Year IV: Week 4 of Advent

Sunday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

As we enter the final countdown to Christmas, our Gospel readings begin telling the great story of our Lord’s birth. The Psalms continue their crescendo through the Songs of Ascent and our readings in the book of Revelation begin to draw to a climax in the Second Coming of Christ.


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 100 (Jubilate Deo)

All:

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

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 132

The Eternal Dwelling of God in Zion
A Song of Ascents.

Lord, remember David
And all his afflictions;
How he swore to the Lord,
And vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob:
“Surely I will not go into the chamber of my house,
Or go up to the comfort of my bed;
I will not give sleep to my eyes
Or slumber to my eyelids,
Until I find a place for the Lord,
A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah;
We found it in the fields of the woods.
Let us go into His tabernacle;
Let us worship at His footstool.
Arise, O Lord, to Your resting place,
You and the ark of Your strength.
Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness,
And let Your saints shout for joy.

For Your servant David’s sake,
Do not turn away the face of Your Anointed.

The Lord has sworn in truth to David;
He will not turn from it:
“I will set upon your throne the fruit of your body.
If your sons will keep My covenant
And My testimony which I shall teach them,
Their sons also shall sit upon your throne forevermore.”

For the Lord has chosen Zion;
He has desired it for His dwelling place:
“This is My resting place forever;
Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
I will abundantly bless her provision;
I will satisfy her poor with bread.
I will also clothe her priests with salvation,
And her saints shall shout aloud for joy.
There I will make the horn of David grow;
I will prepare a lamp for My Anointed.
His enemies I will clothe with shame,
But upon Himself His crown shall flourish.”

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, we praise you for bringing us to another Lord’s Day! We pray that today might bring glory in your House, refreshment to our families and challenge to our souls. Give us faith to expect the impossible.
             – Lord, send your Word and set us free.
  • For compassionate hearts as we minister and expansive hearts as we worship…
             – Lord, send your Word and set us free.
  • For a fresh anointing of your Spirit and obedient hearts to live the life we profess…
             – Lord, send your Word and set us free.

Family and Friends:

  • Father of all, fill our families with your goodness today. We call back wayward children, declare newness in our relationships and restoration over all that the locust has eaten.
             – Lord, send your Word and set us free.
  • For those we are seeking to reach with your gospel…
             – Lord, send your Word and set us free.
  • For those who are struggling with mental and physical illness…
             – Lord, send your Word and set us free.

The Church:

  • Lord Jesus, we pray for our church, it’s leaders and ministries. May our numbers be multiplied, our faith be strengthened, our leaders be empowered and our love be unbounded. May our Sunday meetings be full, fruitful and touched by fire…
             – Lord, send your Word and set us free.
  • For those who lead and serve in your House today, that they may do so with the anointing of your Spirit and supernatural ability.
             – Lord, send your Word and set us free.
  • For all who teach our children about faith – may they be inspired to speak your Word.
             – Lord, send your Word and set us free.
  • For visitors and those on the fringes of faith – may they encounter you this morning…
             – Lord, send your Word and set us free.

The World:

  • God of grace we place our world into your hands. Revive your people and awaken humanity to the call of Christ. As we gather to worship today let your church bear witness to the reality of the Kingdom and let nations bow down to your light.
             – Lord, send your Word and set us free.
  • For the leaders of the nations of the world – open their hearts to your wisdom and light…
             – Lord, send your Word and set us free.
  • For those who have no voice and cannot speak – let the downtrodden be lifted and the solitary brought into families…
             – Lord, send your Word and set us free.


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

Luke 2:1-14

The Birth of Jesus Christ

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Reader:
The Word of the Lord.
All:
Thanks be to God.

READING: THE WAY OF CHRIST (Optional)

Principle of discipleship drawn from the book, “The Way of Christ”

Reader:
The Way of Joy: The Principle of Blessing Creation.

Understanding that the gospel of great joy is good news to all of creation, and that all of creation is made for the pleasure of God, I seek to live in such a way that maximises the happiness and wholeness of all creation; sentient and non-sentient, spiritual and material. As a follower of the Way of Joy, I refuse to engage in any practice that will bring joy to myself only by diminishing the joy of others.

All:
This is The Way of Joy: The Principle of Blessing Creation.

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.)

Almighty God,
Give us grace to cast away the works of darkness,
And to put on the armour of light,
Now in the time of this mortal life,
In which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
That on the last day,
When he shall come again in his glorious majesty
To judge the living and the dead,
We may rise to the life immortal;
Through him who is alive and reigns with you,
In the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and for ever. Amen


BLESSING

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

The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace. 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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