Year V: 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 130

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

From the depths of despair, O Lord,
    I call for your help.
Hear my cry, O Lord.
    Pay attention to my prayer.

Lord, if you kept a record of our sins,
    who, O Lord, could ever survive?
But you offer forgiveness,
    that we might learn to fear you.

I am counting on the Lord;
    yes, I am counting on him.
    I have put my hope in his word.
I long for the Lord
    more than sentries long for the dawn,
    yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.

O Israel, hope in the Lord;
    for with the Lord there is unfailing love.
    His redemption overflows.
He himself will redeem Israel
    from every kind of sin.

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 1:57-80

The Birth of John

When it was time for Elizabeth to give birth, she had a boy. Her neighbors and relatives heard how good the Lord was to her, and they rejoiced with her.

When the baby was eight days old, they came to circumcise him. They wanted to name him Zechariah because this was his father’s name, but his mother said, “No! He will be named John.”

The people said to Elizabeth, “But no one in your family has this name.” Then they made signs to his father to find out what he would like to name him.

Zechariah asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John,” and everyone was surprised. Immediately Zechariah could talk again, and he began praising God. All their neighbors became alarmed, and in all the mountains of Judea people continued talking about all these things. The people who heard about them wondered, saying, “What will this child be?” because the Lord was with him.

Zechariah Praises God

Then Zechariah, John’s father, was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:

“Let us praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
    because he has come to help his people and has given them freedom.
He has given us a powerful Savior
    from the family of God’s servant David.
He said that he would do this
    through his holy prophets who lived long ago:
He promised he would save us from our enemies
    and from the power of all those who hate us.
He said he would give mercy to our ancestors
    and that he would remember his holy promise.
God promised Abraham, our father,
that he would save us from the power of our enemies
    so we could serve him without fear,
being holy and good before God as long as we live.

“Now you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High God.
    You will go before the Lord to prepare his way.
You will make his people know that they will be saved
    by having their sins forgiven.
With the loving mercy of our God,
    a new day from heaven will dawn upon us.
It will shine on those who live in darkness,
    in the shadow of death.
It will guide us into the path of peace.”

And so the child grew up and became strong in spirit. John lived in the desert until the time when he came out to preach to Israel.

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 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…

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 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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