Year III: Week 4 of Easter

Sunday: Afternoon Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

We are currently in the season of Eastertide. Easter is the annual celebration of the resurrection of the Lord, and has been observed from the earliest days of the church. In the Jewish calendar, Jesus died during the Passover Feast, and the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Day of Pentecost, 50 days later. The church follows this sequence of events, with the season of Eastertide occupying the 50 days between the two great festivals.


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 89

Remembering the Covenant with David, and Sorrow for Lost Blessings

A Contemplation of Ethan the Ezrahite.

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever;
With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.
For I have said, “Mercy shall be built up forever;
Your faithfulness You shall establish in the very heavens.”

“I have made a covenant with My chosen,
I have sworn to My servant David:
‘Your seed I will establish forever,
And build up your throne to all generations.’” Selah

And the heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord;
Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the saints.
For who in the heavens can be compared to the Lord?
Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to the Lord?
God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints,
And to be held in reverence by all those around Him.
O Lord God of hosts,
Who is mighty like You, O Lord?
Your faithfulness also surrounds You.
You rule the raging of the sea;
When its waves rise, You still them.
You have broken Rahab in pieces, as one who is slain;
You have scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm.

The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours;
The world and all its fullness, You have founded them.
The north and the south, You have created them;
Tabor and Hermon rejoice in Your name.
You have a mighty arm;
Strong is Your hand, and high is Your right hand.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
Mercy and truth go before Your face.
Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound!
They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance.
In Your name they rejoice all day long,
And in Your righteousness they are exalted.
For You are the glory of their strength,
And in Your favor our horn is exalted.
For our shield belongs to the Lord,
And our king to the Holy One of Israel.

Then You spoke in a vision to Your holy one,
And said: “I have given help to one who is mighty;
I have exalted one chosen from the people.
I have found My servant David;
With My holy oil I have anointed him,
With whom My hand shall be established;
Also My arm shall strengthen him.
The enemy shall not outwit him,
Nor the son of wickedness afflict him.
I will beat down his foes before his face,
And plague those who hate him.

“But My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him,
And in My name his horn shall be exalted.
Also I will set his hand over the sea,
And his right hand over the rivers.
He shall cry to Me, ‘You are my Father,
My God, and the rock of my salvation.’
Also I will make him My firstborn,
The highest of the kings of the earth.
My mercy I will keep for him forever,
And My covenant shall stand firm with him.
His seed also I will make to endure forever,
And his throne as the days of heaven.

“If his sons forsake My law
And do not walk in My judgments,
If they break My statutes
And do not keep My commandments,
Then I will punish their transgression with the rod,
And their iniquity with stripes.
Nevertheless My lovingkindness I will not utterly take from him,
Nor allow My faithfulness to fail.
My covenant I will not break,
Nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.
Once I have sworn by My holiness;
I will not lie to David:
His seed shall endure forever,
And his throne as the sun before Me;
It shall be established forever like the moon,
Even like the faithful witness in the sky.” Selah

But You have cast off and abhorred,
You have been furious with Your anointed.
You have renounced the covenant of Your servant;
You have profaned his crown by casting it to the ground.
You have broken down all his hedges;
You have brought his strongholds to ruin.
All who pass by the way plunder him;
He is a reproach to his neighbors.
You have exalted the right hand of his adversaries;
You have made all his enemies rejoice.
You have also turned back the edge of his sword,
And have not sustained him in the battle.
You have made his glory cease,
And cast his throne down to the ground.
The days of his youth You have shortened;
You have covered him with shame. Selah

How long, Lord?
Will You hide Yourself forever?
Will Your wrath burn like fire?
Remember how short my time is;
For what futility have You created all the children of men?
What man can live and not see death?
Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave? Selah

Lord, where are Your former lovingkindnesses,
Which You swore to David in Your truth?
Remember, Lord, the reproach of Your servants—
How I bear in my bosom the reproach of all the many peoples,
With which Your enemies have reproached, O Lord,
With which they have reproached the footsteps of Your anointed.

Blessed be the Lord forevermore!
Amen and Amen.

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

Isaiah 13:1-16

The Judgement of Babylon

The oracle concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw.

On a bare hill raise a signal;
    cry aloud to them;
wave the hand for them to enter
    the gates of the nobles.
I myself have commanded my consecrated ones,
    and have summoned my mighty men to execute my anger,
    my proudly exulting ones.
The sound of a tumult is on the mountains
    as of a great multitude!
The sound of an uproar of kingdoms,
    of nations gathering together!
The Lord of hosts is mustering
    a host for battle.
They come from a distant land,
    from the end of the heavens,
the Lord and the weapons of his indignation,
    to destroy the whole land.
Wail, for the day of the Lord is near;
    as destruction from the Almighty it will come!
Therefore all hands will be feeble,
    and every human heart will melt.
They will be dismayed:
    pangs and agony will seize them;
    they will be in anguish like a woman in labour.
They will look aghast at one another;
    their faces will be aflame.
Behold, the day of the Lord comes,
    cruel, with wrath and fierce anger,
to make the land a desolation
    and to destroy its sinners from it.
For the stars of the heavens and their constellations
    will not give their light;
the sun will be dark at its rising,
    and the moon will not shed its light.
I will punish the world for its evil,
    and the wicked for their iniquity;
I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant,
    and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless.
I will make people more rare than fine gold,
    and mankind than the gold of Ophir.
Therefore I will make the heavens tremble,
    and the earth will be shaken out of its place,
at the wrath of the Lord of hosts
    in the day of his fierce anger.
And like a hunted gazelle,
    or like sheep with none to gather them,
each will turn to his own people,
    and each will flee to his own land.
Whoever is found will be thrust through,
    and whoever is caught will fall by the sword.
Their infants will be dashed in pieces
    before their eyes;
their houses will be plundered
    and their wives ravished.

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, we thank you for another morning in Your House,
For the Word as pronounced to your people,
For the Worship as presented by your people,
For the Witness as proclaimed through your people,
And for the gathering of your Bride all over the world.
We ask your blessings upon the rest of this day,
May we enjoy Sabbath rest, renewed strength and a firmer hope,
As we run the race and stretch forth towards the prize. Amen

(If these prayers are taking place before food, you may like to say the Grace here also.)

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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