Year III: Prayer for Unity

Thursday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: This week, culminating on Unity Sunday is set apart by the church all across the world as a time to search our hearts and set our intentions on fulfilling the great desire of the Lord Jesus, “that they may be one…” (John 17:21). Our Invitatory Psalm for the week is the great ecumenical anthem, Psalm 133 and our intercessions reflect this special season. But don’t just pray – get involved with ecumenical events in your area and meet the parts of our amazing global church family that you would otherwise never meet!


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 133 (Ecce, quam bonum!)

All:

Blessed Unity of the People of God
A Song of Ascents. Of David.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!

It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing –
Life forevermore.

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 18:1-30

God the Sovereign Savior

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord, who spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said:

I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.

The pangs of death surrounded me,
And the floods of ungodliness made me afraid.
The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me;
The snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called upon the Lord,
And cried out to my God;
He heard my voice from His temple,
And my cry came before Him, even to His ears.

Then the earth shook and trembled;
The foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken,
Because He was angry.
Smoke went up from His nostrils,
And devouring fire from His mouth;
Coals were kindled by it.
He bowed the heavens also, and came down
With darkness under His feet.
And He rode upon a cherub, and flew;
He flew upon the wings of the wind.
He made darkness His secret place;
His canopy around Him was dark waters
And thick clouds of the skies.
From the brightness before Him,
His thick clouds passed with hailstones and coals of fire.

The Lord thundered from heaven,
And the Most High uttered His voice,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe,
Lightnings in abundance, and He vanquished them.
Then the channels of the sea were seen,
The foundations of the world were uncovered
At Your rebuke, O Lord,
At the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.

He sent from above, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy,
From those who hated me,
For they were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the Lord was my support.
He also brought me out into a broad place;
He delivered me because He delighted in me.

The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness;
According to the cleanness of my hands
He has recompensed me.
For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
And have not wickedly departed from my God.
For all His judgments were before me,
And I did not put away His statutes from me.
I was also blameless before Him,
And I kept myself from my iniquity.
Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
According to the cleanness of my hands in His sight.

With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful;
With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless;
With the pure You will show Yourself pure;
And with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd.
For You will save the humble people,
But will bring down haughty looks.

For You will light my lamp;
The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.
For by You I can run against a troop,
By my God I can leap over a wall.
As for God, His way is perfect;
The word of the Lord is proven;
He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

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, in this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity we celebrate the fact that you have incorporated us as part of your Bride. May your people the world over celebrate “one body, one Spirit, one hope… one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God.”
    – Father, make us one…
  • Open our hearts to our brothers and sisters all over this world. Break down the walls of prejudice that separate us from each other.
    – Father, make us one…
  • Forgive us when out of fear, foolishness or lack of love we have allowed a hard word or an unkind thought to arise in our hearts against any one of your people.
    – Father, make us one…

Family & Friends

  • Father of all, may our families be restored, faith be remembered and failures be forgotten. Reconcile us with our neighbour and release us from our pride.
    – Father, make us one…
  • May we be bold peacemakers and courageous defenders of the weak.
    – Father, make us one…
  • Give us ears to hear and hearts to understand. Make us instruments of peace in our fractured world.
    – Father, make us one…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, we pray for your church and her leaders. Let us not divide what you have united. Forgive us our historic intolerance, ungodly opinions and selfish motives. May your church be one, even as you are one with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
    – Father, make us one…
  • We repent of the historic sectarianism, legalism, racism and political scheming that causes your name to be dishonoured. May we bring you joy as we pray…
    – Father, make us one…
  • Bless all who work within your body to bring unity. Empower Churches Together in their work and inspire church leaders to connect.
    – Father, make us one…

The World

  • Heavenly Father, we pray for the global mission of your church as it engages in your name with rulers, governments and councils. Let her speak with one voice and show with one accord the message and ministry of Jesus.
    – Father, make us one…
  • For Christians on all sides of the political spectrum. Unite them in defending the faith and pleading your cause in places of power.
    – Father, make us one…
  • For Christian Unions, Business Fellowships and those involved in workplace ministry. May they bring your people together to declare your wondrous works!
    – Father, make us one…

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 12:1-21

Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck ears of corn and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice’, you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

A Man with a Withered Hand

He went on from there and entered their synagogue. And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse him. He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.

God’s Chosen Servant

Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all and ordered them not to make him known. This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:

“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
    my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
    and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
He will not quarrel or cry aloud,
    nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets;
a bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smouldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory;
    and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”

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 Contemplative Living.

Aware that quietness and stillness are vital for spiritual life, I determine to build silence and solitude into my week and the practice of retreat into my schedule. As a follower of the Way of Prayer, I will seek to develop a contemplative lifestyle.

All:
This is The Way of Prayer: The Principle of Contemplative Living.


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.)

Great God, you are One,
And you bring together what is scattered and mend what is broken.
Unite us with the scattered peoples of earth,
That we may become one family of your children.
Bind up our wounds and heal us in spirit,
That we may be renewed as disciples of Jesus Christ,
Our Savior and Friend. Amen


BLESSING

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

And may the one God, in whom all things find their being,
Keep you in fellowship with Him and in unity with His body,
Until He returns at the end of the age. 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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