Year III: Week 1 of Lent

Wednesday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

This week marked the beginning of the season of Lent, the traditional 40 days of prayer, fasting, reflection and repentance that precedes the great Easter celebrations. Just as Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness learning to overcome the Enemy, so we set this time aside for spiritual warfare and renewal. It is common during this time to imitate the simplicity of Jesus in the wilderness by abstaining from rich foods and strong drink during this season, and to devote extra time to the practice of the spiritual disciplines.


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 67 (Doxology)

All:

An Invocation and a Doxology
To the Chief Musician. On stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.

God be merciful to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us,
That Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.

Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy!
For You shall judge the people righteously,
And govern the nations on earth. Selah

Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Then the earth shall yield her increase;
God, our own God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us,
And all the ends of the earth shall fear 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


MORNING PSALM

Psalm 73

The Tragedy of the Wicked, and the Blessedness of Trust in God
A Psalm of Asaph.

Truly God is good to Israel,
To such as are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
My steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the boastful,
When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

For there are no pangs in their death,
But their strength is firm.
They are not in trouble as other men,
Nor are they plagued like other men.
Therefore pride serves as their necklace;
Violence covers them like a garment.
Their eyes bulge with abundance;
They have more than heart could wish.
They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression;
They speak loftily.
They set their mouth against the heavens,
And their tongue walks through the earth.

Therefore his people return here,
And waters of a full cup are drained by them.
And they say, “How does God know?
And is there knowledge in the Most High?”
Behold, these are the ungodly,
Who are always at ease;
They increase in riches.
Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain,
And washed my hands in innocence.
For all day long I have been plagued,
And chastened every morning.

If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children.
When I thought how to understand this,
It was too painful for me—
Until I went into the sanctuary of God;
Then I understood their end.

Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.
Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment!
They are utterly consumed with terrors.
As a dream when one awakes,
So, Lord, when You awake,
You shall despise their image.

Thus my heart was grieved,
And I was vexed in my mind.
I was so foolish and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.
Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You hold me by my right hand.
You will guide me with Your counsel,
And afterward receive me to glory.

Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish;
You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry.
But it is good for me to draw near to God;
I have put my trust in the Lord GOD,
That I may declare all Your works.

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, you embraced our sin and wretchedness in order that we might be accepted by your Father. May we ever be mindful of the love that sought us, the blood that bought us and the grace that brought us to your Kingdom.
    – Lord, have mercy…
  • When other things have claimed my affection and held me back from obedience.
    – Lord, have mercy…
  • When there has been a secret ‘but’ in my prayers and reservations in my worship.
    – Lord, have mercy…
  • When the praise of man has elated me and the blame of man has depressed me, and when my love of self has polluted my service.
    – Lord, have mercy…

Family & Friends

  • Father of all, bless my family today. Help me to seek their forgiveness for wrongs committed against them, knowing that both he who offends and he who takes offense both sin in equal proportions.
    – Lord, have mercy…
  • For times when I have highlighted their failures rather that celebrate their success.
    – Lord, have mercy…
  • For failing to give them the time they deserve, the attention they crave and the love they need.
    – Lord, have mercy…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, we pray for your church all across this world and throughout all ages. Forgive us when we have not strived to see your face in their face and your life in their life; taking our brothers and sisters for granted rather than seeing them as a precious gift.
    – Lord, have mercy…
  • For times I have not worshipped as I ought, given as I should or cared as I could.
    – Lord, have mercy…
  • For turning away when the hardest was asked of me, knowing that someone else would be asked instead.
    – Lord, have mercy…
  • For broken commitments, unspoken prayers and lying words that promise much but deliver little.
    – Lord, have mercy…

The World

  • Father and creator of mankind, I place myself again on your altar for the sake of the world. Set me alight again and spare not the sacrifice. I present my life, reputation, ambitions, plans and loved ones into your hands. May I be ever and only for your glory.
    – Lord, have mercy…
  • Let earth no more my heart divide. May I know you in your life, your death and your resurrection power.
    – Lord, have mercy…
  • May I be your light, your witness and your ambassador. Having rejected the world and its accolades, I now live to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant” when you return.
    – Lord, have mercy…

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

John 3:16-21

For God So Loved the World

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgement: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

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 Compassion: The Principle of Compassionate Listening.

Mindful of the brokenness of those around me, I determine to cultivate the art of deep, non-judgemental listening. As a follower of the Way of Compassion, I will seek rather to understand than to be understood.

All:
This is The Way of Compassion: The Principle of Compassionate Listening.


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.)

O God, your glory is always to have mercy.
Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways,
And bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith,
To embrace and hold fast to the truth incarnate,
Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord,
Who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


BLESSING

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

And may God be merciful to you,
Gracious to your petitions,
And fully present in your 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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