Year IV: 12 Days of Christmas

Friday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

Feast: Holy Innocents: The feast of Holy Innocents dates back to very early on in the story of the church. In it we remember Herod’s execution of all the male children in the vicinity of Bethlehem to avoid losing his throne to the newborn Messiah, Jesus. This was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy in Jeremiah 31:15

Today is also the Fourth Day of Christmas, the traditional twelve day festival that begins on Christmas Day and runs until January 5th. During this time we concentrate our readings on Jesus’ early life. This leads us to January 6th, which is the Feast of the Epiphany, where we celebrate Christ’s revelation to the world as Messiah, predominantly in the events leading up to and immediately after his baptism.


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 24 (Domini est terra)

All:

The King of Glory and His Kingdom
A Psalm of David.

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
The world and all who live upon it.
For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the waters.

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face. Selah

Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory.

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 104:1-15

Praise to the Sovereign Lord for His Creation and Providence

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

O Lord my God, You are very great:
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment,
Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.

He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters,
Who makes the clouds His chariot,
Who walks on the wings of the wind,
Who makes His angels spirits,
His ministers a flame of fire.

You who laid the foundations of the earth,
So that it should not be moved forever,
You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
The waters stood above the mountains.
At Your rebuke they fled;
At the voice of Your thunder they hastened away.
They went up over the mountains;
They went down into the valleys,
To the place which You founded for them.
You have set a boundary that they may not pass over,
That they may not return to cover the earth.

He sends the springs into the valleys;
They flow among the hills.
They give drink to every beast of the field;
The wild donkeys quench their thirst.
By them the birds of the heavens have their home;
They sing among the branches.
He waters the hills from His upper chambers;
The earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your works.

He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the service of man,
That he may bring forth food from the earth,
And wine that makes glad the heart of man,
Oil to make his face shine,
And bread which strengthens man’s heart.

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, open the eyes of our understanding that we might know you more clearly. Open the ears of our heart that we may hear you more accurately. And open our mouths that we may declare you more fully…
             – For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.
  • Today I claim freedom and victory in Jesus name! No weapon that is formed against me shall prosper!
             – For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.
  • Today I declare that God’s will shall be done through me and that God’s power shall be at work in me…
             – For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.

Family & Friends

  • Father of all, bless my family today. May all I love be kept by your power, protected by your angels, strengthened by your Spirit and prospered by your Covenant…
             – For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.
  • Today I call back the wayward sons and daughters of our church and community. Bring reconciliation with God and man and restore the backslider…
             – For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.
  • For those away at University, open their eyes to your high calling and keep them from the enemy…
             – For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, we pray for your church all across this world. Unite your people, empower your Bride and forgive her sins. May Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox come to the unity of the Spirit and fullness of the faith.
             – For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.
  • For Pope Francis, his bishops, priests, ministers, and all those that serve in that communion…
             – For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.
  • For our Orthodox brothers and sisters, often labouring under intense persecution…
             – For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.
  • For the churches of the Reformation, the Anglican communion and the free churches…
             – For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.

The World

  • Father and creator of mankind, would you heal our land and save our nation. You came at Christmas to bring good news and proclaim God’s peace towards men. May we be agents of your peace and messengers of your gospel…
             – For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.
  • For those who work as ministers of reconciliation and social justice…
             – For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.
  • For the peace of Jerusalem, the salvation of the Jews and the restoration of your people…
             – For you, O God have been our hope for all generations.


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 2:19-23

The Return to Nazareth

But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled: “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

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 Humility: The Principle of Loving Speech.

Conscious that an unguarded tongue may set a whole forest on fire, I determine to avoid boastful language and idle gossip, remaining silent unless by speaking I may increase the wellbeing and happiness of others. As a follower of the Way of Humility, I will seek to discipline my mouth so that only that which is kind, true and necessary will proceed from it.

All:
This is The Way of Humility: The Principle of Loving Speech.


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.)

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation,
That your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming,
May find in us a mansion prepared for himself;
Who lives 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)

And may God the Father,
Who loved the world so much that he sent his only Son,
Give you grace to prepare for life eternal. 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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