We are currently in the season of Lent, which is 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. The daily intercessions throughout the entire Lenten season reflect this focus, and drill deeply into our selfish attitudes and sinful actions.
CALL TO WORSHIP
God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
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
My soul clings to the dust;
Revive me according to Your word.
I have declared my ways, and You answered me;
Teach me Your statutes.
Make me understand the way of Your precepts;
So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.
My soul melts from heaviness;
Strengthen me according to Your word.
Remove from me the way of lying,
And grant me Your law graciously.
I have chosen the way of truth;
Your judgments I have laid before me.
I cling to Your testimonies;
O Lord, do not put me to shame!
I will run the course of Your commandments,
For You shall enlarge my heart.
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
(A short time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)
OLD TESTAMENT READING
Israel Will Reap the Whirlwind
Set the trumpet to your lips!
One like a vulture is over the house of the Lord,
because they have transgressed my covenant
and rebelled against my law.
To me they cry,
“My God, we—Israel—know you.”
Israel has spurned the good;
the enemy shall pursue him.
They made kings, but not through me.
They set up princes, but I knew it not.
With their silver and gold they made idols
for their own destruction.
I have spurned your calf, O Samaria.
My anger burns against them.
How long will they be incapable of innocence?
For it is from Israel;
a craftsman made it;
it is not God.
The calf of Samaria
shall be broken to pieces.
For they sow the wind,
and they shall reap the whirlwind.
The standing corn has no heads;
it shall yield no flour;
if it were to yield,
strangers would devour it.
Israel is swallowed up;
already they are among the nations
as a useless vessel.
For they have gone up to Assyria,
a wild donkey wandering alone;
Ephraim has hired lovers.
Though they hire allies among the nations,
I will soon gather them up.
And the king and princes shall soon writhe
because of the tribute.
Because Ephraim has multiplied altars for sinning,
they have become to him altars for sinning.
Were I to write for him my laws by the ten thousands,
they would be regarded as a strange thing.
As for my sacrificial offerings,
they sacrifice meat and eat it,
but the Lord does not accept them.
Now he will remember their iniquity
and punish their sins;
they shall return to Egypt.
For Israel has forgotten his Maker
and built palaces,
and Judah has multiplied fortified cities;
so I will send a fire upon his cities,
and it shall devour her strongholds.
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Pause for Reflection……
(Take a moment to bring to God any issues that have arisen during the morning. You may like to end with the following prayer…)
Holy Father, we commit to you the work already done today,
Bless the work of our hands and forgive our many errors,
That we may we be empowered to serve you ever more fully. Amen
(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.