I believe that one of my strengths in worship is merging together various existing resources to create a worship experience that is real and fresh for those gathered, but I often bemoan my lack of (or at least perceived lack of) an ability to write my own resources, so I've been trying to do this more often, and I figure that putting it out there might help me to get some feedback and to improve.
I general preach the Pastoral Prayer (following the sermon) off the cuff, but for tonight, I wanted to write something out, so here is what I've created:
Glorious and Incarnate God,
We give you thanks this evening for the opportunity to worship together in this place, for the excitement of celebrating the miracle of the birth of Jesus once again this year, for the hope, peace, love, and joy that you bring to our lives.
We ask that you would minister to each of us as we have need, that you might search our hearts and know those things that weigh us down, and that in your wondrous love and infinite wisdom you might lift our burdens.
This evening, we look toward the future with hope, knowing that life is full of possibilities because of the birth of the Christ child, who came to save us all through his example of a life perfectly lived: a life that brought liberation to the captives, freedom to those enslaved, hope to the downtrodden, and strength to the weak.
We look outside of ourselves tonight and we see hope for the world, we see hope for our nation, we see hope for the church.
And then we look back into our hearts and we see hope for ourselves, that we might love ourselves as you have loved us, that we might be gracious with ourselves as you are gracious to us, that we might forgive ourselves as you have forgiven us.
And so, in the name of the one who comes this evening in the form of a child, and as he grows in stature teaches us to pray, let us join together in the prayer of our Savior: “Our father…”