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Thank you for participating in our weekly invitation to prayer. We call on you now to join us in “40 Days of Prayer to Transform: A Journey to Newness.”  Beginning December 12 and moving daily through January 20, members of the National Council of Churches and all communion partners will join in praying for hope, unity, and healing. During this Advent/Christmas season and into the New Year we put our hope in the ability and desire of God, through Jesus Christ, to heal and transform hearts and minds. We look for the Holy Spirit to breathe God’s newness into individual lives, faith communities, the soul of our nation, indeed, the whole world.

A Prayer for Parents Everywhere

Today’s prayer by Charles R. Foster, Candler School of Theology, Emory University, is from“United Against Racism: Churches for Change,” ©New York: Friendship Press, 2018, p. 112. You may purchase the book through Friendship Press, on their website at

O God of mercy and grace, justice and peace, love and hope,

we pray for your compassionate and healing presence in the difficult conversation of parents, foster parents, and grandparents, here and everywhere with their children.

We pray they will discover the persistence of your grace as they seek to explain the unexplainable.

Strengthen their resolve when they see no justice. Be present when they feel alone. Provide safety where they find no peace. Uphold them when they must be strong. Make them bold when their children need protection.

Help them speak wisely to thwart words of hate and discrimination. Help them love unconditionally to undermine prejudice and bias. Help them see alternative possibilities when none seem evident. Help them discover that in these difficult moments, they are not alone, for you O God, are with them.


Called to Form a Family  (Matthew 1:18-25 NRSV)

The Scripture reading is drawn from Sunday’s lesson for December 13 2020 ©Uniform Lessons Series, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA.

Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20 But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall name him Emmanuel,”

which means, “God is with us.” 24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25 but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.