Year II: Week 1 of Lent

Thursday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

Lent: First Thursday:  Yesterday was the beginning of the season of Lent, the traditional 40 days of prayer, fasting, reflection and repentance that precedes the great Easter celebrations.   Just as Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness learning to overcome the Enemy, so we set this time aside for spiritual warfare and renewal.  It is common during this time to imitate the simplicity of Jesus in the wilderness by abstaining from rich foods and strong drink during this season, and to devote extra time to the practice of the spiritual disciplines.


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 67  (Doxology)

All: 

An Invocation and a Doxology
To the Chief Musician. On stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.

God be merciful to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us, 
That Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.

Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy!
For You shall judge the people righteously,
And govern the nations on earth.   Selah

Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Then the earth shall yield her increase;
God, our own God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us,
And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.

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 35

The Lord the Avenger of His People
A Psalm of David.

Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me;
Fight against those who fight against me.
Take hold of shield and buckler,
And stand up for my help.
Also draw out the spear,
And stop those who pursue me.
Say to my soul,
“I am your salvation.”

Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonor
Who seek after my life;
Let those be turned back and brought to confusion
Who plot my hurt.
Let them be like chaff before the wind,
And let the angel of the Lord chase them.
Let their way be dark and slippery,
And let the angel of the Lord pursue them.
For without cause they have hidden their net for me in a pit,
Which they have dug without cause for my life.
Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly,
And let his net that he has hidden catch himself;
Into that very destruction let him fall.

And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord;
It shall rejoice in His salvation.
All my bones shall say,
Lord, who is like You,
Delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him,
Yes, the poor and the needy from him who plunders him?”

Fierce witnesses rise up;
They ask me things that I do not know.
They reward me evil for good,
To the sorrow of my soul.
But as for me, when they were sick,
My clothing was sackcloth;
I humbled myself with fasting;
And my prayer would return to my own heart.
I paced about as though he were my friend or brother;
I bowed down heavily, as one who mourns for his mother.

But in my adversity they rejoiced
And gathered together;
Attackers gathered against me,
And I did not know it;
They tore at me and did not cease;
With ungodly mockers at feasts
They gnashed at me with their teeth.

Lord, how long will You look on?
Rescue me from their destructions,
My precious life from the lions.
I will give You thanks in the great assembly;
I will praise You among many people.

Let them not rejoice over me who are wrongfully my enemies;
Nor let them wink with the eye who hate me without a cause.
For they do not speak peace,
But they devise deceitful matters
Against the quiet ones in the land.
They also opened their mouth wide against me,
And said, “Aha, aha!
Our eyes have seen it.”

This You have seen, O Lord;
Do not keep silence.
O Lord, do not be far from me.
Stir up Yourself, and awake to my vindication,
To my cause, my God and my Lord.
Vindicate me, O Lord my God, according to Your righteousness;
And let them not rejoice over me.
Let them not say in their hearts, “Ah, so we would have it!”
Let them not say, “We have swallowed him up.”

Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion
Who rejoice at my hurt;
Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor
Who exalt themselves against me.

Let them shout for joy and be glad,
Who favor my righteous cause;
And let them say continually,
“Let the Lord be magnified,
Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”
And my tongue shall speak of Your righteousness
And of Your praise all the day long.

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, we begin Lent by confessing our sins and failures to you, knowing you are ready to forgive, eager to heal, swift to restore and able to transform.
              –  Lord, have mercy…
  • For our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts and our dishonesty in daily life and work.
              –  Lord, have mercy…
  • For our anger and frustration with others and our envy of those more fortunate than ourselves.
              –  Lord, have mercy…

Family and Friends

  • Father of all, we confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength.  We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.  We have not forgiven others, as we have been forgiven.
              –  Lord, have mercy..
  • For allowing unease with our brethren, irritation with our children, anger towards our parents, impatience with our spouses and grumbling towards our leaders to develop within our hearts.
              –  Lord, have mercy…
  • For placing ourselves before our community, our agenda’s before their needs and our personal comfort before their wellbeing.
              –  Lord, have mercy…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, we confess to you our superior attitudes, forgetting that it is only “you who makes us differ” and “what have we that we have not received.”  Let us see ourselves afresh as servants of your Church and ministers of Christ.
              –  Lord, have mercy…
  • For speaking easily of the sins, faults and mistakes of so much as a little child.
              –  Lord, have mercy…
  • For failing to show compassion on my fellow servant, even as the Lord has shown compassion upon me.
              –  Lord, have mercy…

The World

  • Heavenly Father, let your Kingdom come on earth even as it is in heaven.  Forgive us for placing worldly ambition above Kingdom purposes and plugging our ears to the cries of the lost.  Open our hearts and lives to a world in need!
              –  Lord, have mercy…
  • For the ease in which we dismiss the suffering of other nations, for the political manoeuvring that keeps them in lack and the unnecessary conflicts that keep them in misery.
              –  Lord, have mercy…
  • For the cry of creation as it experiences the unthinking and greedy exploitation of man; knowing that the time will surely come when you shall “destroy those who destroy the earth.”
              –  Lord, have mercy…


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 6:16-18

Fasting

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

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 28


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.)

Almighty God,
Who came to take the sin of the world,
Grant that we who were once far from you,
May be quick to offer you our penitential tears,
Our prayers for a renewed life,
And our commitment to change.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever.  Amen.


BLESSING

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

And may this season of repentance,
Bring renewed hope and restoration of peace.
That God would dwell in your hearts by faith,
In perfect holiness and perfect love.  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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