Year III: Week 1 of Advent

Thursday: 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 29

Praise to God in His Holiness and Majesty
A Psalm of David.

Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones,
Give unto the Lord glory and strength.
Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name;
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
The God of glory thunders;
The Lord is over many waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
The voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars,
Yes, the Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes them also skip like a calf,
Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord divides the flames of fire.

The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
The Lord shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth,
And strips the forests bare;
And in His temple everyone says, “Glory!”

The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood,
And the Lord sits as King forever.
The Lord will give strength to His people;
The Lord will bless His people with peace.

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 3:13-35

Blessed Is the One Who Finds Wisdom

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
    and the one who gets understanding,
for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
    and her profit better than gold.
She is more precious than jewels,
    and nothing you desire can compare with her.
Long life is in her right hand;
    in her left hand are riches and honour.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
    and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
    those who hold her fast are called blessed.
The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
    by understanding he established the heavens;
by his knowledge the deeps broke open,
    and the clouds drop down the dew.
My son, do not lose sight of these—
    keep sound wisdom and discretion,
and they will be life for your soul
    and adornment for your neck.
Then you will walk on your way securely,
    and your foot will not stumble.
If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
    when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
Do not be afraid of sudden terror
    or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes,
for the Lord will be your confidence
    and will keep your foot from being caught.
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
    when it is in your power to do it.
Do not say to your neighbour, “Go, and come again,
    tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you.
Do not plan evil against your neighbour,
    who dwells trustingly beside you.
Do not contend with a man for no reason,
    when he has done you no harm.
Do not envy a man of violence
    and do not choose any of his ways,
for the devious person is an abomination to the Lord,
    but the upright are in his confidence.
The Lord‘s curse is on the house of the wicked,
    but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous.
Towards the scorners he is scornful,
    but to the humble he gives favour.
The wise will inherit honour,
    but fools get disgrace.

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 Father, we commit to you the work already done today,
Bless the work of our hands and forgive our many errors,
That we may we be empowered to serve you ever more fully.  Amen

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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