Year IV: Week 4 of Epiphany

Sunday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

We are currently in the Epiphany season; the time between Christmas and Lent. Epiphany celebrates the long awaited manifestation of Christ; no longer as a baby in a manger but as the Saviour of the World. The Epiphany season continues right through until the beginning of Lent and the gospel readings follow Jesus’ early ministry. The afternoon readings continue a chronological tour through the scriptures; whilst the readings at Compline continue to work their way through Paul’s letter to the Romans.


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:

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 29

Praise to God in His Holiness and Majesty
A Psalm of David.

Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones,
Give unto the Lord glory and strength.
Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name;
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
The God of glory thunders;
The Lord is over many waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
The voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars,
Yes, the Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes them also skip like a calf,
Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord divides the flames of fire.

The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
The Lord shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth,
And strips the forests bare;
And in His temple everyone says, “Glory!”

The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood,
And the Lord sits as King forever.
The Lord will give strength to His people;
The Lord will bless His people with peace.

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 day in your House! We pray for blessing upon your church, refreshment in our families and encouragement to our souls. Open the windows of heaven over our lives we pray!
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…
  • For generous, attentive hearts as we minister to you, and compassionate, patient hearts as we minister to others.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…
  • For a greater outpouring of your Spirit and the manifestation of your presence.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…

Family & Friends

  • Father of all, may our families know peace and love and happiness today. Restore children who have wandered, bring refreshment to our relationships and let our homes be at rest as we enjoy this Sabbath.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…
  • May our lives reflect your life and our words reflect your wisdom.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…
  • Bring speedy healing to the sick, and wholeness to the broken.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, we pray for our beloved church; for those who come in need, for those who serve and for those who lead. Let it be even as the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth, and may even the sparrow find a home in the courts of our God.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…
  • For those who lead your people nationally and globally. Keep them from the attacks of the Enemy and strengthen them in their ministry.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…
  • For children’s ministries operating in churches today. May they see great fruit for their labours and encouragement in their work.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…
  • For those who come and who are searching. May they find what they are looking for today.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…

The World

  • God of grace we present to you our broken world, with all its pain, sorrow and suffering. As we gather to worship today let your church bear witness to a Kingdom that is one of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…
  • For the leaders of the nations of the world – grant them strength to endure, courage to do what’s right and wisdom to understand each other.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…
  • For those who struggle alone, that they might find a home in the community of the saints.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…

 


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 13:24-43

The Parable of the Weeds

He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

The Mustard Seed and the Leaven

He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”

Prophecy and Parables

All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet:

“I will open my mouth in parables;
    I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.”

The Parable of the Weeds Explained

Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

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.)

Almighty God,
Whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ,
Is the light of the world:
Grant that your people, illumined by your Word,
May shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory,
That he may be known, worshiped,
And obeyed to the ends of the earth;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,
One God, now and for ever. Amen.


BLESSING

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

And may the light of the glorious gospel of Christ,
Shine in your hearts and fill your lives,
With His joy and 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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