New Book  now Available

        Here is an anthology of over 1100 brief prayers and thought-starters, for each day of the year, with almost 400 original prayers by Bruce Prewer.
        Included is both a subject index and an index of authors-- an ecumenical collection of about 300 different sources.
Prayers for Busy People
      Title:  Brief Prayers for Busy People.
          Author: Bruce D Prewer
        ISBN 978-1-62880-090-6
        Available from Australian Church Resources,
web site www.acresources.com.au
email 
service@acresources.com.au
        or by order from your local book shop
        or online on amazon.

YEAR C, CHRISTMAS EVE

 December 24

 

Luke 2: 1-14.               (Mini Sermon 1: ďThe UnexpectedĒ)

Titus 2: 11-14              (Mini Sermon 2: ďGrace has AppearedĒ).

Isaiah 9:2-7...

Psalm 96

 

GREETING

 

The grace and wonder of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

And also with you.

 

Now is God about to do a wonderful thing.

A young woman shall give birth to a child.

And his name shall be Jesus, meaning Liberator.

For he shall save his people from their sins.

 

Holy, holy , holy, is the Lord of mighty galaxies,

the God also of tiny babies!

The whole world is filled with Godís glory!

 

            OR ó

 

The people who walked in darkness

have seen a great light!

O sing to the Lord a new song,

sing to the Lord all the earth!.

 

Those who lived in a world of deep darkness,

on them has the light shined!

Let the heavens be glad and let the earth rejoice

let the plains exult and the trees of the forest sing

for joy before the Lord who comes to us.

 

May the glory of the grace of Christ Jesus be reborn in you this night.

And also in you.

 

A COLLECT FOR CHRISTMAS EVE

 

You, awesome God, have made this wondrous evening shine with a radiance exceeding all the stars in the night skies. For our liberation and healing, you have seized the initiative and visited us in the most famous stable in the universe. Lead us to draw close with a wonder like those who are making their first visit, and with the sturdy love of those who have known your beauty for many years. Through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Amen!

 

END AND BEGINNING

 

At the end of a long journey

            for a called people

            seeking a destiny;

at the end of an enforced trek

            to a highland town

            with no room for the poor;

at the end of the hard travail

            for a teenage woman

            sheltering in a shed:

 

Came the unspeakable Gift;

            the awesome self-emptying,

            the embodied Word,

            the great folly of God;

that baby crying in the night

            who frightened jewelled kings

            and shook the gates of hell.

                                    ©  B.D. Prewer 1992

 

CONFESSION AND ASSURANCE

 

Friends, let us admit to each other, and to God, our errant ways. Let us pray.

 

We have been stupid.

Because, in spite of what happened at Bethlehem, we still expect to find You among the manicured people who ooze success and self advertisement;

Lord have mercy.

Lord have mercy.

 

We have been impatient.

Because we sometimes wish you had not come in humility but with an army to overthrow corrupt rulers and to publicly humiliate the greedy and ruthless;

Christ have mercy.

Christ have mercy.

 

We have been mislead.

Because your ways are not our ways and your brand of foolish meekness outsaves and outglories everything else on earth around us or in the heavens beyond.

Lord have mercy

Lord have mercy.

 

Most wonderful God, let not our celebrations be despoiled by either unrepentance or apathy in the presence such abundant forgiveness and rehabilitation.

May the Spirit at the heart of Christmas, breathe into us that healing which makes all things new.

For your nameís sake.

Amen!

 

FORGIVENESS

 

My friends,

 

ďYou shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.Ē

Jesus said,  ďI have come that you might have life, and have it to the uttermost.Ē

Glory to God! We are a forgiven and liberated people!

 

Glory to God in the highest

and on earth peace and goodwill to all people.

.

 

PSALM 96

 

Sing a new carol to God!

Sing to God all the earth!

Sing a new song to Godís name!

 

Publish the good news daily,

tell this happening everywhere,

tell the miracle to every person!

 

Our Lord is great, and great is our praise.

Compared to him other gods are nothing,

the things we idolise are hollow

 

Our God formed all the galaxies;

dazzling is the majestic Presence,

all-beautiful is Godís power

 

Give of yourselves, human family,

give to God all your energies,

give the glory that is due.

 

Bring to worship the best you have;

adore the splendour of Holy Love;

tremble, tremble all the earth.

 

Tell the whole world it does have  a God.

Life is undergirded with values

by which we shall be judged

 

Let the stars sparkle and the earth laugh,

let the sea roar and everything in it.

Let farmlands cheer and the cities dance,

let the bushland and forest sing for joy;

 

Ready for the God who comes,

who comes to weigh the world,

who deals out better than justice

and tests us with the litmus of love.

 

  B D Prewer, 2012

 

PRAYER FOR CHILDREN

 

Wonderful God,

            on this exciting night

            you gave us the best present

            in the whole universe!

You gave us

            your true Child,

            Jesus our brother

            and Saviour!

Thanks a million, million times

            for loving this world

            so very much.

                        B D Prewer & Open Book Publishers

 

COLLECT

 

Most loving God, you make us happy each year as we remember the birth of your true Son Jesus. As we joyfully receive him now as our Saviour, so may we in the fullness of time look upon his glory with love and wonder. For through him, to you in union with the Spirit, rises all our gratitude and praise, world without end

Amen!.

 

 

SERMON 1: THE UNEXPECTED

 

God in a cow shed!

 

In our eyes, God is always doing the unexpected thing;

            not because it is God who is hooked on novelty,

            but because Godís kind of love is extremely rare

            in our love-deprived, world community.

 

We would not have anticipated Christmas.

            We wouldnít have expected that Godís most special thing

            in the whole of history of life on this planet

            would take place in a cowshed at Bethlehem.

 

But it was so.

 

Nor would we have expected that Godís special thing

            would take place in the vulnerability

            of yet another tiny human baby.

 

But it was so.

 

Babies are plentiful in our world,

            thousands upon thousands born every day,

            but Godís pure wisdom planned another;

one more human infant

            in whom Godís true-love

            could be born among us

            full of unimaginable truth and grace.

 

Thank God, it was so.

 

Tonight we celebrate

            the hallowing of our human flesh.

Tonight our potential strengths are uncovered

            and our weakness overcome.

Tonight our self-respect is recreated

            by that common yet unique baby.

 

Tonight our faith is renewed

            as the unexpected God

            does his unexpected thing

            by which the whole world

            is in profound sense reborn

through one more human baby.

 

With that birth, the world is never the same again;

            never the same valley of broken hopes,

            never the same stony field of loneliness.

Never the same barren hilltops

            where despairing souls build altars

            to an unknown God.

 

Tonight we once more celebrate

            that True-love has broken loose

            on planet earth.

The very soul of God

            wears our flesh and shares our laughter,

            bears our smell and shares our toil,

            dares our dreams and shares our frustration.

 

With the resilience of Divine grace,

with the light which cannot be put out,

with the joy which no one can take from us,

            God comes among us

            gasping a first human breath

            and making a little crying protest

            at the apparent coldness of existence.

 

It is all so wonder-fully odd,

            yet so wonder-fully right

            for this kind of world.

 

That is why we come

            at the midnight hour

            in anticipation;

that the unexpected God

            may meet us again

            in the stable-like stuff

            of our common experience.

 

O come, o come, Immanuel!

 

 

SERMON 2: GRACE HAS APPEARED

 

Titus 2:11

 

For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all people.  Titus 2:11

 

To night we celebrate the hidden grace

            that is now made wonderfully seeable, hearable, touchable, nurseable, hugable,.adorable! 

The baby Jesus in Maryís arms

            begins Godís ultimate revelation of saving grace.

 

Sometimes I hear preachers

who seem to think that the grace of God was not present until Jesus died on the cross. On this wonderful midnight I strongly put it to you that the grace of God has been with us from the beginning of human history. Always with us and for us!

 

Of course Godís grace reached its consummate work on the cross.

But it was not a new thing, but the visible, and the ultimate,  implementation of something that has always been flowing from the heart of God from the very foundation of the world. Hidden from human eyes but active in human souls.

 

Grace is Godís prodigal generosity.

It is Godís renovating gift. It is Godís healing, liberating activity. It cannot be bought by holy prayers or good deeds or Ďcorrectí theology. It is given! Utterly given!  Sheer bonus!

 

Grace is Godís active loving;

unpredictable and immeasurable. Grace recognises no obstacles and will not be confined to any limits.

 

Grace is always precious;

always given to humanity at personal cost, like the cross.

 

At Bethlehem, in a smelly stable

where poor people are sheltering from the chill of the night among the hill country of Judea, grace is made visible. Now we see it, hear it, nurse it, cuddle it, love it, adore it.

 

Jesus is born.

 

 For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all people.  Titus 2:11

 

 

IN THE KNOW

 

From the first day youíve cared for us,

            shaping the soul,

by your Spirit through long ages,

            knowing us well,

grieving our sins and sharing joys,

            loving us all.

 

Now you know us in a new way,

            in our flesh cast,

cradled in a young motherís arms,

            suckling her breast,

learning in the hard school of life,

            as creatures must.

 

Now we know you in a new way,

            God with no mask,

tasting all of our hopes and fears,

            from dawn to dusk,

a weakling in a hard, strong world,

            a child at risk.

 

Of that which human ears have heard,

            our carols ring,

for that which eyes have seen and loved,

            all joy be sung,

to that which hands have touched and nursed,

            we now belong.

                        Inspired by Luke 2: 1-20 and 1 John 1: 1-4

                        ©  B.D. Prewer 1994

 

INTERCESSIONS

 

Our God, Immanuel, while we meet tonight in warm fellowship and love,

we pray for those who are still out in the cold.

May the light of Bethlehemís greatest Child, touch every dark place.

 

For those who because of persistent hatreds, terrorism or war, are far from the promise of peace and goodwill;

Come, Immanuel, and help your servants complete the works of love

and peace which you have launched.

 

For those who this night live is refugee camps, squat in derelict buildings, or sleep in back alleys or on park benches.

Come, Immanuel, and aid all your lost and homeless children to find their true inheritance.

 

For those who are ill, at home or in hospital; the diseased and maimed, and the latest accident victims of our highways and streets.

Come, Immanuel, and bring comfort and hope through those nurses and doctors who do your healing work this night.

 

For those grieving folk who for the first time are facing Christmas without a precious loved one at their side.

Come Immanuel, and give to the grieving that deep soul-peace that no human voice or hand can offer.

 

For the church in every land, wherever it worships and works in peace, and especially where it lives under constant threat and persecution.

Come Immanuel, and give all your people the assurance of your constant presence, and your all-sufficient grace

 

And now, holy Friend, we pray for ourselves, that this Christmas may not pass in vain.

O Spirit of Christ,

you are the very Word of God who became flesh,

give each of us the will and the wisdom

to back up our prayers with appropriate actions.

To your praise and glory.

Amen.

 

SENDING OUT

 

It is good to have been here!

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;

those who lived in deepest night, are lit up with a brilliant sight.

Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.

The spread of his influence and of his peace will never end.

 

Therefore, go out into the world with great joy,

            and the grace of Bethlehemís matchless Child,

            the love of the God who never ceases to amaze,

            and the fellowship of the Spirit who never wearies,

            will be with you this holy night and evermore.

Thanks be to God!

 

 

 

THREE BOOKS BY BRUCE PREWER
    THAT ARE CURRENTLY AVAILABLE
              BY ORDERING ONLINE
    OR FROM YOUR LOCAL CHRISTIAN BOOKSHOP

My Best Mate,  (first edition 2013)

ISBN 978-1-937763-78-7: AUSTRALIA:

ISBN :  978-1-937763-79- 4: USA

Australian Prayers

Third edition May 2014

ISBN   978-1-62880-033-3 Australia

Jesus Our Future

Prayers for the Twenty First Century

 Second Edition May 2014

ISBN 978-1-62880-032-6

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Although this book was written with young people in mind, it has proved to be popular with Christians or seekers of all ages. Through the eyes and ears of a youth named Chip, big questions are raised and wrestled with; faith and doubt,  unanswered  prayers, refugees,  death and grief, racism and bullying, are just a few of the varied topics confronted in these pages. Suitable as a gift to the young, and proven to be helpful when it has been used as a study book for adults.

Australian Prayers has been a valuable prayer resource for over thirty years.  These prayers are suitable for both private and public use and continue to be as fresh and relevant today as ever.  Also, the author encourages users to adapt geographical or historical images to suit local, current situations.

This collection of original, contemporary prayers is anchored firmly in the belief that no matter what the immediate future may hold for us, ultimately Jesus is himself both the goal and the shape of our future.  He is the key certainty towards which the Spirit of God is inexorably leading us in this scientific and high-tech era. Although the first pages of this book were created for the turn of the millennium, the resources in this volume reflect the interests, concerns and needs of our post-modern world.