

to keep our covenant,

and to remember rightly

the revelation of your generosity

in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Parent of all peoples,

breathe your Holy Spirit on us

that we may see the peace

and be filled with the joy

of the risen Christ.

Teach us how to speak his words of forgiveness

so that we can be your agents of reconciliation

in a broken and troubled world. Amen.

Holy Spirit, whose wisdom astonishes and delights us,

reveal your truth through word and music

that we may learn

to live by faith and not by sight,

and to know one another in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Father God,

teach us how to dance

to the rhythm of your wisdom;

show us how to laugh

with the insights of your truth,

so that we can live for the praise of your glory

in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


O Light Divine,

send forth your Spirit to remove the obstacles

in our hearts and minds

to the understanding and doing of your will,

so that your goodness may shape our lives

as disciples of your Word and Wisdom, Jesus Christ. Amen.

O Lord,

Source of all truth,

Creator of all people,

by your Word give light to our souls.

Pour out your Spirit of understanding

that the scriptures and tradition would once again

show us the way of life in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Holy God, giver of peace, author of truth,

may your Spirit abide among us

in the reading of scripture

to expose the sins that divide us

and explore the hope that unites us in Jesus Christ,

who is our center and our circumference. Amen.

Eternal Giver of Life and Light, on this holy day

may the radiance of the risen Christ

shine in our hearts and minds

that we may know your truth,

follow your way,

and receive your abundant life,

through Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

God of wind, word, and fire, send your Spirit

to stir us with your truth

and to kindle in us the fire of your love,

empowering our lives for service and our tongues for praise,

through Jesus Christ, who lives with you

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever. Amen.

God of our ancestors,

God of generations yet unborn:

You made yourself known

to princes and handmaids,

prophets and midwives.

So now, inspire us with the same Spirit

to understand and fulfill

our witness and service in the world

for Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Abba, Father,

you have knit us together in one family

through your Son our Brother, Jesus Christ.

Give us wisdom to follow your blessed saints in all holy living,

and grant us knowledge to trust in the promises

we have as heirs of your grace,

through Jesus Christ our Savior,

who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,

one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.


God of endless wonder,

you reveal your truth and unite the cosmos in Jesus Christ.

May Christ hold sway over our minds

so that we may hear the rich variety of your wisdom

and see the infinite beauty of your word

in every person and creature. Amen.

Startle us, O God, with your truth
and open our hearts and our minds to your wondrous love.
Speak your word to us;silence in us any voice but your ownand be with us now as we turn our attention,our minds and our hearts, to you,
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This is the weekly Prayer for Illumination by the Rev. John Buchanan at Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago. In a sermon, he explained:

For many years I have begun my sermons with a little prayer: “Startle us, O God.” Some of you like that prayer and tell me you miss it when I change it. Some have told me that they’ve been startled quite enough all week long, thank you very much, and the last thing they need on Sunday morning is to be startled again. I use that prayer for myself, if truth were told, because it is my experience that the capacity to be startled, surprised, astonished, can and does become diminished in us. We are so preoccupied, so focused on our goals, on our list of things to accomplish, people to see, calls to make, that we shut down whatever capacity we have for wonder and astonishment because it is a distraction from what we think is important.

In any event, “Startle us, O God” seems like a good way to begin, because God, in the Bible at least, is astonishing, and when God acts, people are startled. … “They were astonished,” the Fourth Gospel says about Jesus’ friends one day. … John wants to make sure we understand that Jesus’ disciples are astonished at his behaviour, and the implication is that if you read this story correctly and understand what is transpiring, you will be astonished, too.

(source: Calvin Institute of Christian Worship)
A Prayer for Illumination is a prayer said prior to the reading of the first Scripture lesson. It asks God to help us read and understand His Word.

1 Guide us, O God,

by your Word and Spirit,

that in your light we may see light,

in your truth find freedom,

and in your will discover your peace;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

2 Gracious God,

we do not live by bread alone,

but by every word that comes from your mouth.

Make us hungry for this heavenly food,

that it may nourish us today

in the ways of eternal life;

through Jesus Christ, the bread of heaven. Amen.

3 God our helper,

by your Holy Spirit, open our minds,

that as the Scriptures are read

and your Word is proclaimed,

we may be led into your truth

and taught your will,

for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

4 Living God,

help us so to hear your holy Word

that we may truly understand;

that, understanding, we may believe,

and, believing,

we may follow in all faithfulness and obedience,

seeking your honor and glory in all that we do;

through Christ our Lord. Amen.

5 God, source of all light,

by your Word you give light to the soul.

Pour out upon us

the spirit of wisdom and understanding

that, being taught by you in Holy Scripture,

our hearts and minds may be opened to know the things

that pertain to life and holiness;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

6 God of mercy,

you promised never to break your covenant with us.

Amid all the changing words of our generation,

speak your eternal Word that does not change.

Then may we respond to your gracious promises

with faithful and obedient lives;

through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

7 Blessed Lord,

who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them,

read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast

the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

8 O Lord, on this Sunday of Transfiguration, we pray that your light would pour over these pages and illumine these old, old words — that they would dance with newness in our hearts and minds, that we would be radiant in reflecting your Word in our living and serving one another. Amen.

9 O God, your Word is more precious than fine gold, and sweeter than purest honey. As we turn to your Scripture, send your Holy Spirit to infuse your Word with truth and grace — so that the good news of your love would shine before our eyes and delight our senses … so that we cannot help but respond with wonder, faith and trust. Amen.

10 Draw us close, Holy Spirit, as the Scriptures are read and the Word is proclaimed. Let the word of faith be on our lips and in our hearts, and let all other words slip away. May there be one voice we hear today — the voice of truth and grace. Amen.

11 Holy God, Word made flesh, let us come to this word open to being surprised.

Silence our agendas;

banish our assumptions;

cast out our casual detachment.

Confound our expectations;

clear the cobwebs from our ears;

penetrate the corners of our hearts with this word.

We know that you can, we pray that you will, and we wait with great anticipation. Amen.

12 Calm us now, O Lord, into a quietness that heals and listens. Open wounded hearts to the balm of your Word. Speak to us in clear tones so that we might feel our spirits leap for joy and skip with hope as your resurrection witnesses. Amen.

Gracious God, as we turn to your Word for us, may the Spirit of God rest upon us. Help us to be steadfast in our hearing, in our speaking, in our believing, and in our living. Amen.

13 Gracious Lord, like Nicodemus, we come to the word with many questions. Like the Pharisees, we can be captivated by correctness, intent on right answers. As we turn to your word, Spirit of God, do not let our desire for information dominate our need for transformation. Let us hear the word and be moved to greater faith and obedience. Amen.

14Advent O Christ who comes, not only as the sweet babe in a manger, but also as Messiah of justice, baptizing with Spirit and fire, may we hear the words of your prophet. Let John’s passionate voice melt our hardened hearts and speak through us of the power of your coming. This Advent, transform the dead branches of our apathy into the good fruit of repentance. May hostility give way to openness, oppression to justice, greed to generosity and despair to hope. We ask this through you, whose coming is certain, even if not always in the ways we imagine.

15Epiphany Illumine your word by your Holy Spirit, O God.

Let your good news radiate from these pages;

Let your Epiphany grace break into our hearts and minds.

Captivate all who hear these words, that we might believe and obey, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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