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Monthly prayers

January

There is a thread of hope running through the lectionary passages for January - hope of restoration (Jeremiah 31:12-13, Isaiah 62:4, Nehemiah 8:9-10), hope that this will be 'the year of the Lord's favour' (Luke 4:19).

'They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall become like a watered garden, and they shall never languish again.

'Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.' (Jeremiah 31:12-13)

It's a hope that anticipates and that comes with the encouragement to watch, to look to the four directions of the earth (Jeremiah 31:8, Isaiah 43:5-7) in anticipation of the goodness, grace and mercy of our Lord.

So as we enter 2016, we use an 'Invocation to the Christ of the Four Directions' to form our prayers. 


3 January (Second Sunday after Christmas Day)

We call upon the Christ of the East:

You, whose birth was foretold by prophets,
You, whose birth was heralded by the eastern star,
You, whose birth was surrounded by the radiance of angels,
You, whose birth was illuminated by the heavenly hosts,
You, whose birth was attended by watchful shepherds,
You, whose birth was visited by wise ones from the East,
You, whose birth bespoke the dawning of a new age of love and peace.

As the sunrise signals a new day,
O Christ of the East:

Bring now new vision and imagination into our minds.
Purify us with your fire of clarity and burn in our hearts.
Humble us, with Bethlehem's birth, in knowledge and love of you.
Soar us to the heights of angel / eagle vision.
Show us the lion and lamb lying down together.
Illuminate our bodies with the light of your presence.

O You, whose birth brings a peace which passes
all understanding, raise us to a new awareness.

O Christ, of the East, Sun of God,
we call upon you.
Amen.


10 January (Baptism of the Lord)

We call upon the Christ of the South:

You, who in fresh youth were drawn, unsated, to grow in wisdom in the temple.
You, who grew in stature as you grew in spiritual strength,
You, who through abiding trust in your Father, taught others to trust in you,
You, who transformed fish and bread into a midday meal for thousands,
You, who at a wedding, led many to shed old skins of self as you shed old wine skins for new wine,
You, who, in parable, planted abundant energy in those who truly listened,
You, who in healing touch and word, brought wholeness to the ill and broken.

As the warm south wind caresses the summer,
O Christ of the South:

Enter our hearts and heal us.
Grow us back to laughter, trust and innocence.
Warm our souls with gentleness,
refresh our wilted wills,
Cultivate in us new green, growing aspects to our lives.
reconnect us to the web of life.

O Christ of the South, cultivator of souls,
we call upon you.
Amen.


17 January (Second Sunday after Epiphany)

We call upon the Christ of the West:

You, who saw the harvest bounty of your mission,
You, who reaped the wisdom of the Spirit,
You, who sat in thanksgiving with your friends,
You, who were betrayed at the price of your body and your blood,
You, who prayed alone in the garden contemplating that which could not be altered,
You, who understood that transfiguration comes through the gateway of death,
You, who bore your death for us all.

As sunset and twilight come upon us,
O Christ of the West:

Comfort us with your knowledge of the darkness.
Lead us, in silence and solitude, to see that which we must allow to die in us.
Teach us to pray, 'Your Kingdom come, Your will be done.'
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts and give us the pure water of righteousness to quench our everlasting thirst.

O Christ of the West, protector of our souls,
we call upon you.
Amen. 


24 January (Third Sunday after Epiphany)

O Christ of the North:

You, who bore the pain of Calvary,
You, who blessed the ones who cursed you,
You, who lay in the tomb, who in your rising, fulfilled the expectations and prophecies of the ancestors,
You, who in your ascending, gave the promise of a new covenant for us all,
In the dark cold of winter, begin the quiet cycle of birth again in our hearts as we tell your story.

As we journey through our own winters
O Christ of the North:

Keep vigil with us as we bear the harsh, cold times of our lives.
Wrap us in cloaks of clarity and strength when the strong, north winds of challenge blow around us.
Help us to remember to call upon your many blessings for our endurance and creativity.
Keep us in honesty and truth with the remembrance of your faithfulness even unto crucifixion.

O Christ of the North, guardian of us all,
we call upon you.
Amen.

 

31 January (Fourth Sunday after Epiphany)

Christ of the East,
Christ of the South,
Christ of the West,
Christ of the North:

We turn our hearts to you
hoping and praying for
peace and life
to dispel the shadows
of war and death.

We turn our faces to you
trusting and believing for
love and grace
to shine upon us and
to radiate to all.

We turn our lives to you
even if we know only in part
what we will one day know fully
even as we are fully known.
And now may faith hope and love,
love most of all,
abide in us as we journey together through this year.
Amen.

All prayers adapted from Suzanne Fageol, Invocation to the Christ of the Four Directions, from Shine on, Star of Bethlehem, compiled by Geoffrey Duncan, Christian Aid / CAFOD, Canterbury Press, 2001 

 

For more of our prayers, please use the red arrows below to see our prayers from previous months.

 

Feeding centre in Guidan Ider village

Our reflection for this month.

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