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Prayers of the people: Third Sunday of Advent Year C, 16 December 2018

07 December 2018

Introductory reflection

The brooding clouds of doom and judgment that dominate the oracles of the prophet Zephaniah are finally pierced by rays of light. They shine on a joyous Jerusalem and the extraordinary figure of a dancing God. An exuberant God who shouts for joy and dances in the midst of the people. It’s a striking image to contemplate and take to heart. And a timely one for a church and world in the grip of great anxieties. Paul’s encouraging words complement the image: “I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord.” Not the fleeting frivolity of shallow celebration, but the deep joy of divine companionship, for God is with us.

The week’s prayer focus

For an end to the culture of complaint and the birth of a new spirit of gratitude.

Sample intercessions

These intercessions are offered for selected use at Sunday Mass in the parish alongside those that express local needs and concerns.


Dear friends, the word of God today promises us joy, peace, and good news. With sure Advent hope let us pray for the whole world and all its needs.


  1. We pray for the human family. May John the Baptist’s call to conversion prompt us all to act fairly and generously in all our social actions. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  2. We pray for the holy city of Jerusalem, cherished by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. By the grace of God may it become a sign of universal peace. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  3. We pray for planet Earth, our common home. May the Spirit of creation stir us to take the vital steps needed to protect it for future generations. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  4. We pray for those who have left their homeland in the hope of a better life. May all migrants take heart from our human solidarity with them. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  5. We pray for all who have lost family members, homes, livelihoods or stock in recent bushfires. May the support of the community sustain them as they deal with their loss. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  6. We pray for tertiary students and school-leavers receiving exam results. Whatever their scores may they find their way to a satisfying and productive future. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  7. We pray for all making submissions for the Plenary Council of 2020. May their proposals help the church be renewed in the light of the Royal Commission. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  8. We pray for one another. May end-of-year functions and pre-Christmas busyness not prevent us entering into the peaceful and prayerful spirit of Advent. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.
  9. We pray for the recently deceased . . . and for those whose anniversary of death occurs around this time. May they enter the heavenly Jerusalem and rejoice in God forever. (Pause for silent prayer) Lord, hear us.


God of peace and mercy, you have brought us to new birth in the waters of baptism. Kindle in our hearts the fire of the Holy Spirit and renew the face of the earth. We ask this through Christ our Lord.


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