Read: Isaiah 40:10-11 NRSV
See, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead the mother sheep.
Pray: Heavenly Father, we are lost in the wilderness, stumbling over rocks and tangling ourselves in briars. The darkness is falling around us and all we can do is cry out as the predators gather in the shadows. We were curious what lay beyond the safety of Your walls. We were proud of our own strength and ambition. We felt invincible, drunk on our own self-reliance. We wandered out of the gates, struck off on our own, convinced that we had outgrown You, the overprotective parent. We did not want to be told to eat, sleep, rest. Instead, the call for adventure and excitement called out to us. What could be wrong with following our hearts? What could be wrong with making a name for ourselves? Forgive us, Father, for our selfishness and conceit. Now we would give anything for You to untwist the roots around our ankles and carry us back to the fold. Our necks cannot survive the wolf’s bite, but You can lead us through the death-dark valley and enclose us in green pastures. You willingly lay down Your life to ensure our eternal peace. Amen.