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Spirituality & Prayer / Worship & Liturgy

Sledge

The words that describe our deepest longings for God, our highest praise for God, and our most distant wanderings from God are often the starting points of our prayers. Prayers and Litanies for the Christian Seasons focuses each prayer or litany on one word in the vocabulary of our faith, moving through the liturgical year by voicing the language of our hearts. This book is divided into the six seasons of the Christian year: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost. Primarily designed for congregational worship, the words are appropriate for invocations, prayers of confession, pastoral prayers, and benedictions.A reader using the book for personal devotion will find the poetic style of the prayers fitting for moving through the year “word by word.”

—C.Welton Gaddy Executive Director,The Interfaith Alliance,Washington, DC Pastor for Preaching and Worship, Northminister Church, Monroe, Louisiana

“Sledge’s prayers and litanies are biblically sound, theologically deep, and spiritually fresh. Her ability to tell the hard truth about human experience without ever ceasing to thank God is a great gift to those of us who have had enough of sentimental Christianity.”

Prayers & Litanies

“Sensitively touching and measuring the pulsebeat of our souls, Sledge supplies us with language that ushers us into the presence of the Holy One and enables us to speaks of all that matters most.The pace, tone, and promise of her carefully selected words resonate with the undeniable rhythms, aspirations, and problems of our spirits. She blends essential interests of personal spirituality with fundamental themes of the Christian year. A subtle, virtually imperceptible transformation occurs while paying attention to the captivating terminology of this book born in the depths of the author’s religious experience, and we suddenly find ourselves—perhaps with astonishment—framing our own words and uninhibitedly speaking to God about the intimate concerns of our lives.”

—Barbara Brown Taylor Author of The Preaching Life and When God Is Silent

“There can’t be enough fresh air or good prayers. Sharlande has given us more of both in crisp, useful, seasonal words.We will breathe and pray better because of her.” —Donna E. Schaper Associate Conference Minister Western Area, Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ

Sharlande Sledge is Associate Pastor of Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco,Texas.

ISBN 1-57312-192-4

Sharlande Sledge


Advent Come, Emmanuel God, in whatever way you will. Be Light that guides us trembling toward the manger, dazzles us into irrational love, and shines hope into the world’s forgotten places. Little by little, give us Light in its completeness until at last we see you face to face. O come, O come, Emmanuel.


Awakening Wake us up, God! Here we are, rubbing the sleep out of our eyes, still drowsy and dozing. And you, Emmanuel God, are awake with life, coming to us from on high to startle us with incarnation. Stretching and yawning from ordinary time, we stumble to the door of your Advent. At first we may not recognize the outline of your face. The night is too much with us, but the dawning is with you. The light whispers your coming. So wake us up, Lord Jesus. Wake us when our expectations are too low. Wake us when our expectations are too high. Wake us when we least expect it. Wake us to your everlasting light.

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Coming Come to us, Lord Jesus, in every purple-patterned life, every wrap of loving arms in shivering December. Come to us in the midst of our preparations, in spite of our preparations. Come, Lord Jesus, not just to those we can see in this warm, comfortable place, but come to all your children. Come to your children in places where the land is parched with drought or cracked with ice, where lines are drawn with terrifying precision between one ethnic group and another, between those whose hands have the power to open bags of grain and those whose hands hold nothing. In your spirit of healing and wholeness, redeem and transform our world. Come to your children whose cries echo through the darkness for you. Come to open the ears of our hearts, so that we can hear your morning call. Come to shake us awake and nudge us to the dawn, so we may shine reflections of your light. Come by here . . . and there . . . and there. “O come, O come, Emmanuel.�

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Christmas Word among all words, dwell among us. Very God of very God, live in our world for a while. Vulnerable Child, be our God in human flesh. Holy Babe of Bethlehem, cry our tears with us. Eternity captured in human time, reveal your glory to the nations. Word made flesh, live, breathe, walk among us.


Adoration Holy Love born in a manger, bathed in the light of the star, we pause to whisper our worship before you. Creator of all that was and is and yet shall be, the universe reverberates with joy, and our voices echo its “glorias.� Deity perfectly expressed in human flesh, Dayspring from on high, you breathe peace on our earthly hearts. Thirsting babe, born for the hunger of the world, we listen to your infant cries. Mystery made visible, loved into Light, we may soon leap and dance our joy or one day build a cathedral to the heavens in your name. But tonight, in quietness and stillness, we keep watch before your cradle.

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Blessing Go into this new year to be a beginning for others— to be a singer to the songless, a storyteller to the wanderer; to become a beginning of hope for the despairing, of healing for the hurting, of assurance for the doubting, of reconciliation for the divided. Go forth believing in beginnings, making beginnings, being beginnings so that you may not just grow old but grow new each day of this amazing life God calls us to live with each other. In the name of the God of ages past, who makes all things new, so we can remember yesterday, dream of tomorrow, and live in God’s love today. Go in the peace of Christ.

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Christ Child Newborn God, you are as young as an infant child, yet ageless as the oceans, mountains, and stars. Two thousand years have not diminished your presence. Indeed, you add splendor to splendor, and the intensity of your face shines brighter still for those who recognize your presence. Enter every longing heart. Awaken our eyes, God, as you did Simeon’s old and cloudy ones. Shine your incomprehensible, in-the-beginning presence through the sunlight and into our hearts so that we can see beyond the poverty of Mary and Joseph to the treasure of the child Jesus. We long to see the Word made flesh, for we, like Simeon and Anna, are a mixture of fragile hope and aging bodies. Let us learn from them and all the wise ones who guide us in faith that you are the one for whom we have been waiting; that your grace is lived out in gladness, shared sorrow, and eternal tenderness among us; that your face is fleshed out again and again in all your children; and that your blessing is upon us, for in you our eyes have seen the glory of the Lord.

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Spirituality & Prayer / Worship & Liturgy

Sledge

The words that describe our deepest longings for God, our highest praise for God, and our most distant wanderings from God are often the starting points of our prayers. Prayers and Litanies for the Christian Seasons focuses each prayer or litany on one word in the vocabulary of our faith, moving through the liturgical year by voicing the language of our hearts. This book is divided into the six seasons of the Christian year: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost. Primarily designed for congregational worship, the words are appropriate for invocations, prayers of confession, pastoral prayers, and benedictions.A reader using the book for personal devotion will find the poetic style of the prayers fitting for moving through the year “word by word.”

—C.Welton Gaddy Executive Director,The Interfaith Alliance,Washington, DC Pastor for Preaching and Worship, Northminister Church, Monroe, Louisiana

“Sledge’s prayers and litanies are biblically sound, theologically deep, and spiritually fresh. Her ability to tell the hard truth about human experience without ever ceasing to thank God is a great gift to those of us who have had enough of sentimental Christianity.”

Prayers & Litanies

“Sensitively touching and measuring the pulsebeat of our souls, Sledge supplies us with language that ushers us into the presence of the Holy One and enables us to speaks of all that matters most.The pace, tone, and promise of her carefully selected words resonate with the undeniable rhythms, aspirations, and problems of our spirits. She blends essential interests of personal spirituality with fundamental themes of the Christian year. A subtle, virtually imperceptible transformation occurs while paying attention to the captivating terminology of this book born in the depths of the author’s religious experience, and we suddenly find ourselves—perhaps with astonishment—framing our own words and uninhibitedly speaking to God about the intimate concerns of our lives.”

—Barbara Brown Taylor Author of The Preaching Life and When God Is Silent

“There can’t be enough fresh air or good prayers. Sharlande has given us more of both in crisp, useful, seasonal words.We will breathe and pray better because of her.” —Donna E. Schaper Associate Conference Minister Western Area, Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ

Sharlande Sledge is Associate Pastor of Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco,Texas.

ISBN 1-57312-192-4

Sharlande Sledge

Prayers & Litanies for the Christian Season  

The words that describe our deepest longings for God, our highest praise for God, and our most distant wanderings from God are often the sta...