Year V: 12 Days of Christmas

Thursday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

Today is the Ninth 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. This afternoon, our readings turn to the very front of the Bible as we begin a chronological tour through the scriptures; whilst in the readings at Compline we begin working our 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 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 112

Praise the Lord!

How joyful are those who fear the Lord
    and delight in obeying his commands.
Their children will be successful everywhere;
    an entire generation of godly people will be blessed.
They themselves will be wealthy,
    and their good deeds will last forever.
Light shines in the darkness for the godly.
    They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.
Good comes to those who lend money generously
    and conduct their business fairly.
Such people will not be overcome by evil.
    Those who are righteous will be long remembered.
They do not fear bad news;
    they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.
They are confident and fearless
    and can face their foes triumphantly.
They share freely and give generously to those in need.
    Their good deeds will be remembered forever.
    They will have influence and honor.
The wicked will see this and be infuriated.
    They will grind their teeth in anger;
    they will slink away, their hopes thwarted.

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, at the start of this weekend may our bodies be refreshed and our minds renewed that we may better serve you in labours more abundant. May it be that this day we make a difference in the life of another…
             – As we trust in the Name of our God…
  • As we trust in the Name of our God.For the courage to stand against injustice and fight against sin…
             – As we trust in the Name of our God…
  • For openness of spirit and mind, and a childlike, expectant heart…
             – As we trust in the Name of our God…

Family & Friends

  • Lord Jesus, in whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named; we praise you for incorporating us into the household of faith and love you for adopting us as your children…
             – As we trust in the Name of our God…
  • Bless those we love with joy and happiness today. May the peace of God which passes all understanding guard their hearts and minds…
             – As we trust in the Name of our God…
  • Bring healing to those who are sick and wholeness to those who are broken. Come and give life to our bodies…
             – As we trust in the Name of our God…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, we ask for you to open the windows of heaven over your church. Purge our sins, perfect the saints and prepare our hearts for your visitation. May we, in unity and in boldness be your mouthpiece to our nation…
             – As we trust in the Name of our God…
  • For the outreach of Churches Together in our city; for Street Pastors, Foodbank, and the Sanctuary Night Shelter…
             – As we trust in the Name of our God…
  • For great trust between your people and great fellowship amongst your leaders. May your church demonstrate unity and celebrate diversity…
             – As we trust in the Name of our God…

The World

  • Ever Living God, chase the dark night of sin away and shed over this world your holy light! At the beginning of this new year, break into our world again with power and dominion. Let your Kingdom come, O God!
             – As we trust in the Name of our God…
  • For missionaries, teachers and workers who labour faithfully in other countries, may they see the desires of their hearts come to pass…
             – As we trust in the Name of our God…
  • For our partners in India, for Pastor Ebenezer and the outreach of Carmel Ministries. Bless and protect the young pastors and give power to their witness…
             – As we trust in the Name of our God…


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

The Work of John the Baptist

About that time John the Baptist began preaching in the desert area of Judea. John said, “Change your hearts and lives because the kingdom of heaven is near.” John the Baptist is the one Isaiah the prophet was talking about when he said:

“This is a voice of one
    who calls out in the desert:
‘Prepare the way for the Lord.
    Make the road straight for him.’”

John’s clothes were made from camel’s hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food, he ate locusts and wild honey. Many people came from Jerusalem and Judea and all the area around the Jordan River to hear John. They confessed their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan River.

Many of the Pharisees and Sadducees came to the place where John was baptizing people. When John saw them, he said, “You are snakes! Who warned you to run away from God’s coming punishment? Do the things that show you really have changed your hearts and lives. And don’t think you can say to yourselves, ‘Abraham is our father.’ I tell you that God could make children for Abraham from these rocks. The ax is now ready to cut down the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

“I baptize you with water to show that your hearts and lives have changed. But there is one coming after me who is greater than I am, whose sandals I am not good enough to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. He will come ready to clean the grain, separating the good grain from the chaff. He will put the good part of the grain into his barn, but he will burn the chaff with a fire that cannot be put out.”

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 Peace: The Principle of Ecumenism Amongst the Churches.

Conscious of the terrible disfigurement to the face of Christ through the fragmenting of His body on earth, I will work for the fulfilment of Jesus’ Prayer “that they may be one.” As a follower of the Way of Peace, I will not engage in unprofitable theological controversy, or allow my personal opinions to break the bond of love with my brothers and sisters of other churches, but will humbly seek to learn from their experience of faith.

All:
This is The Way of Peace: The Principle of Ecumenism Amongst the Churches.


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, you sent John the Baptist to point us towards the Messiah.
May our hearts be attentive to your voice in others,
And to your warnings through your prophets.
May we remain penitent of our sins,
Confident in your righteousness,
And dedicated to the mission.
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 Son, coming among us in power,
Reveal in our midst the promise of his glory. 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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