Year II: 12 Days of Christmas

Wednesday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

Feast: Holy Innocents:  The feast of Holy Innocents dates back to very early on in the story of the church. In it we remember Herod’s execution of all the male children in the vicinity of Bethlehem to avoid losing his throne to the newborn Messiah, Jesus. This was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy in Jeremiah 31:15

Today is also the Fourth Day of Christmas, the traditional twelve day festival that begins on Christmas Day and runs until January 5th.  During this time we concentrate our readings on Jesus’ early life.   This leads us to January 6th, which is the Feast of the Epiphany, where we celebrate Christ’s revelation to the world as Messiah, predominantly in the events leading up to and immediately after his baptism.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
Lord, Open my lips.
All: 
And my mouth will give you praise.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen


INVITATORY PSALM:  

Psalm 24 (Domini est terra)

All: 

The King of Glory and His Kingdom
A Psalm of David.

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
The world and all who live upon it.
For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the waters.

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face.  Selah

Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory.  

All:  
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen


MORNING PSALM

Psalm 125:1-24

The Eternal Faithfulness of the Lord

Oh, give thanks to the Lord!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!
Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!
Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!
Remember His marvelous works which He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth,
O seed of Abraham His servant,
You children of Jacob, His chosen ones!

He is the Lord our God;
His judgments are in all the earth.
He remembers His covenant forever,
The word which He commanded, for a thousand generations,
The covenant which He made with Abraham,
And His oath to Isaac,
And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute,
To Israel as an everlasting covenant,
Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan
As the allotment of your inheritance,”
When they were few in number,
Indeed very few, and strangers in it.

When they went from one nation to another,
From one kingdom to another people,
He permitted no one to do them wrong;
Yes, He rebuked kings for their sakes,
Saying, “Do not touch My anointed ones,
And do My prophets no harm.”

Moreover He called for a famine in the land;
He destroyed all the provision of bread.
He sent a man before them—
Joseph—who was sold as a slave.
They hurt his feet with fetters,
He was laid in irons.
Until the time that his word came to pass,
The word of the Lord tested him.
The king sent and released him,
The ruler of the people let him go free.
He made him lord of his house,
And ruler of all his possessions,
To bind his princes at his pleasure,
And teach his elders wisdom.

Israel also came into Egypt,
And Jacob dwelt in the land of Ham.
He increased His people greatly,
And made them stronger than their enemies.

All:  
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen


WORSHIP

All:  
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous.  Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


PRAYER & INTERCESSION

Reader:
Let us pray for the day and its tasks, for the church and her life, and for the world and its needs.

(You may use these prayers as written or use them as ‘prayer pointers’ for your own spontaneous petitions.

Personal Requests

  • Almighty God, open the eyes of our understanding that we might know you more clearly.  Open the ears of our heart that we may hear you more accurately.  And open our mouths that we may declare you more fully…
              –  For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.
  • Today I claim freedom and victory in Jesus name!  No weapon that is formed against me shall prosper!
              –  For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.
  • Today I declare that God’s will shall be done through me and that God’s power shall be at work in me…
              –  For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.

Family & Friends

  • Father of all, bless my family today.  May all I love be kept by your power, protected by your angels, strengthened by your Spirit and prospered by your Covenant…
              –  For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.
  • Today I call back the wayward sons and daughters of our church and community.  Bring reconciliation with God and man and restore the backslider…
              –  For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.
  • For those away at University, open their eyes to your high calling and keep them from the enemy…
              –  For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, we pray for your church all across this world.  Unite your people, empower your Bride and forgive her sins.  May Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox come to the unity of the Spirit and fullness of the faith.
              –  For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.
  • For Pope Francis, his bishops, priests, ministers, and all those that serve in that communion…
              –  For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.
  • For our Orthodox brothers and sisters, often labouring under intense persecution…
              –  For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.
  • For the churches of the Reformation, the Anglican communion and the free churches…
              –  For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.

 The World

  • Father and creator of mankind, would you heal our land and save our nation.  You came at Christmas to bring good news and proclaim God’s peace towards men.  May we be agents of your peace and messengers of your gospel…
              –  For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.
  • For those who work as ministers of reconciliation and social justice…
              –  For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.
  • For the peace of Jerusalem, the salvation of the Jews and the restoration of your people…
              –  For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.


THE LORD’S
 PRAYER

Reader: 
And so we pray…

All:   
Our Father in heaven,
Holy is Your Name.
Your Kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
Forever and ever.  Amen.


GOSPEL READING

Matthew 2:13-18

The Flight to Egypt

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Herod Kills the Children

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

“A voice was heard in Ramah,
    weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
    she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

Reader:      
The Word of the Lord.
All:  
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection…


READING FROM THE CHURCH
 FATHERS (Optional)

Lesson from the Church Fathers – ‘Awakening Faith’ Day 181


Pause for Reflection…


THE APOSTLES CREED

Reader
And so we make our declaration of faith…

All:  
We believe in God the Father, Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into the grave;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit;
The Holy Worldwide Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the Life everlasting.  Amen.


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation,
That your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming,
May find in us a mansion prepared for himself;
Who lives and reigns with you,
In the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and for ever.  Amen


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

And may God the Father,
Who loved the world so much that he sent his only Son,
Give you grace to prepare for life eternal.  Amen.


Psalms taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.  Other Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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