Year II: Week 1 of Lent

Thursday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

This week marked 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 74

A Plea for Relief from Oppressors
A Contemplation of Asaph.

O God, why have You cast us off forever?
Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture?
Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old,
The tribe of Your inheritance, which You have redeemed—
This Mount Zion where You have dwelt.
Lift up Your feet to the perpetual desolations.
The enemy has damaged everything in the sanctuary.
Your enemies roar in the midst of Your meeting place;
They set up their banners for signs.
They seem like men who lift up
Axes among the thick trees.
And now they break down its carved work, all at once,
With axes and hammers.
They have set fire to Your sanctuary;
They have defiled the dwelling place of Your name to the ground.
They said in their hearts,
“Let us destroy them altogether.”
They have burned up all the meeting places of God in the land.

We do not see our signs;
There is no longer any prophet;
Nor is there any among us who knows how long.
O God, how long will the adversary reproach?
Will the enemy blaspheme Your name forever?
Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand?
Take it out of Your bosom and destroy them.
For God is my King from of old,
Working salvation in the midst of the earth.
You divided the sea by Your strength;
You broke the heads of the sea serpents in the waters.
You broke the heads of Leviathan in pieces,
And gave him as food to the people inhabiting the wilderness.
You broke open the fountain and the flood;
You dried up mighty rivers.
The day is Yours, the night also is Yours;
You have prepared the light and the sun.
You have set all the borders of the earth;
You have made summer and winter.

Remember this, that the enemy has reproached, O Lord,
And that a foolish people has blasphemed Your name.
Oh, do not deliver the life of Your turtledove to the wild beast!
Do not forget the life of Your poor forever.
Have respect to the covenant;
For the dark places of the earth are full of the haunts of cruelty.
Oh, do not let the oppressed return ashamed!
Let the poor and needy praise Your name.

Arise, O God, plead Your own cause;
Remember how the foolish man reproaches You daily.
Do not forget the voice of Your enemies;
The tumult of those who rise up against You increases continually.

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

  • Lord Jesus, we confess that just as your first disciples, we have failed you in thought, in word and in deed.  Restore us and renew our faith, even as you brought hope to Peter after he had denied you and Thomas after he had doubted you.
              –  Lord, have mercy…
  • Forgive us when we take our ease with the world rather than watch and pray with you.
              –  Lord, have mercy…
  • Forgive us when we bestow a kiss of peace yet nurse enmity in our hearts.
              –  Lord, have mercy…
  • Forgive us when we strike at those who hurt us rather than stretch our hands to bless.
              –  Lord, have mercy…
  • Forgive us when we deny we know you for fear of the world and its scorn.
              –  Lord, have mercy…

Family and Friends

  • Father of Jesus, we confess that we have often sought friendships for selfish purposes, sought companionship for for personal gratification and sought you for a temporary fix to our problems. We choose to die to self so we may live for others.
              –  Lord, have mercy…
  • Forgive us when we have loved things and used people rather than used things and loved people.
              –  Lord, have mercy…
  • Forgive us when we have failed to open our hearts to our loved ones or stood aloof from their pain.
              –  Lord, have mercy…
  • Forgive us when, for fear of loss, we have kept a thing that can help another to ourselves and refused to recognise that all I have is yours and all you have is theirs.
              –  Lord, have mercy…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, we confess to our hypocrisy and play-acting in your House.  For the times we have made ourselves appear better than we are, or allowed others to be thought of as less than they really were.
              –  Lord, have mercy…
  • Forgive us when we have made much about our ministry and made little of the ministry of others.
              –  Lord, have mercy…
  • Forgive us when we trampled others in our haste to do your work and neglected others in our rush to achieve something great.
              –  Lord, have mercy…
  • Forgive us when we have smiled at someone’s face but spoken behind their back.
              –  Lord, have mercy…

The World

  • Lord of Hosts, who commands the angel armies of heaven, we confess to you our complaining, moaning, groaning and whining attitudes.  Forgive our craving for the familiar slavery of sin rather than the spiritual fruits of righteousness.
              –  Lord, have mercy…
  • Forgive us when we have looked back instead of looking forward, looked down instead of looking up and looked askance instead of looking to you.
              –  Lord, have mercy…
  • Forgive us when we have profaned your name amongst the nations through ungodly talk, unloving actions and uncharitable deeds.
              –  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

John 3:22-26

John the Baptist Exalts Christ

After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized (for John had not yet been put in prison).

Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.”

He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony.Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

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 136


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.)

Everlasting God,
Because of your tender mercy toward all people,
You sent your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ,
To take upon himself our flesh,
And to suffer death upon the cross,
That all should follow the example of his great humility.
Grant that we may follow the example of his patience,
And be made partakers of his resurrection;
Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen


BLESSING

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

And may all fear be banished and all guilt be gone,
As you receive His forgiveness this morning,
And his power this day.  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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