Friday, December 10, 2010

A prayer based round Emmanuel-God with us

23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:23 quoting Isaiah 7:14

The word Immanuel- God with us comes readily to mind round Christmas time. That is the context that Matthew uses the quote from Isaiah in his gospel. But the idea of Immanuel- God with us (the immanence of God) is something that I find significant and important in the Christian faith, Not the God way out there, but the God who dwells with us and within us and is with us... or in my creative use of English what I call the "With-us-ness of God". the image I've attached to this posting is of a person walking in the wilderness almost a clique for journeying alone but at the same time for many has the echoes of the poem 'footprints' which talks of the with-us-ness of God. Here is a prayer of thanksgiving and confession from a advent service in which I have tried to capture this.
I do try and stick to a basic poetic-line structure but have put a couple of joiners in from thanksgiving to confession and also an affirmation of God's forgiveness.

Loving and righteous God

We come together to celebrate in song and word

Your great gift of love,

We remember at Christmas that you sent your son into the world

To become one of us and to save us

Immanuel –God with us

Creator of all that is

God with out beginning and end

In a mystery so deep

You became a child in the womb

You were born into our world

Not to riches and privilege and palace

But in a stable to ordinary folk

So wonderfully blessed

Immanuel- God with us

Jesus Christ, prince of peace

Child born at Bethlehem

We praise God for you

As a man

You showed us God’s love

You healed the sick

cared for the poor

Welcomed the outcast

Invited us to come to You

Immanuel –God with us

Jesus Christ, Saviour and friend

In your death on the cross

You made it possible for us to be forgiven

To know God and be adopted as beloved sons and daughters

In your being raised from the dead you gave us the new life

Immanuel- God with us

By your spirit you dwell with us still

In the midst of our everyday life there is the presence of the eternal

You light our way

Lead us into truth

You comfort us and strengthen us to live for you

Immanuel- God with us

God because of this great love and mercy

We turn to you and ask that you may forgive us for the things we have done wrong

Forgive us

we have thought it all revolved around us and our wants

We have not keep your word or followed your ways

We do not always love as you have loved us

We are not as gracious to all as you have been gracious to us

We have done what we should not do and left undone much of the good you call us to do.

Forgive us O Lord

Hear again the assurance from Emmanuel -God with us

That if we confess our sins God is faithful and just and forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness

You are forgiven

Fill us again with you spirit O God

Enable us to know the love that came at Christmas

Empower us to show the love that came at Christmas

To family and friend,

Stranger outcast and even foe

To bring your good news to all

Immanuel – God with us


  1. This is wonderful, Howard. Very inspiring!

  2. Hey Howard, my name is John. I read a lot of blogs on religion and prayer and I've ended up here once or twice before. I'd love to hear your thoughts about this prayer exchange website I thought it was an interesting idea and would be curious to hear what you (or other christians) think about it

    I'll check back here in the next day or two, thanks & God bless
    John W.

  3. Good to connect with you John here in the Weird wired world. And I am humbled that you would ask my opinion.

    I looked at your prayer market and inviting people to pray for each other is a great idea. I particularly like a facebook page called 'praying people' set up by Rev Mark Brown, who until last year was the director of the New Zealand Bible Society. (
    His stated aim was to create a space where people around the world could pray for each other and receive prayer. It has a sense of being a community rather than the idea of a market place... And that where I find an unease with, the connection of prayer and payment. The bible passage that came to mind was Jesus in the temple confronting the money changers saying 'Stop making my father's house a market place' (John 2:16).

    There is a difference between inviting people to pray for a situation and inviting people to simply read out a prayer (for cyber or real remuneration). Hopefully those praying for a certain situation are lead by God's Holy Spirit, rather than just reciting words. Prayer for others, I believe is motivated by compassion (suffering alongside). Hopefully internet opportunities augment being part of a faith community/Church where there is genuine relational care and prayer.

    I post prayers on my blog because they are designed for public worship and I do so as a resource for others (freely given) and with a hope that they connect with where people are at. You'll probably notice they are what are called prayers of Thanksgiving and Confession and as such general prayers not specific prayers for specific situations.

    I found some of the prayers on your homepage a little disturbing. Praying for football teams and prayer as political discourse and one of the issues of having a pay for pray site is that you could struggle to discern between the genuine and the trivial. I don't see prayer as simply wishful thinking.

    I’m not happy to endorse Prayer market. I am happy to keep dialoguing with you John. I would be interested to hear from you why you think simply reading our prayers would be somehow efficacious? If you want a more learned opinion you might try asking the opinion of my good friend DrMark his blog site is in my blogroll and he lectures in New Testament here at a Bible College in New Zealand.

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