Year III: Week 3 of Advent

Thursday: Morning 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:
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 128

Blessings of Those Who Fear the Lord

A Song of Ascents.

Blessed is every one who fears the Lord,
Who walks in His ways.

When you eat the labour of your hands,
You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
In the very heart of your house,
Your children like olive plants
All around your table.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
Who fears the Lord.

The Lord bless you out of Zion,
And may you see the good of Jerusalem
All the days of your life.
Yes, may you see your children’s children.

Peace be upon Israel!

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

  • King of all, we come to you this morning with needs spoken and unspoken. Fill us with strength for the tasks of the day and grace to live as ministers of reconciliation within our workplaces and families…
              –  Hear us, eternal King of Glory.
  • For wisdom with financial decisions, freedom from materialism and hearts ready to distribute to those in need…
              –  Hear us, eternal King of Glory.
  • For healing from every bodily ailment, protection from every assault of the Enemy and patience to endure in the fight…
              –  Hear us, eternal King of Glory.

Family & Friends

  • Father of Jesus, swing wide the gates of salvation for our friends and family. May this Advent season be the day of their salvation and the year of the favour of the Lord!
              –  Hear us, eternal King of Glory.
  • For those at school, may they be protected from bullying, and grow in the favour of both God and man…
              –  Hear us, eternal King of Glory.
  • For those who are burdened with marital problems and those who struggle in their relationships with their children and parents…
              –  Hear us, eternal King of Glory.

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, today we pray for the persecuted church across this wide world. May she know your special grace and favour, and witness to her persecutors the unsearchable riches of Christ. May the seed of the church always be the blood of the martyrs…
              –  Hear us, eternal King of Glory.
  • For Christians fleeing persecution and those who are refugees at this time, may they find a new home…
              –  Hear us, eternal King of Glory.
  • For those trapped in oppressive regimes and those who suffer under religious prejudice, grant protection and patience…
              –  Hear us, eternal King of Glory.

The World

  • Heavenly Father, you came at Advent to usher in a Kingdom that would one day overthrow all sin, tyranny and oppression. Use us to bring change, that your Kingdom may come on earth even as it is in heaven.
              –  Hear us, eternal King of Glory.
  • For your people working in education, social services, law enforcement and the judiciary, that their light may shine brightly…
              –  Hear us, eternal King of Glory.
  • For all those who lobby for justice, peace and reconciliation in places of politics and power, that their voice would be heard…
              –  Hear us, eternal King of Glory.


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

Luke 1:39-56

Mary Visits Elizabeth

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat

And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
    and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
    and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
    to Abraham and to his offspring for ever.”

And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.

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


Pause for Reflection…

READING: THE WAY OF CHRIST (Optional)

Principle of discipleship drawn from the book, “The Way of Christ”

Reader:
The Way of Prayer: The Principle of Walking Together.

Recognising the interbeing of the Body of Christ, I commit myself to the practice of prayer and worship with those who journey with me. As a follower of the Way of Prayer I choose not to practice my faith independently of those around me.

All:
This is The Way of Prayer: The Principle of Walking Together.


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, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word:
Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts,
May shine forth in our lives;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
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 Holy Spirit make us steadfast in faith,
Joyful in hope, and constant in 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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