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The Deacon's Bench

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From the poetic pen of the Concord Pastor comes this beautiful prayer for this first Monday of Advent. I can’t think of a better way to begin a new year, and a new week:
 

With Advent begins a new year of grace, Lord,

the grace that is yours to share and give…

In this new year I want to offer you
an open door to my heart, Lord,
for you to enter and make your home there…

I offer you the corners of my heart’s garden
where I let the weeds grow wild:
Lord, help me weed out
whatever does not nourish my life and soul…

I offer you the closets of my heart,
stuffed with old grudges and resentments:
Lord, help me discard anything
that fails to help me heal and grow…

I offer you my heart’s cartons of wasted time,
boxes of foolishness
and bags of misspent effort:
Lord, help me clear out the trash of my mistakes
and give me a new beginning…

I offer you the cellar of my heart, Lord,
where a locked trunk of hurt and anger
aches to be opened with the key of your healing grace:
unlock what keeps me prisoner
to my memories and disappointments…

I offer you my heart’s hopes and dreams, Lord,
for this new year of grace:
my pledge to pray more regularly;
my desire to grow in your love;
my need to rely on your wisdom and word;
my promise to ask for your help each day;
my hope to be more forgiving of those who offend me,
more faithful in serving others’ needs,
more welcoming of those who are alone…

I offer you this new year of grace, Lord,
and ask for the strength and resolve I need
to live it as one worthy of the name Christian,
ready for the work of a disciple,
confident of your presence in everything I do
and in all I meet and know…

I offer you the new year ahead, Lord
– one day at a time –
and I pray for the serenity, the grace
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can
and the wisdom to know the difference…

Amen.

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