Year III: 12 Days of Christmas

Wednesday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

Feast of St. John, Apostle & Evangelist: John was one of the twelve apostles of the Lord Jesus. He was the author of the Gospel of John, the book of revelation and the three New Testament letters that bear his name. He is often referred to as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” and along with Peter and James formed Jesus’ inner circle. As the only disciple not to forsake Jesus at his crucifixion, he became the guardian of Mary until her death. Despite being banished to Patmos in old age, John is believed to be the longest living apostle and the only one not to die a martyr’s death.

Today is also the Third Day of Christmas, the traditional twelve day festival that begins on Christmas Day and runs until January 5th. During this time we concentrate our readings on Jesus’ early life. This leads us to January 6th, which is the Feast of the Epiphany, where we celebrate Christ’s revelation to the world as Messiah, predominantly in the events leading up to and immediately after his baptism.


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 93

The Eternal Reign of the Lord

The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty;
The Lord is clothed,
He has girded Himself with strength.
Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
You are from everlasting.

The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
The floods have lifted up their voice;
The floods lift up their waves.
The Lord on high is mightier
Than the noise of many waters,
Than the mighty waves of the sea.

Your testimonies are very sure;
Holiness adorns Your house,
O Lord, 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

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, open our hearts this morning to the possibilities of this new day and the plans you have for us in this New Year. May we be your hands and feet in our troubled world, and light for their darkness…
    – For all our hope is in you.
  • Make us instruments of peace, ministers of reconciliation and agents of compassion today…
    – For all our hope is in you.
  • Open our hearts to those in need, our purses to those in lack and our schedule to those in pain…
    – For all our hope is in you.

Family & Friends

  • Lord Jesus, you called us not as servants, but as friends. May your peace be upon our house and your blessing be upon all who live there. Gather all we love in the shadow of your wings…
    – For all our hope is in you.
  • Open our lives this day to the stranger, the neighbour, the person in need…
    – For all our hope is in you.
  • May your favour be upon us, your love flow through us and your power grow in us…
    – For all our hope is in you.

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, all over this world your church wakes to join the anthem of the saints and angels in Glory singing, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord, heaven and earth are full of your glory.” We join that chorus today…
    – For all our hope is in you.
  • For the leaders and ministries of our local church. May they be inspired in their decisions and equipped by the mighty power of God…
    – For all our hope is in you.
  • For the work of Churches Together, and those who seek to fulfil your prayer, “That they may be one.”
    – For all our hope is in you.

The World

  • Saviour of all, take pity upon our world, holding not her sins against her. Let the virtue and power of Calvary flow out into our streets. Shake our world this year with a great revival that will shatter the enemy’s power and bring glory to your name!
    – For all our hope is in you.
  • For the evangelisation of the world in this generation, send forth labourers into your harvest!
    – For all our hope is in you.
  • For those who defend your righteous cause in places of high authority. Grant them strength and make their voice even as the voice of the prophet…
    – For all our hope is in you.


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 2:1-12

The Visit of the Wise Men

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he enquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

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 Joy: The Principle of Sowing Seeds of Joy.

Recognising that all people seek happiness, I seek to be a minister of joy to all people, seeking to ease their human suffering and sow seeds of happiness into their lives. As a follower of the Way of Joy, I will learn to share their burdens in order that they may share my joy.

All:
This is The Way of Joy: The Principle of Sowing Seeds of Joy.


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.)

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us;
And, because we are sorely hindered by our sins,
Let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
To whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
Be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.


BLESSING

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

And may God himself, the God of peace, make you perfect and holy,
And keep you safe and blameless, in spirit, soul and body,
For the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 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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