Longest Night opening prayer — Cara Heafey, UK

Salisbury night — Ana Gobledale

Appropriate for a Blue Christmas or Longest Night service, acknowledging the challenges often faced during the dark seasons of the year.

On this longest night of the year,
we gather to worship you, our Creator.
The prophets tell of a light to the nations;
a dawn from on high breaking upon us.
The poets speak of the splendour of your darkness.
The psalmist says that darkness is as light to you.
You encompass all things;
life and death, light and shadow,
and for this we praise you.

On this longest night of the year
we prepare to welcome you, our Saviour.
Our broken world aches with longing.
For many, this midwinter is bleaker than most.1
You come to us as a child
born into darkness and danger
to be with us; not only in our blessings,
but in our suffering, frailty and fear
and for this we praise you.

On this longest night of the year,
we ask you to come, Holy Spirit.
Come as tongues of flame
to lighten the darkness.
Come as rushing wind
to embolden the fearful.
Come in gentleness and quiet,
bringing healing and peace.
Your coming means we are not alone
and for this we praise you.

1 Author’s note: these prayers were originally written for a service in 2020, when this line referred to the pandemic. It may still ring true for other reasons, e.g. cost-of-living crises, war, personal bereavements….

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