Year III: 12 Days of Christmas

Thursday: Afternoon Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

Today is the Eleventh 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.  The afternoon readings at this time continue our chronological tour through the scriptures; whilst the readings at Compline continue to work their way through Paul’s letter to the Romans.


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 146

The Happiness of Those Whose Help Is the Lord

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord, O my soul!
While I live I will praise the Lord;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

Do not put your trust in princes,
Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.
His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
In that very day his plans perish.

Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever,
Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.

The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord raises those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
He relieves the fatherless and widow;
But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.

The Lord shall reign forever—
Your God, O Zion, to all generations.

Praise the Lord!

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

2 Kings 13:14-25

The Death of Elisha

Now when Elisha had fallen sick with the illness of which he was to die, Joash king of Israel went down to him and wept before him, crying, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And Elisha said to him, “Take a bow and arrows.” So he took a bow and arrows. Then he said to the king of Israel, “Draw the bow,” and he drew it. And Elisha laid his hands on the king’s hands. And he said, “Open the window eastwards,” and he opened it. Then Elisha said, “Shoot”, and he shot. And he said, “The Lord‘s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Syria! For you shall fight the Syrians in Aphek until you have made an end of them.” And he said, “Take the arrows”, and he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground with them.” And he struck three times and stopped. Then the man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Syria only three times.”

So Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. And as a man was being buried, behold, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha, and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.

Now Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them, and he turned towards them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, nor has he cast them from his presence until now.

When Hazael king of Syria died, Ben-hadad his son became king in his place. Then Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again from Ben-hadad the son of Hazael the cities that he had taken from Jehoahaz his father in war. Three times Joash defeated him and recovered the cities of Israel.

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:
Lord Jesus, you worked with your hands as a carpenter.
May we who labour upon the earth never cease to give you praise,
And know your loving presence with us.
We ask this for your glory.  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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