How does God work through prayer? Karis Church member Anna Hulbert shares her passion for prayer.Read More
This prayer, written by Aarik Danielsen, was read for the fourth Sunday in Advent.
You have never had more or less glory than You have today.
Before time, You were the all-Glorious One.
Once You spoke the world into being, You deserved all the adoration and honor Your creation could muster.
But, as we have observed this Advent season, we have been reminded that we are slow to recognize Your great glory.
Our ancestors saw evidence of it; in its abundance, it surrounded them in creation and in the many mercies You thread throughout a single moment.
Yet, they either blinded themselves to Your glory or took credit for it. And, in our hindsight, we see that we have done the same.
And, so to rescue us and fix our eyes on You, Your glory overflowed into our world in an incredibly personal, direct way. It entered the Earth in the form of a child, Your only Son, Your very nature in the flesh.
And still we missed Your glory. Those who saw Jesus in person mistook His meekness for weakness, His kingdom for a wish dream. Those who learn of Him today call Him prophet, teacher, homeboy, everything but Lord.
Yet those of us here today can testify that Your glory has overflowed into our lives. Rather than leave us to our own devices, You made us see. You opened our hearts to You. You made the perfection of Your Son’s life, the tragedy of His death and the power of His resurrection beautiful and real to us.
Lord, we long for Your glory to overflow into our lives again today.
Let it overflow into our hearts, so that we might see You for the beautiful one You are. Make Yourself the true and only object of our affection.
Let it overflow into our marriages, so that they might become pictures of the Gospel.
Let it overflow into our homes and families that You might be preeminent there.
Let it overflow into our church so that we might be known as people who have been with Jesus.
And as Your glory overflows into our lives, a lavish, almost embarrassing display of Your great riches, let it flow out of our lives and into the life of our city.
We know there will be a day when Your glory will be unmistakable, when “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab. 2:14)
We yearn for that day. And we yearn to see glimpses of it now.
Let Your glory flow out of our church and into this neighborhood, so that its residents might turn their hearts to You.
Let it overflow into the lives of white, black, Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern, every tribe represented in Columbia, so that we might experience a heavenly taste of reconciliation.
Let it overflow into every corner of our city so that false worship will be overcome and false worshipers reborn to turn their praise to You.
We thank You that this day is coming. Our waiting is not in vain. It is promised and it has been secured.
We do not hope for it like those who hope to see a Christmas wish come true; we are not like those who hope against hope that next year will be better.
Our hope is a person. And we know He will deliver on His promises. For He is the one who brought us into Your glorious presence to begin with.
Just as Jesus was, He is. Just as He is, He is to come.
In the same way, the light of Your glory has broken through. It is breaking through. And it will break through and shine forevermore.
With the Christmas angels we sing, "Gloria in Excelsis Deo."
images from the Karis Church Instagram
This prayer, written by Rachel Zamzow, was read for the third Sunday in Advent. O holy God, we come to You a brokenhearted, wrecked people. We look around our world, Your world, and see so much hurt, unending pain and abundant discord. Our heads hang in despair while our fists rise in anger.
Our sin runs rampant. Words of hate drip from our mouths, and our hearts harden to the cries of those around us. We place our idols and ourselves on pedestals, commanding worship and approval from all. We turn from You and run as fast as we can in the other direction.
But God, we praise Your Holy name, for this is not all there is. This broken earth and our stubborn sins are not the end. For You have ordained a future filled with Your indescribable glory. A future when wrong will be made right, dark will become light, heaven will meet earth.
Father, hasten the day when we will be made fully and wholly new by the return of Your Son, Jesus. Hasten the day when cancer’s fury fizzles out. When senseless violence is silenced. When our streaming tears are finally wiped dry.
Like a bride pacing behind the doors at the back of the church, we long to meet Your glory face to face. We wait painstakingly to fall to our knees in awe of the most High King! We seek impatiently for the veil to be lifted, for Your incomprehensible mysteries to be made plain.
We prepare eagerly for the sweetest reunion. We yearn to enter into Your presence, to utter the first verse of our eternal worship song. We anticipate the day when the fallen shall rise, swept up in the trumpet call blaring the power of Your return. When Your perfect judgment will strip scales from eyes, strike down evil and blot out death. We await the moment when the vapor of our lives will evaporate in the presence Your visible yet blinding glory.
But God, the waiting is hard! While we wait, the hurt wrenches, the pain sears, the longing aches. Lord, instill within us a hope that is unshakable in the face of calamity. A trust that rests firmly only in You. A faith that knows no bounds. O, help our unbelief!
And so, as the advent song rings true, as we lay in sin and error pining, we wait for You to reappear. When our souls will feel their worth. When, once again, the thrill of hope will stir this weary world to rejoice . . . for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
This prayer, written by Tyler Eads, was read on the second Sunday of Advent. Father, our father, who is perfect in all His ways, who knows no deceit or falsehood, whose righteousness and perfection and holiness is a blazing, white hot consuming fire--You are the author and originator of justice. Your works and acts and judgments all flow out of a passion to ensure that Your holy justice is carried out, that Your reign and kingdom are firmly established. You love nothing more than You love Your Glory. Being magnified throughout the universe, in nature and in Your people, is the foundation for every righteous act of Yours, for every plan of Your sovereign will. Our greatest good, our most glorious hope, is seeing our Father glorified. Yet time and time again we forget. We are so easily lulled to sleep by the passions of this world, by our own selfish interests, by the allure of trinkets and achievements. We trade Your glory for lesser things, things that can never satisfy. We perform our rote religious rituals without considering that You, oh Lord, have said in Your word that You desire justice.
"I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
Our hearts are prone to wonder, Father. At our best, we long to do justice and see it come to life in our city and in our hearts. But at our worst, our pride turns gospel vision into a myopic apathy. Like spoiled children we cast aside Your commands and Your example for a "what about me" mentality. We don't care about our neighbors or coworkers and, honestly, we don't often care to know them. That takes work and our precious time.
Father, we see often and clearly that our hearts are evil and shallow and afraid. Won't You rend our hearts; won't You take our hearts of stone and give us hearts of flesh. Oh Father, we long for the Day of Lord, that day when You will come and set right all the things that we have set wrong, when You will avenge Your saints, when You will bind the broken, when You heal the afflicted. We long for Your coming when Your Justice will reign, when every knee will bow in submission and in proclamation that the Glory of our Great God is very reason we exist. We long for that day when, in You, we will live and move and are completely satisfied. And so we pray, Come, Lord Jesus. Won't you come!
This prayer, written by Josh Matejka, was read on the first Sunday of Advent.
You are creator of all things, seen and unseen. With a thought, you separated the day from the night. Galaxies explode in reaction to your glory. Stars shine the reflection of your perfect light to every corner of the universe. Every corner of every comet; every center of every star; every fiber of creation pulses and moves to the rhythms of your grandeur.
The wind blows the trees, which bend to your might. The waters rage as testament to your power… then still at the sound of your voice. Every drop of rain and every ray of sunshine falls where you dictate. Every creature in its place paints a picture of your wisdom and vision. In all ways, you show us the great beauty of your nature.
With your breath, you gave us life. And with that same breath, we turned from you. Chose a love less faithful, less beautiful than yours. We decided we were better off without your perfect loving grace.
And now, we feel the consequences of our choices. All of creation, from the fields to the waves, the beast and steward: they groan under the weight of sin. They cry out to their Creator: “Father, have mercy on us! Come quickly! Make us whole! Make us new!”
God, we confess that we have turned from you. In our short-sightedness, we have corrupted your perfect world. You commanded us to savor your creation, to enjoy its fruits, to care for each other. Instead, we have caved to our sinful desires. We take that which we think we deserve, all without a thought to how it came to us in the first place. We hoard your gifts and gorge ourselves to the point where there is no room for your love and compassion to fill us instead. Forgive us, oh God of creation! Make us whole! Make us new!
But, God, giver of great mercy, all is not lost! We live in this broken world, full of decay, full of tragedy, full of hate. But praise you, God, we are not of this world! For we have a hope, a hope that permeates all we do and say. In darkness, we cling to this promise:
The new creation is coming. You are making us new.
The waiting is painful God, and if it be your will, relieve our pain! Change our hearts that we would take the gospel to every corner of the earth. Let the love of your son Christ Jesus fall onto every accepting heart. Soften those hearts who have hardened to your voice. God, you have enabled us to be bearers of light, reflections of yourself in a world so desperately lacking the love and grace you gave us so freely, so undeservedly through Jesus Christ.
And God, as we wait for the day of final redemption, as you shape us to make us more like your Son, open our eyes to the glimpses of the new creation, the perfect world you are forming. Every loving interaction; every beautiful sunset; every moment of significance is a glance into the culmination of your plan for this perfect world. Where the lion will lay down with the lamb; where death will be beyond memory; where every tear will be wiped away.
God, we hold onto this hope and promise, born of your undying love for us, a love that cannot be broken by any powers that may be, a love that endures beyond time and life itself. Remind us of this love, this promise. Remind us of the new creation as we lament the old. And as we wait for the fulfillment of your work in us, remind us above all:
You are making us whole! You are making us new!