Year III: 12 Days of Christmas

Thursday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

Today is the Fourth 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 107:1-14

Praise to the Sovereign Lord for His Creation and Providence

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

O Lord my God, You are very great:
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment,
Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.

He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters,
Who makes the clouds His chariot,
Who walks on the wings of the wind,
Who makes His angels spirits,
His ministers a flame of fire.

You who laid the foundations of the earth,
So that it should not be moved forever,
You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
The waters stood above the mountains.
At Your rebuke they fled;
At the voice of Your thunder they hastened away.
They went up over the mountains;
They went down into the valleys,
To the place which You founded for them.
You have set a boundary that they may not pass over,
That they may not return to cover the earth.

He sends the springs into the valleys;
They flow among the hills.
They give drink to every beast of the field;
The wild donkeys quench their thirst.
By them the birds of the heavens have their home;
They sing among the branches.
He waters the hills from His upper chambers;
The earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your works.

He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the service of man,
That he may bring forth food from the earth,
And wine that makes glad the heart of man,
Oil to make his face shine,
And bread which strengthens man’s heart.

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, I come to you and acknowledge my need. Thank you that in my need is your almighty power. I declare that today I have everything I need for life and godliness and that my past doesn’t equal my future…
    For with you is the fountain of life and in your light we see light…
  • Open the windows of heaven and pour out blessing Lord Jesus. Let today bring breakthrough in every area of life and growth in every good and godly thing…
    – For with you is the fountain of life and in your light we see light…
  • Rise with healing in your wings and bring health and vigour to this body. May I glorify you with all my strength today…
    – For with you is the fountain of life and in your light we see light…

Family & Friends

  • Father of Jesus, you walked amongst friends and commanded us to love one another. May our families be places of love and acceptance and our friends be people who ever spur us on to higher things.
    – For with you is the fountain of life and in your light we see light…
  • For open eyes to see whom you would have me befriend today…
    – For with you is the fountain of life and in your light we see light…
  • For those who struggle in their marriages and where there is discord between the generations. Break through our own selfishness and bring concord and understanding…
    – For with you is the fountain of life and in your light we see light…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, much of your church suffers under terrible persecution. Grant that this new year would bring hope and breakthrough for them; that wicked men would not prevail but that your church might enjoy a springtime of peace…
    – For with you is the fountain of life and in your light we see light…
  • For Christians who have been forced from their homeland to seek for a new home. May they be welcomed as brothers and loved as sisters…
    – For with you is the fountain of life and in your light we see light…
  • For the army of pastors who serve the poorest churches, often unknown and often in need. May their light burn bright and their needs be met…
    – For with you is the fountain of life and in your light we see light…

The World

  • Oh God of burning, cleansing flame, send your fire upon your church and thrust her out into the harvest field! Let not this generation perish without hearing the gospel or this nation slip quietly into moral oblivion while your prophets remain mute!
    – For with you is the fountain of life and in your light we see light…
  • For your people working in education, social services, law enforcement and the judiciary, that their light may shine brightly…
    – For with you is the fountain of life and in your light we see light…
  • For those working with the physically and mentally handicapped and for our brothers and sisters who labour with disability.
    – For with you is the fountain of life and in your light we see light…


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 2:13-18

The Flight to Egypt

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Herod Kills the Children

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

“A voice was heard in Ramah,
    weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
    she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

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 Blessing Creation.

Understanding that the gospel of great joy is good news to all of creation, and that all of creation is made for the pleasure of God, I seek to live in such a way that maximises the happiness and wholeness of all creation; sentient and non-sentient, spiritual and material. As a follower of the Way of Joy, I refuse to engage in any practice that will bring joy to myself only by diminishing the joy of others.

All:
This is The Way of Joy: The Principle of Blessing Creation.


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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