Praying at Home Today: Wednesday 23 December 2020

Praying at Home Today: Wednesday 23 December 2020

Praying at home today: O Emmanuel – restless waiting for that healing balm that saves us

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A warm welcome to, where you can find worship resources for praying at home today or wherever you are.
We hope these readings, prayers, music and the short reflection will help you stay in touch with the Church and to sustain you on your journey through life.

If this is your first visit to this website, then you might like to read about the common elements and the suggested structure for each day’s prayer.
Everything’s optional!

Labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral, France

Opening to the Word

You can spend a few moments in silence,
focussing on your breathing
to become more mindful of the present moment
and to open yourself more fully
to God’s presence within you.

In the name of the living God,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Short reading

God has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly.

Deposuit potentes de sede,
et exaltavit humiles.

Il a renversé les puissants de leurs trônes
et il a élevé les humbles.

Luke 1: 52

The Liturgy of the Word *

Here are today’s Bible readings.
You can read just one, or all three if you have time.

One link to all three readings

Separate links to each reading

Short Reflection

Advent hope: O Emmanuel

Advent and Christmas (as is the rest of the Liturgical Year) are part of the spiral of God’s time, καιρος, in which we annually revisit the great events that mark our lives in God’s presence.

And so it is, with this antiphon; we call out ‘O come, O come, Emmanuel’, as the last of the seven O Antiphons, on the day before Christmas Eve.

As has been remarked elsewhere, this is the first we sing in the verified version, leaving earlier antiphons until later in the song.

Pathways to God


It is a time of patient, or perhaps a restless, not-so-patient waiting: waiting that the one who is God-with-us will be born again in our hearts today, or at least in a few days time.

This waiting is crucial.

Max Josef Metzger was a German Catholic priest. Before his execution by the Nazis in 1945, he wrote:

He knows not Advent’s meaning
who has never sat
By twilight in a dreary cell, its window dim;
… Evening falls, slowly steals away the sun
Night throws her gloomy mantle around the room
Terrifying, impenetrable.
Will it always be night?
Will ne’er a ray of sunshine pierce the gloom?
And a new day lead on to joy?

The Great O

Thoughts on the Church’s role in healing

“The idea of a healing balm has its classic biblical resonance in Luke’s Good Samaritan, applying ointment to the wounds of the wayside victim.

“It accords also with the pastoral theology of Pope Francis, who calls us to remember that sometimes the Church is required to act as a field hospital, tending the seriously wounded.”

cf. Pathways to God

O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Saviour:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.

Earlier, I got these antiphons in the wrong order. I knew that the initial capitals spelt an acrostic Ero cras. Of course, it should be a reverse acrostic, ending with O Emmanuel.

I obviously need more coffee!


Music for reflection *

Prayer Suggestions

We pray at home today, bringing before God the needs of our world:

  • that our waiting may be real, yet hope-filled
  • for all in authority that they may exercise power with restraint and justice
  • for the Brexit negotiators
  • for those who are lonely.

(In Holy Trinity, Stirling, we invite you to pray today
for those attending and supervising the Test, Trace and Protect Centres.)

For all who have asked for our prayers.

a moment of silence

Pray for us all


The Lord’s Prayer

We can say the Lord’s Prayer in any language or version we choose.
Here it is, in English, Latin and French.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your Kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those
who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom,
the power and the glory are yours.
Now and for ever. Amen.

Pater noster, qui es in cælis;
sanctificatur nomen tuum:
adveniat regnum tuum;
fiat voluntas tua,
sicut in cælo, et in terra.
Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie:
et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris:
et ne nos inducas in tentationem:
sed libera nos a malo.

Quia tuum est regnum,
et potestas, et gloria, in saecula.

Notre Père qui es aux cieux,
que ton nom soit sanctifié.
Que ton règne vienne.
Que ta volonté soit faite sur la terre comme au ciel.
Donne-nous aujourd’hui notre pain de ce jour.
Pardonne-nous nos offences
comme nous pardonnons aussi
à ceux qui nous ont offensés.
Et ne nous soumets pas à la tentation,
mais délivre-nous du mal.

Car c’est à toi qu’appartiennent le règne,
la puissance et la gloire
pour les siècles des siècles. Amen.

Concluding prayer

Stir up your power, Lord, and come:
and strengthen us by the might of your love;
that, although we are hindered by our sins,
your abundant grace and mercy may quickly come and save us;
for you live and reign with the Father,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end.

Returning to the world

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

Thank you for joining us in praying at home.
Oremus pro invicem.

In these strange times, we are called to trust

Labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral, France
* You can find more organ music from Holy Trinity Church, Stirling
on Alistair Warwick‘s website and on SoundCloud

There are several books by Brother Roger of the Taizé Community from many booksellers.

You can buy The Complete Chronicles of Narnia at

Other worship resources

Praying at Home Today: Acknowledgements

The lectionary for weekdays is taken from the Vanderbilt Divinity Library.

In that lectionary, the readings are in the following order: Old Testament reading, Psalm, New Testament reading; we have changed the order to the more usual OT, Psalm and NT.
English Bible texts are usually from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Latin Bible texts are from Biblia Sacra Vulgata, and are in the Public Domain.

French Bible texts are usually from Version Segond 21, copyright © 2007 Société Biblique de Genève by Société Biblique de Genève.

Images, unless otherwise stated, are from lockdown in Scotland, by Alistair Warwick.
Descriptions for the Advent art images can be found at the Art in the Christian Tradition image library, a service of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library. All of these images are available via Creative Commons 3.0 License.
Music engraved by The Art of Music.


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