Year V: Week 3 of Advent

Thursday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

As we head towards for Christmas, Advent prepares us in repentance and hope for Christ’s return. The regular psalm cycle reflects this, building to the ‘Songs of Ascent’ in the run-up to Christmas Day. The gospel readings are focused on the Sermon on the Mount, the Old Testament readings relate entirely to the book of Proverbs while the New Testament readings anticipate the second coming as we read through the book of Revelation.


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 124

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of David.

What if the Lord had not been on our side?
    Let all Israel repeat:
What if the Lord had not been on our side
    when people attacked us?
They would have swallowed us alive
    in their burning anger.
The waters would have engulfed us;
    a torrent would have overwhelmed us.
Yes, the raging waters of their fury
    would have overwhelmed our very lives.

Praise the Lord,
    who did not let their teeth tear us apart!
We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap.
    The trap is broken, and we are free!
Our help is from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

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

  • King of all, we come to you this morning with needs spoken and unspoken. Fill us with strength for the tasks of the day and grace to live as ministers of reconciliation within our workplaces and families…
             – Hear us, eternal King of Glory.
  • For wisdom with financial decisions, freedom from materialism and hearts ready to distribute to those in need…
             – Hear us, eternal King of Glory.
  • For healing from every bodily ailment, protection from every assault of the Enemy and patience to endure in the fight…
             – Hear us, eternal King of Glory.

Family & Friends

  • Father of Jesus, swing wide the gates of salvation for our friends and family. May this Advent season be the day of their salvation and the year of the favour of the Lord!
             – Hear us, eternal King of Glory.
  • For those at school, may they be protected from bullying, and grow in the favour of both God and man…
             – Hear us, eternal King of Glory.
  • For those who are burdened with marital problems and those who struggle in their relationships with their children and parents…
             – Hear us, eternal King of Glory.

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, today we pray for the persecuted church across this wide world. May she know your special grace and favour, and witness to her persecutors the unsearchable riches of Christ. May the seed of the church always be the blood of the martyrs…
             – Hear us, eternal King of Glory.
  • For Christians fleeing persecution and those who are refugees at this time, may they find a new home…
             – Hear us, eternal King of Glory.
  • For those trapped in oppressive regimes and those who suffer under religious prejudice, grant protection and patience…
             – Hear us, eternal King of Glory.

The World

  • Heavenly Father, you came at Advent to usher in a Kingdom that would one day overthrow all sin, tyranny and oppression. Use us to bring change, that your Kingdom may come on earth even as it is in heaven.
             – Hear us, eternal King of Glory.
  • For your people working in education, social services, law enforcement and the judiciary, that their light may shine brightly…
             – Hear us, eternal King of Glory.
  • For all those who lobby for justice, peace and reconciliation in places of politics and power, that their voice would be heard…
             – Hear us, eternal King of Glory.


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 1:1-25

Luke Writes About Jesus’ Life

Many have tried to report on the things that happened among us. They have written the same things that we learned from others—the people who saw those things from the beginning and served God by telling people his message. Since I myself have studied everything carefully from the beginning, most excellent Theophilus, it seemed good for me to write it out for you. I arranged it in order, to help you know that what you have been taught is true.

Zechariah and Elizabeth

During the time Herod ruled Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah who belonged to Abijah’s group. Zechariah’s wife, Elizabeth, came from the family of Aaron. Zechariah and Elizabeth truly did what God said was good. They did everything the Lord commanded and were without fault in keeping his law. But they had no children, because Elizabeth could not have a baby, and both of them were very old.

One day Zechariah was serving as a priest before God, because his group was on duty. According to the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to go into the Temple of the Lord and burn incense. There were a great many people outside praying at the time the incense was offered. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah, standing on the right side of the incense table. When he saw the angel, Zechariah was startled and frightened. But the angel said to him, “Zechariah, don’t be afraid. God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give birth to a son, and you will name him John. He will bring you joy and gladness, and many people will be happy because of his birth. John will be a great man for the Lord. He will never drink wine or beer, and even from birth, he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will help many people of Israel return to the Lord their God. He will go before the Lord in spirit and power like Elijah. He will make peace between parents and their children and will bring those who are not obeying God back to the right way of thinking, to make a people ready for the coming of the Lord.”

Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I know that what you say is true? I am an old man, and my wife is old, too.”

The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand before God, who sent me to talk to you and to tell you this good news. Now, listen! You will not be able to speak until the day these things happen, because you did not believe what I told you. But they will really happen.”

Outside, the people were still waiting for Zechariah and were surprised that he was staying so long in the Temple. When Zechariah came outside, he could not speak to them, and they knew he had seen a vision in the Temple. He could only make signs to them and remained unable to speak. When his time of service at the Temple was finished, he went home.

Later, Zechariah’s wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and did not go out of her house for five months. Elizabeth said, “Look what the Lord has done for me! My people were ashamed of me, but now the Lord has taken away that shame.”

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 Self Denial.

Remembering that Christ himself taught that we should, “deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow”, I gladly embrace a life of self-denial. As a follower of the Way of Humility, I determine to live in such a way that is an imitation of Christ; denying all selfish, inordinate and unhealthy desires of the body and mind in order that the life of Christ may be truly known.

All:
This is The Way of Humility: The Principle of Self Denial.


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, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word:
Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts,
May shine forth in our lives;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
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 Holy Spirit make us steadfast in faith,
Joyful in hope, and constant in love. Amen.


Psalms in Bold – Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved

All other Psalms – Scripture quotations are taken from The Living Bible copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

All other Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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