Advent Wreath Prayers - Advent Candle Readings
Advent Wreath Prayers include blessing the wreath, as well as special daily prayers, different each week, when the candles are lit.
Advent Wreath ready for the Blessing Prayers
The daily Advent wreath prayers are usually said at the following times:
- In the family home - before the evening meal, or before the main meal, when most family members can be present.
- In school - at assembly, and / or in the classroom, at the best time chosen by the principal or teacher, such as in the morning, or before bible class.
- In church - at least on Sundays in Advent and any other days when there are church or prayer services.
When I was growing up, we had Advent wreaths at home on the dinner table, at school in every classroom, and in Church in the sanctuary. So in a single day, we could end up praying a lot of Advent prayers!
But from heaven's viewpoint, that's not necessarily a bad thing at all.
The Advent Wreath Prayers - The Advent Wreath Blessing
Unlit Candles on the Advent Wreath
The father of the family, or the head of the household, the teacher, the pastor, or the selected prayer leader, leads the family (or organization) in a prayer of blessing over the wreath.
- In the home it is usually said on the Saturday evening before the First Sunday in Advent.
- At school it can be said on the Friday or Monday, the school day closest to the First Sunday in Advent.
- In Church it can be done just before lighting the first candle on the First Sunday in Advent, or at an appropriate time during the service.
Here is one suggested Advent wreath blessing, especially in the family home:
O God, by whose word all things are sanctified, pour forth your blessing upon this wreath, and grant that we who use it, may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ, and may receive from you abundant graces.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Here's another Advent wreath blessing, this one is used in some churches on the First Sunday in Advent:
Lord God, your Church joyfully awaits the coming of its Savior, who enlightens our hearts and dispels the darkness of ignorance and sin.
Pour forth your blessings upon us as we light the candles of this wreath; may their light reflect the splendor of Christ, who is Lord, for ever and ever. Amen.
OR, you can use this Advent wreath blessing, this one is also used in some churches on the First Sunday of Advent:
Lord our God, we praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ. He is Emmanuel, the hope of the peoples. He is the wisdom that teaches and guides us. He is the Savior of every nation.
Lord God, let your blessing come upon us as we light the candles of this wreath. May the wreath and its light be a sign of Christ's promise to bring us salvation. May he come quickly and not delay
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Advent Wreath Prayers - First Sunday in Advent - First Prayer
Advent Wreath Prayers - One Candle Lit
Before the evening meal, the youngest child lights the first purple (or blue) candle. (If there are many children in the family or many students in the classroom, it is probably best to give everyone a chance to light the candle(s) throughout the weeks of Advent. It may seem a very little thing, but to children it can be a very important responsibility and can become a very grace-filled and deeply cherished memory.)
Then the father (or leader) prays aloud:
O Lord, stir up your might, we beg you, and come - that by your protection, we may deserve to be rescued from the threatening dangers of our sins and saved by your deliverance.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Advent Wreath Prayers - Special Prayer All During the Advent Season
Then - and often throughout the day - I remember we used to pray this prayer, all together out loud:
Hail and blessed be the hour and the moment, in which the Son of God was born, of the most pure blessed virgin Mary, at midnight in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold.
In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayers and grant my petitions.
Through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer. Amen.
The Advent Wreath Prayers - An Advent Song
And then, we'd sing together an Advent hymn. Probably the best known one is:
O come, o come Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lowly exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice, Rejoice, O Israel,
To thee shall come Emmanuel.
I've also heard the chorus sung this way:
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel,
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
This Advent carol actually comes from an old Latin Advent hymn. It is also sung as a Christmas carol on many CD's. It has many beautiful verses, and is a great way to start a Christmas Eve or Midnight service.
The Advent Wreath Prayers - A Beautiful Family Custom
Our family had one custom that really touched me. After everyone was in place, either standing or sitting around the table, and someone warned everybody, then the lights were turned off - with enough light to read the prayers, such as a flashlight.
The blackness reminded us of the darkness of the world without Christ, except the candle (or candles) burning with hope for a Redeemer.
The Advent Wreath Prayers - Candlelight Dinner
Sometimes our family left the Advent wreath candles burning during dinner on Sundays, and on some important occasions especially close to Christmas, with someone always watching. It was literally dinner by candlelight.
And because we turned the Advent wreath into a Christmas wreath, we had many special memorable candlelight meals during the Christmas Season into the New Year.
Unfortunately, some of us kids tended to play with the candles, like blowing on them from a distance. Then Mom or Dad would put a stop to it, and even have the candles blown out. And we'd even fight over who would get to blow them out!
And then try to be the first to switch the electric lights back on!
Some brats we were back then, but somehow precious memories were made - that I still remember now, well over 30 years ago.
Advent Wreath Prayers - Your Own Customs
You may leave the candle lit during the evening meal, or if you want to save your candles, you can blow them out after the prayers.
Just make sure those sitting close by old enough and responsible enough to stay alert and keep watching the candles to prevent dripping, falling, or burning anything.
Do everything to avoid such an emergency.
The Advent Wreath Prayers - A Candle Tip
Well, that's what you don't want candles to do, tip over, especially when they're burning!
But, here's an idea. You can always refresh the candles with new ones when they burn low. So you may want to buy several sets at a time, and have them handy to refresh them before they get too low into the greenery, which can be very dangerous.
The Advent Wreath Prayers - Second Sunday in Advent
Advent Wreath Prayers - Two Candles Lit
The oldest child lights the first and second purple (or blue) candles.
Again, the father (or leader) prays aloud:
O Lord, stir up our hearts that we may prepare for your only begotten Son that through his coming we may be made worthy to serve you with pure minds.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Then you may conclude with the special prayer and any Advent song together as above.
The Advent Wreath Prayers - Third Sunday in Advent
Advent Wreath Prayers - Three Candles Lit
The mother lights the first and second purple (or blue) candles, and then lights the rose (pink) candle.
O Lord, we beg you, incline your ear to our prayers and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of your visitation.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Advent Wreath Prayers - Fourth Sunday in Advent
Advent Wreath Prayers - All Four Candles Lit
The father lights the first and second purple (or blue) candles, the rose candle, and the last purple (or blue) candle.
The he (or the leader) prays aloud:
O Lord, stir up your power, we pray you, and come; and with great might help us, that with the help of your Grace, your merciful forgiveness may hasten what our sins impede.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Advent Wreath Prayers - Advent Wreath Readings
Advent is a good time for meditation and reflection. I remember my mother reading to us from many a good book at breakfast or dinner, when we were too busy eating or just didn't feel like talking.
For instance, during the more solemn and penitential season of Advent, after we lit the Advent wreath candles and said the Advent wreath prayers, and sang an Advent song, we would bless the food. While we were starting to eat, Mom read to us for 10 or 15 minutes. Then usually we would talk about our day at school and lots of other things.
In our seminary, we also had a similar practice. Music was played during the serving of food, then someone would read from a good book for the entire meal at breakfast, most lunches, and part of dinner.
Except on solemn penitential days, like during Advent and Lent, it was mostly reading. And during festival times, like during the 12 days of Christmas, there was some reading but mostly conversation was permitted.
That's where I got my training at public reading and later public speaking. Nothing quite like having your teachers and peers critique your reading and speaking!
Advent Wreath Prayers - The Best Advent Wreath Readings
After the Advent Wreath Prayers, it can be a very good custom to read a bit of the Bible to help us get in the Advent spirit.
In some families before and on Christmas Day, the father reads an appropriate passage from the Bible, before dinner starts. Of course, these bible Advent readings can be done any time during Advent and at any time of the day you choose.
Here are some good suggestions for biblical Advent wreath readings in Advent Bible Studies - Advent Scriptures.
Advent Wreath Prayers - Taken from Catholic Advent Prayers
Some of the Advent prayers on this page have been taken from Catholic Advent prayers that used to be prayed at the Catholic services on each of the 4 Sundays of Advent.
They are still prayed by those who call themselves traditional Catholics, who did not adopt the changes of Vatican II in the 1960's. Or who later rejected them, and went back to the traditionalist ways.
When I was small, our family used these prayers at the evening meal.
Advent Wreath Prayers - A Simpler Version
I have adapted these prayers to modern English. For example, the old English of the "thee's, thou's, thy and thine are used by some older churches, but for the most part have been dropped for a generation.
For many people like me, the old English is too stilted and formal. Prayer is talking to God as in conversation, and I don't want to talk to God in a way that was used centuries ago, but not now.
Some people may argue that using old English is more respectful. It is entirely up to them to use the old prayers. I hope the very best for them.
In fact, some old hymns like O Come O Come Emmanuel have been sung so long it would be hard to change the chorus.
Advent Wreath Prayers - The Danger of Traditionalism
But honestly, in my years as a pastor, I have found that some "traditionalists" use such little points, not to truly honor God, but as bones of contention. They make mountains out of mole-hills.
They are "traditionalists" for the sake of tradition.
I remember one reporter doing a newspaper article on the little church where I was first a pastor.
He wrote that the traditionalist are an incredibly fractious group. That doesn't sound very nice for Christ, who said his church would be united as one flock and one shepherd -
United in important things like doctrine and faith, united to Christ.
Now, years later, having learned the hard way, I so much better understand the rather honest position of this reporter. Because, unfortunately, at the time I was a bit of a traditionalist myself. In fact, quite a bit.
Okay, you can skip the rest of this page if you want.
I hope this doesn't apply to you.
But if this helps even one person, I'm writing this "rant" for christians and catholics of all denominations, for churches, schools, organizations and families who are involved in a hypocritical spirit of "traditionalism".
I know from sad experience.
Unfortunately, during my training as a pastor and my first years as a pastor, I had this very problem. Even though I was very zealous and fervent, and had a good heart - or so I thought - God had to later really work and deal with this issue in my life, because as much as I wanted to help a lot of people, this problem seriously hurts a lot of people, and keeps them in spiritual bondage.
That's exactly what Saul's problem was, before God struck him blind and converted him, and he turned into the apostle Paul we know today.
Saul was actually killing Christians, because he was a zealous stickler for the Jewish traditions!
Remember, Jesus had warned his followers that there would come people who would kill them, and think that they were doing a service to God. (John 16:2)
Jesus also said that every scribe instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like a householder bringing forth from his treasure new things and old. (Matthew 13:52)
And Paul the apostle himself - once a proud and arrogant pharisee - would later write that the letter kills, but the spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:6)
By the way, what is a pharisee? Why were they condemned by Jesus?
They were one of several groups of religious leaders in the temple of Jerusalem. One of the things Jesus condemned them for was that they were to quick to harshly judge anyone who was not like them. They also pretended to be religious, and told people what to do, but in their own personal lives would not do it themselves, and covered up many hidden sins.
Which is basically, hypocrisy, another fancy word for saying one thing but doing another.
Advent Wreath Prayers - A "Traditional" Custom
Like any custom, there can be a good spirit using tradition, and there can be a bad spirit, even while using such a beautiful custom as the Advent wreath.
This issue is so important, Christ gave many instructions on it, as we find written in the Gospels.
And we don't want to go the other extreme, of becoming so modern, so up to date, we don't even keep the real spirit of Advent, the real spirit of Christmas.
In fact, to the point of not having the real spirit of Christ and not following his teachings.
Advent Wreath Prayers - Prayers from the Heart, or from the Lips?
Jesus warns us of those who praise him with their lips, but their heart is far from him. (Matthew 15:8, Mark 7:6, Isaiah 29:13)
What I've found as a pastor is that such people - and unfortunately I was one of them, maybe that is why my name is Paul - is that they are, in general, easily provoked. They want to argue about everything. They want to contest every little issue.
The problem is pride and arrogance. They don't want anyone to tell them what they don't want to hear, even if it comes from a prophet, or even from the mouth of Jesus himself.
The real indication to me is to see their faces. When they argue, you won't believe the hard look on their faces. They can be very bitter. They hardly ever smile. They don't seem to me a very happy bunch.
And yet, for all their dedication and commitment to getting the best liturgy in their churches every week, and only this kind of music and no other, many are an atrocious example of true Christianity in every other way, by their worldly lives, their hate-filled hearts, their gossip, and especially their hypocritical spirit of pride and arrogance.
Yes, I know there are many good people among traditionalist churches, schools, organizations, and families, whether christian or catholic.
But some of them remind me of why Jesus attacked the traditions and doctrines of the Pharisees, where they "strain the gnat, but swallow the camel."
And why we would want to run, not walk, away from such a place. But not Jesus. He came not to join that kind of church, but to condemn it. He came down from heaven and went right into the very heart of the most bitter religious fanatical leaders of God's own people.
And they killed him while he was on the very mission to save them from such diabolical blindness and hardness of heart.
And their excuse? He violated their traditions.
And the reason Jesus fought to the death on this point? To save the good people - many of them in those organizations and churches - from the control, the example, and the spiritually poisonous doctrines of the hypocritical priests, scribes, lawyers, and pharisees.
Advent Wreath Prayers - A Special Prayer for Such Traditionalists
Do you know of some one person or church or organization who fits this description of hypocritical traditionalism?
If you do, let it be a reminder to me and you, a reminder to all of us of just why Jesus came, and why we pray for his coming during Advent.
We know that Christ came to save us all from the evil of sin.
But Christ came to save us from other evils as well. Remember how he healed the sick and lame, and cured the blind, and raised people from the dead.
To a great degree, Christ's special work, his special mission and calling among his own nation and for his own people, was to save them from the spiritual tyranny and chains of their religious leaders, who were so fanatically blinded they were putting heavy burdens on God's people, and not even lifting a finger of their own to help them.
Jesus was infinite and perfect love. Yet many chapters of each of the Gospels, in fact, almost the whole last week of his life on earth, he came out with extreme harshness against the hypocrisy of the religious and political rulers of his day - because they were misleading and preventing God's people from living a life of true spiritual freedom.
How harsh was Christ? The proper translation of the many woes Jesus used against the pharisees is cursing. It is that evil and that wicked a spiritual disease, a contagious cancer that Jesus had to remove.
These religious leaders were so involved in the minutiae, they thought nothing of killing Christ the true Savior, because they were so proud and so arrogant. The whole time, they absolutely knew from their own scriptures that Jesus was right, but they did not want to lose face and lose their position and prestige. They did not want to be told what to do.
I'd hate to be in their shoes in eternity. That is why we must pray for their conversion before it is too late. That is why we rejoice when we see the conversion of Paul, who said that he himself used to be one of the most zealous, a chief of the Pharisees.
That is why I am so thankful that God helped me get out of these horrible situations. They can get so bad, they become cults with cult leaders.
That is why I ask for your prayers. A good time is when you are gathered around the Advent wreath, praying the Advent wreath prayers. Pray that I - and all parents, pastors and teachers - might continue to live first by example and then by teaching, with a true and loving spirit, even if we have to have tough love and tell the hard truth, like Jesus. Because, as he said, it is the truth that will set us free. (John 8:32)
True love is not afraid to warn someone else of danger. And pray that we also always speak the truth in grace.
It is so easy for any of us, and especially for those in authority - parents, teachers, leaders - to start making up our own rules and not have the good spirit of God acting in us.
It sure is easy to tell others what to do, and then not do it ourselves. Jesus calls that hypocrisy.
Advent Wreath Prayers - For those Chained by Satan
Today, we see totalitarianism, and dictatorship, people trying to sinfully control and dominate other people, we see so much abuse of authority in society and families, all in the name of following the rules.
We see many parents either permissive or authoritarian, instead of wisely using the authority God gave them.
In my own experience, I had some - not all - pastors who were teaching one way, and living another. They were found to be deceiving people, while trying to control every aspect of their lives.
I can truly say that pastors who do this, who get a following of people attracted to them instead of attracted to Christ and his teachings, run the serious risk of being cult leaders, and their churches or organizations become diabolical cults. They try to impress and control people, instead of doing their leadership job, leading people to Christ.
They harden their hearts and become blinded to God's grace, and stop their ears from hearing the truth, and turn to fables.
They are hollow and without substance, like an empty can or tinkling cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1)
Advent Wreath Prayers - A Conclusion of Great Hope
I'd like to wrap this bit of digression, my being "vulnerable" here on this issue, with how the long 4000 years waiting for Christ ended.
Christ was born, and the Angel told the shepherds the good news. This is considered the first public "in-real-time" announcement of the Gospel, which means the Good News.
Before then, the prophecies and prophetic hints of the Gospel, mostly in the Old Testament, beginning with Genesis 3:14-15, and by many prophets, especially Isaiah, are called the proto-evangelium. Proto means first, initial, original. Evangelium means the Gospel - the Good News.
Anyway, after the Angel made the announcement, a whole army of angels said:
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to men of good will. (Luke 2:14)
- Not rich, successful people.
- Not holy, perfect people.
- But people - even sinful people - who had a good heart, a good spirit, and are willing with God's help to change their lives.
This good will, this good heart, this good spirit, is what many traditionalists - and many people nowadays - are sadly lacking.
Advent Wreath Prayers - Prayer is Powerful - Never Give Up Hope
Let us never give up hope for even the most obstinate of sinners, knowing that each of us are sinners saved only by the grace and mercy of God. 4000 years the world waited for a Savior to pull them out of misery. And 2000 years later, there is still a whole world waiting to be saved.
Let us pray for all poor lost souls, even the most hardened and blinded hearts, that God will touch their hearts with his abundant grace, and will save them - and all of us - so they too can use their zeal and fervor to set the world on fire like Paul the Apostle, once he had received a much better spirit - the spirit and heart of Christ.
May These Advent Wreath Prayers Help You Have
A Truly Heartfelt Spirit-Filled Holy Season of Advent!
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