Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: This week is set apart by the church all across the world as a time to search our hearts and set our intentions on fulfilling the great desire of the Lord Jesus, “that they may be one…” (John 17:21). Our Invitatory Psalm for the week is the great ecumenical anthem, Psalm 133 and our intercessions reflect this special season. But don’t just pray – get involved with ecumenical events in your area and meet the parts of our amazing global church family that you would otherwise never meet!
CALL TO WORSHIP
God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
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
For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be accompanied by an eight-stringed instrument.
Help, O Lord, for the godly are fast disappearing!
The faithful have vanished from the earth!
Neighbors lie to each other,
speaking with flattering lips and deceitful hearts.
May the Lord cut off their flattering lips
and silence their boastful tongues.
They say, “We will lie to our hearts’ content.
Our lips are our own—who can stop us?”
The Lord replies, “I have seen violence done to the helpless,
and I have heard the groans of the poor.
Now I will rise up to rescue them,
as they have longed for me to do.”
The Lord’s promises are pure,
like silver refined in a furnace,
purified seven times over.
Therefore, Lord, we know you will protect the oppressed,
preserving them forever from this lying generation,
even though the wicked strut about,
and evil is praised throughout the land.
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
(A short time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)
OLD TESTAMENT READING
Ishmael Is Born
Sarai, Abram’s wife, had no children, but she had a slave girl from Egypt named Hagar. Sarai said to Abram, “Look, the Lord has not allowed me to have children, so have sexual relations with my slave girl. If she has a child, maybe I can have my own family through her.”
Abram did what Sarai said. It was after he had lived ten years in Canaan that Sarai gave Hagar to her husband Abram. (Hagar was her slave girl from Egypt.)
Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant. When Hagar learned she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress Sarai badly. Then Sarai said to Abram, “This is your fault. I gave my slave girl to you, and when she became pregnant, she began to treat me badly. Let the Lord decide who is right—you or me.”
But Abram said to Sarai, “You are Hagar’s mistress. Do anything you want to her.” Then Sarai was hard on Hagar, and Hagar ran away.
The angel of the Lord found Hagar beside a spring of water in the desert, by the road to Shur. The angel said, “Hagar, Sarai’s slave girl, where have you come from? Where are you going?”
Hagar answered, “I am running away from my mistress Sarai.”
The angel of the Lord said to her, “Go home to your mistress and obey her.” The angel also said, “I will give you so many descendants they cannot be counted.”
The angel added,
“You are now pregnant,
and you will have a son.
You will name him Ishmael,
because the Lord has heard your cries.
Ishmael will be like a wild donkey.
He will be against everyone,
and everyone will be against him.
He will attack all his brothers.”
The slave girl gave a name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are ‘God who sees me,’” because she said to herself, “Have I really seen God who sees me?” So the well there, between Kadesh and Bered, was called Beer Lahai Roi.
Hagar gave birth to a son for Abram, and Abram named him Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar gave birth to Ishmael.
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Pause for Reflection……
(Take a moment to bring to God any issues that have arisen during the morning. You may like to end with the following prayer…)
Lord Jesus, you worked with your hands as a carpenter.
May we who labour upon the earth never cease to give you praise,
And know your loving presence with us.
We ask this for your glory. Amen
Lord God, we thank you for your gift to us of this food;
Produce of earth, sky, many living beings, and much hard work.
May we eat with prayerfulness, gratitude and moderation;
With renewed minds and spirit-controlled appetites.
May we eat with compassion for those who hunger today,
And in such a way that reduces the suffering of all creatures;
Healing and preserving our precious planet.
Use this food to strengthen our bodies, revive our spirits,
Nurture our family and nourish our resolve;
That we may continue to serve all that lives with all our life. 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.