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 Blessing

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 Blessing

Unlit Candles on the Advent Wreath

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 is usually 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.

Advent Wreath Prayers for the First Week in Advent

One Candle Lit on the Advent Wreath

Advent Wreath with 1 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.

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.

An Advent Carol, Hymn, Poem, 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.

Daily Advent Wreath Prayers for the Second Week in Advent

Two Candles Lit on the Advent Wreath

Advent Wreath with 2 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.

Daily Advent Wreath Prayers for the Third Week in Advent

Three Candles Lit on the Advent Wreath

Advent Wreath with 3 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.

Daily Advent Wreath Prayers for the Fourth Week in Advent

All Four Candles Lit on the Advent Wreath

Advent Wreath with All 4 Candles Lit

The father lights the first and second purple (or blue) candles, the rose candle, and the last purple (or blue) candle.

Then 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 and 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, often during Advent, after we lit the Advent wreath candles and said the Advent wreath prayers, and sang an Advent song, we would bless the food. Then, while we started eating, Mom read to us for 10 or 15 minutes. After that, we could have conversation, talking about our day at school and lots of other things.

Advent Wreath Bible 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.

There are some good suggestions for biblical Advent wreath readings in Advent Bible Studies - Advent Scriptures.

A Beautiful Family Custom during the Advent Wreath Prayers

Our family had one custom that we liked. 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, from the lit candle(s) or with the help of a flashlight.

The blackness reminds 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 "dinner by Advent wreath candlelight."

And because we turned the Advent wreath into a Christmas wreath, we had many special memorable candlelight meals during the Christmas Season well 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!

These are special memories from about 40 years ago.

Your Own Advent Wreath 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.

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 only 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.

The Danger of Traditionalism

I hope this doesn't apply to you.

But if this helps even one person, I'm writing this for christians of all denominations - churches, schools, organizations and families - who may be involved in a hypocritical spirit of "traditionalism".

It's easy to lose the spirit and observe only the letter. There are traditionalists who only live for tradition, who make mountains out of mole-hills, who keep little bones of contention but do not honor God. Often, they do not realize this. Or, if they realize it, they don't want to change.

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)

What is a Pharisee?

Why were the pharisees condemned by Jesus?

The Pharisees were one of several groups of religious leaders in the temple of Jerusalem.

Originally, for some generations before Christ, they started out as a good thing. They worked for a spiritual revival and renewal.

However, at the time of Christ, they had strayed from their purpose. They looked religious, but they wanted power and money for themselves.

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.

This is basically hypocrisy, which is saying one thing but doing another.

The Advent Wreath as 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, that we don't even keep the real spirit of Advent, Christmas, Christ, and his teachings.

Are Our 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 at one time I was to some degree 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 lying and gossip mouths, their lustful desires, and their hypocritical spirit of pride and arrogance.

Yes, I know there are many good people in christian churches, schools, organizations, and families. Many who want to faithfully keep praise-worthy traditions.

But let us be reminded that Jesus attacked the unworthy traditions and doctrines of the Pharisees, where they "strain out the gnat, but swallow the camel."

Why did Jesus fight to the death with the Pharisees on this issue? Remember, one of their excuses to kill him was because he violated their traditions. Yes, they killed him while he was on the very mission to save even them from such diabolical blindness and hardness of heart.

The reason is, Jesus came to save us, and started a church to preserve us from such religious leaders, who, not only were his bitter enemies because they were enemies of the truth, but they also strove to spread their poison everywhere, which Jesus knew would keep people from going to heaven.

And one of their excuses? That 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.

Let us Pray 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, first of all, from the evil of sin. Christ can 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 - especially when he saw faith in the hearts of the people.

One of Christ's work, a 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 spoke harshly 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.

Jesus pronounce many woes against such people, because their hearts and souls were filled with a terrible disease, a real cancer, that they did not want to see, so it had to be pointed out to them.

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, many of them knew, from scripture prophecy, 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.

Where are they now in eternity? If we know such people, 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 Paul asked people to pray for him. Let us pray that all our leaders - 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.

Prayers for Those Chained by Satan

Today, we sadly see rebellion, oppression, totalitarianism, and dictatorship - not only in some nations, but in some families, in some churches.

We sadly see 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 sadly see many parents either too permissive or too authoritarian, instead of wisely using the authority God gave them.

We even see, sadly, some pastors, who teach one way, and live another. They deceive people, even while trying to control every aspect of their lives.

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 can become little cults. Instead of trying to impress and control people, we should all be leading people to Christ.

Prayer of Hope

Yes, for 4000 long years the world needed Christ. And at the time he came, there was even spiritual darkness and blindness among the religious leaders.

Tha's why Christ came, to be and give light and hope in the darkness.

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 too many people nowadays - are sadly lacking.

Never Give Up Hope - for Prayer is Powerful

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.

A Pastor in France in the 1800's said, "Prayer is all-powerful over God."

Have a Safe and Holy Season of Advent!

May These Advent Wreath Prayers Help You Have
A Truly Heartfelt Spirit-Filled Holy Season of Advent!

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