Year III: Week 1 of Advent

Wednesday: Afternoon Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

As we head towards for Christmas, Advent prepares us in repentance and hope for Christ’s return. The regular psalm cycle reflects this, building to the ‘Songs of Ascent’ in the run-up to Christmas Day. The gospel readings are focused on the Sermon on the Mount, the Old Testament readings relate entirely to the book of Proverbs while the New Testament readings anticipate the second coming as we read through the book of Revelation.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
God, come to my assistance.
All: 
Lord, make haste to help me.

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


AFTERNOON PSALM

Psalm 136

Thanksgiving to God for His Enduring Mercy

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
    For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!
    For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
    For His mercy endures forever:

To Him who alone does great wonders,
    For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who by wisdom made the heavens,
    For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who laid out the earth above the waters,
    For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who made great lights,
    For His mercy endures forever—
The sun to rule by day,
    For His mercy endures forever;
The moon and stars to rule by night,
    For His mercy endures forever.

To Him who struck Egypt in their firstborn,
    For His mercy endures forever;
And brought out Israel from among them,
    For His mercy endures forever;
With a strong hand, and with an outstretched arm,
    For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who divided the Red Sea in two,
    For His mercy endures forever;
And made Israel pass through the midst of it,
    For His mercy endures forever;

But overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea,
    For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who led His people through the wilderness,
    For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who struck down great kings,
    For His mercy endures forever;
And slew famous kings,
    For His mercy endures forever—
Sihon king of the Amorites,
    For His mercy endures forever;
And Og king of Bashan,
    For His mercy endures forever—
And gave their land as a heritage,
    For His mercy endures forever;
A heritage to Israel His servant,
    For His mercy endures forever.

Who remembered us in our lowly state,
    For His mercy endures forever;
And rescued us from our enemies,
    For His mercy endures forever;
Who gives food to all flesh,
    For His mercy endures forever.

Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven!
    For His mercy endures forever.

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 (Optional)

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


OLD TESTAMENT READING

Proverbs 3:1-12

Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart

My son, do not forget my teaching,
    but let your heart keep my commandments,
for length of days and years of life
    and peace they will add to you.
Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
    bind them round your neck;
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favour and good success
    in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
    and refreshment to your bones.
Honour the Lord with your wealth
    and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
then your barns will be filled with plenty,
    and your vats will be bursting with wine.
My son, do not despise the Lord‘s discipline
    or be weary of his reproof,
for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,
    as a father the son in whom he delights.

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


Pause for Reflection……


PRAYER 

(Take a moment to bring to God any issues that have arisen during the morning.  You may like to end with the following prayer…)

Reader:
Holy Spirit, guide us through the rest of our day.
May we know your wisdom in our hearts,
Your strength in our bodies,
And your peace in our lives.  Amen

(If these prayers are taking place before food, you may like to say the Grace here also.)

GRACE (Optional)

(If these prayers are taking place before food, you may like to say the Grace here instead.)

Lord God, we thank you for your gift to us of this food;
Produce of earth, sky, many living beings, and much hard work.

May we eat with prayerfulness, gratitude and moderation;
With renewed minds and spirit-controlled appetites.

May we eat with compassion for those who hunger today,
And in such a way that reduces the suffering of all creatures;
Healing and preserving our precious planet.

Use this food to strengthen our bodies, revive our spirits,
Nurture our family and nourish our resolve;
That we may continue to serve all that lives with all our life.  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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