First Sunday of Advent: Week of November 28, 2021
Begin your devotion time by praying this prayer: Mighty God, you listen to us when we pray. Give us the courage to cry and praise, and make us aware of your presence every day. Amen.
Reflect on the Way of Love together: This week’s practice on the Way of Love is PRAY. Talk about your prayer life. When do you pray? For what do you pray? What prayer practices are special to you?
Adult and Small Child
Read: Psalm 25
Reflect: I love spending time with my friends! However, many of them live far away from me. We stay in touch by sending email notes, Zooming once in a while, and sometimes I will send them something that I have made for them. Friends are important. They are the ones we can turn to when we are at the end of our rope and also when we need to celebrate. They are the ones who will listen and tell us the truth, the truth that helps us to see things clearly. The writer of this Psalm reminds us that God is our friend. We rarely think of God as a friend, as someone that we can depend on, as someone that we can talk to, as someone we can hang out with. It takes a change of thinking to look at God as a friend. Just talking to God is how we build that relationship. Honest conversation, one where we share our joys, sorrows, silliness, hopes, fears, all of who we are is what prayer is about.
Respond: While we can pray to God anywhere at any time, it is helpful to have some place special to remind us that God is with us. You can make a special place in your house to remind you of God’s presence with you. Decide with your family where that place should be. In that place you can put things that remind you of your friendship with God. Some things you might include are: a cross to remind you of Jesus, a battery powered candle to remind you of the light of God’s love, or some special things you have found outside to remind you of the wonder of God’s world. What else would you like to put in your special place to be with God?
- Linnae Peterson
Adult and Elementary
Read: Psalm 25
Reflect: Did you know that today’s reading Psalm 25 is a prayer and a song? There are 150 of these prayers and songs. They express every emotion you have had or could feel. Take Psalm 95, there is happiness, “Come, let us sing to the Lord, let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.” (Psalm 95:1, NRSV) Psalm 88 has sadness, “O Lord, my God, my Savior, by day and night I cry to you.” (Psalm 88:1, paraphrased)
A long time ago, these were just prayers of one person. Their prayers must have been answered somehow because they became important enough to write down and to turn into songs that we still say and sing in church.
What is your psalm? What prayer is in your heart today? What song do you have to sing and share? Maybe it’s a happy one. Maybe sad. Maybe a bit of both. Or maybe your psalm is full of other feelings you can share with God and the people who love and care about you.
Respond: Write a psalm. Write a prayer that is in your heart today. You could even write it by drawing pictures instead of words. Or use stickers. Be as creative you want. Whatever way you do it, God always understands your prayers. You could include any or all of these suggestions. Start by saying hello to God. You can tell God how you are feeling. You can tell God why you are feeling that way. Did something specific happen to make you feel that way? You can ask God any questions you have. You can ask God to help you or others. Tell God what you need. And you can end by thanking God for listening.
- Patrick Kangrga
Adult and Youth
Read: Psalm 25
Reflect: In this scripture, we hear David asking for forgiveness and guidance. David is in conversation with God through his prayer. David knows that he has not always made the best decisions, but he asks God to deliver him, admits his faults, and turns to God for salvation. There is recognition in what God can do when we put our trust in God.
Respond: This Psalm talks about vulnerability and admitting our transgressions, and turning to prayer for restoration. How often do you think of the sins of your youth? How do you remind yourself that God is merciful? Take some time to intentionally pray and make space to hear what God is saying to you.
- Luz Montes
Adult and Adults
Read: Psalm 25
Reflect: In the beginning of this Psalm, we see David completely giving himself to God, asking God for help, and then asking God to remember and not to remember certain things. It’s certainly not a crazy idea to ask someone to forget something, especially if they are unsavory characteristics or actions. When David asks God to not remember some things, he’s also asking for God’s forgiveness. In his prayer, David is naming all the ways in which the Lord has been good to him.
We see a lot of different types of things being said in this prayer to God. We see David wanting forgiveness, glorification of God, and a laundry list of needs. It is very clear that prayer is integral to David’s spiritual well-being. This Scripture reminds us that it is incredibly important to pray and spend time with God, especially when times are tough. However, it is equally vital to remember to also spend time with God when the times are good too. How could you ever say all the things David says to God if you only spend time with God when things are rough?
Respond: David not only fully submits himself to God, but also glorifies God before making supplications. Imagine the different ways you could pray, and go try them! This might mean using icons and prayer beads, or maybe writing things down in a journal or coloring. Be encouraged and inspired by the world around you and how that can influence your life in prayer. Be like David in your prayers and give yourself up to God. Share your new prayerful experiences with someone you trust.
- Erin Sample