Year IV: 12 Days of Christmas

Sunday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

Today is the Sixth 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 100 (Domini est terra)

All:

A Song of Praise for the Lord’s Faithfulness to His People
A Psalm of Thanksgiving.

Make a joyful shout 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 107:1-14

Thanksgiving to the Lord for His Great Works of Deliverance

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,
And gathered out of the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.

They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way;
They found no city to dwell in.
Hungry and thirsty,
Their soul fainted in them.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He delivered them out of their distresses.
And He led them forth by the right way,
That they might go to a city for a dwelling place.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He satisfies the longing soul,
And fills the hungry soul with goodness.

Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
Bound in affliction and irons—
Because they rebelled against the words of God,
And despised the counsel of the Most High,
Therefore He brought down their heart with labor;
They fell down, and there was none to help.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
And broke their chains in pieces.

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

  • Mighty Lord, we give you praise for bringing us to the end of another week. We thank you for your unfailing love and everlasting mercy. Come and flood our hearts this morning…
             – For the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases…
  • Chase the shadows of night away and fill us afresh with hope as we contemplate your goodness…
             – For the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases…
  • Grant us wisdom for the day, strength in your service and holiness in our lives…
             – For the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases…

Family & Friends

  • Lord Jesus, protect and shelter our families and loved ones. May our sons grow to be mighty oaks and may our daughters become beautiful pillars in the House of our God.
             – For the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases…
  • Open the eyes of those who resist your call and avoid your presence. Make us effective to reach them, O God and send your Word…
             – For the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases…
  • For the babies in our church, and those in the very early years. May they be kept in health and protected by your power…
             – For the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases…
  • For those who near their home-call and will soon join the Church Triumphant. May they be granted a glorious welcome into your Kingdom…
             – For the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, we bring before you your Church. Fill her with your power and strengthen her with your might. May her pilgrimage be pregnant with purpose and her face always set towards the cross and the glory of God…
             – For the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases…
  • For those who work in children’s departments. May they recognise the value of their work and be anointed to speak with great authority…
             – For the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases…
  • For those who work in pastoral ministries, tending the flock and ministering grace to the bruised and broken…
             – For the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases…
  • For the work of evangelists everywhere, who never cease to spread abroad the wonders of your love…
             – For the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases…

The World

  • Ever-living God, you called your body to be an ever-present prophetic witness to the world, both in words and in actions. May this new season renew that call and may the righteousness that exalts a nation be known in our land once again…
             – For the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases…
  • For those in prison and your people who work with them. Bring salvation hope and a fresh start…
             – For the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases…
  • For our Queen and Royal family. May she defend your cause, be protected from her enemies and know your peace.
             – For the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases…


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 3:1-12

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
    make his paths straight.’”

Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt round his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’, for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

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 Simplicity: The Principle of Generosity.

Aware of those around me who suffer lack, I set aside a portion of my income to meet their need. This I do without fanfare, without need for reward and where possible in secret. As a follower of the Way of Simplicity, I also choose to commit myself to the principle of tithing; joyfully offering the first-fruits of my income as my contribution towards the ongoing life and outreach of my church family.

All:
This is The Way of Simplicity: The Principle of Generosity.


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.)

Father in heaven, our hearts desire the warmth of your love,
And our minds are searching for the light of your Word.
Increase our longing for Christ our Savior,
And give us the strength to grow in love,
That the dawn of his coming may find us rejoicing in his presence,
And welcoming the light of his truth.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.


BLESSING

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

And may God the Father, judge all-merciful,
Make us worthy of a place in his kingdom. 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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