Collect for Third Sunday in Advent: Lord Jesus Christ, we implore You to hear our prayers and to lighten the darkness of our hearts by Your gracious visitation; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Prayer for deliverance from sin: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, You desire not the death of a sinner, but rather that we turn from our evil ways and live. Graciously spare us those punishments which we by our sins have deserved, and grant us always to serve You in holiness and pureness of living; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .
Prayer for grace and forgiveness: Spare us, O Lord, and mercifully forgive us our sins. Though by our continual transgressions we have merited Your chastisements, be gracious to us. Grant that all these punishments which we have deserved may not come upon us, but that all things may work to our everlasting good; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .
Prayer at nightfall: We praise and thank You, O God, for You are without beginning and without end. Through Christ You are the creator and preserver of the whole world; but above all, You are His God and Father, the giver of the Spirit, and the ruler of all that is, seen and unseen. You made the day for the works of light and the night for the refreshment of our weakness. O loving Lord and source of all that is good, mercifully accept our evening sacrifice of praise. As You have conducted us through the day and brought us to night's beginning, keep us now in Christ; grant us a peaceful evening and a night free from sin; and at the end bring us to everlasting life through Christ, our Lord; through Him be glory, honor, and power to You in the Holy Spirit now and always forever and ever.
Prayer for catechumens: Almighty God and Father, because You always grant growth to Your Church, increase the faith and understanding of our catechumens that, rejoicing in their new birth by the water of Holy Baptism, they may forever continue in the family of those who You adopt as Your sons and daughters; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns ..
The Coming of the Christ Brings True Rejoicing in His Forgiveness
When he preaches repentance, John the Baptist points us to Christ Jesus. John was sent by God “as a witness, to bear witness about the Light, that all might believe through him” (John 1:7). He baptizes with water in order to “make straight the way of the Lord,” who shall redeem His people from their sins (John 1:23). That Lord Jesus “who comes after” John now stands among us and makes Himself known to us (John 1:26–27). He has been anointed by the Holy Spirit “to bring good news to the poor” and “to bind up the brokenhearted” (Is. 61:1). By the washing of the water with His Word and Spirit, He clothes His Church with “the garments of salvation” and adorns her with His own righteousness “as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Is. 61:10). Therefore, we “rejoice always” in the Lord, “pray without ceasing,” and “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:16–18). For “the God of peace,” who has called you by the Gospel, will surely “sanctify you completely,” so that “your whole spirit and soul and body” will “be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:23–24).
Monday, 5 December 2011—Psalm 85:8–9,
this season of preparation by way of repentance, we pray that, even as we break
with the sins of our past, the Lord would not let us turn back to folly.
Our sin is persistent, and we can never conquer it by our own doing. Our only
hope is in the Lord, who will speak peace to His people and will give
what is good. He does this through our Savior, Jesus, for righteousness
goes before Him.
Tuesday, 6 December 2011—Psalm 126—This psalm was composed when the Israelites returned from the Babylonian Exile. When God delivered them, their mouths were initially filled with laughter and their tongues with shouts of joy. But the hardships they faced upon return tested their faith in the Lord’s promise to restore the fortunes of Zion. This psalm provides comfort that those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! Likewise, when we face unexpected hardships and suffering, we can take comfort that the Lord has done great things for us. The greatest thing He has done is restored us by the death of our savior, His Son, Jesus Christ.
Wednesday, 7 December 2011—Isaiah 61:1–4,
anointed messenger is here proclaimed. He will proclaim the good news of relief
and release to the poor, the brokenhearted, the captives,
those who are bound, and those who mourn. All these things
describe us in our sinful state: We are poor, lacking the riches of fellowship
with God, and thus brokenhearted; we are captives of, and in bondage to sin,
and thus can only mourn our condition. But the One whom the messenger proclaims
will give us the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise
instead of a faint spirit, that we may be called oaks of righteousness.
Thursday, 8 December 2011—1 Thessalonians 5:16–24—What is our response to and our witness of Christ has accomplished for us? That we rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances. This we can do, because we are no longer in our former state, as people who have no hope, in bondage to sin. Christ has set us free, and gives us His gifts of Word and Sacrament, that our whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Friday, 9 December 2011—John 1:6–8,
priests and Levites confronted John the Baptist, asking him who he was, he
responded that he was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah in the Old
Testament reading. John is the man sent from God, the voice of one
crying out in the wilderness. He went before the Lord Jesus, to prepare the
way for Him, to bear witness to Him. John baptized and preached a message of
repentance. Likewise, we still heed John, and prepare ourselves for the
celebration of the coming of Christ in the flesh by repenting of our sins.
Saturday, 10 December 2011—The hymn of the day, Hark! A Thrilling Voice Is Sounding (LSB 345), tells of the work of John the Baptist. His voice is thrilling to believers, for his voice heralds the coming of our Savior, Jesus.
Lectionary summary on front page from LCMS Commission on Worship
Artwork by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, ©WELS.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
This week's Time in the Word is written by Pr. Jeff Keuning Dexter, IA