Year V: Week of Prayer for Unity

Wednesday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

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

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 133 (Ecce, quam bonum!)

All:

Blessed Unity of the People of God
A Song of Ascents. Of David.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!

It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing –
Life forevermore.

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 30

A psalm of David. A song for the dedication of the Temple.

I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me.
    You refused to let my enemies triumph over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
    and you restored my health.
You brought me up from the grave, O Lord.
    You kept me from falling into the pit of death.

Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones!
    Praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
    but his favor lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may last through the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

When I was prosperous, I said,
    “Nothing can stop me now!”
Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain.
    Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered.

I cried out to you, O Lord.
    I begged the Lord for mercy, saying,
“What will you gain if I die,
    if I sink into the grave?
Can my dust praise you?
    Can it tell of your faithfulness?
Hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me.
    Help me, O Lord.”

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
    You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!

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, open our hearts this morning to your Spirit, by whose power we are led into ever increasing union with yourself and your Son Jesus Christ. Teach us to be single in purpose and wholehearted in our devotion.
    Father, make us one…
  • Teach us the ways of your Spirit and open our hearts to your people wherever they are found. May your deepest longing be fulfilled in us.
    Father, make us one…
  • Close our ears to words that bring division, our minds to thoughts that bring discord and our hearts to fears that bring disagreement.
    Father, make us one…

Family & Friends

  • Father of all, we pray for those we know who have become disillusioned, and in seeing our failure have misunderstood your love. Help them, heal them and hold them; and in your perfect time, restore them to community again. Lead them into forgiveness, relationship, and the joy of belonging.
    Father, make us one…
  • Hold close today the hearts of all who feel isolated within our community by the turned backs, absent conversations or well-meant busyness of service.
    Father, make us one…
  • Pursue today the hearts of all who have rejected you because of a failed witness, through division, insularity, or lack of love poured out for others.
    Father, make us one…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, increase the unity of your church. Break dividing walls, and empower us all to be a people who take the first step towards each other. For the sake of your Son and for the sake a world that does not know you.
    Father, make us one…
  • We thank you for every place where church leaders meet to pray and Christians unite to demonstrate your love in their communities, and on their streets.
    Father, make us one…
  • We thank you for the unity we already see in your church. For Churches Together, a hope that unites and joint action that reaches out to those in need.
    Father, make us one…

The World

  • Lord Jesus Christ, forgive your church for the times she has tarnished your image, confused your message, and distracted from your love through her disunity. May we speak with one voice and deliver one message to our broken world.
    Father, make us one…
  • Lord Jesus Christ restore your church; for we would be known again by the way we love each other and the way we love you, rather than perceived as a house divided against itself.
    Father, make us one…
  • Lord Jesus Christ break our hearts for the mission of your church, for we would build your house again here in our land.
    Father, make us one…
  • As we come in repentance before you and submit to you, humble us to serve each other so that your name may again be raised high in our nation.
    Father, make us one…

 

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 11:1-19

Jesus and John the Baptist

After Jesus finished telling these things to his twelve followers, he left there and went to the towns in Galilee to teach and preach.

John the Baptist was in prison, but he heard about what the Christ was doing. So John sent some of his followers to Jesus. They asked him, “Are you the One who is to come, or should we wait for someone else?”

Jesus answered them, “Go tell John what you hear and see: The blind can see, the crippled can walk, and people with skin diseases are healed. The deaf can hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is preached to the poor. Those who do not stumble in their faith because of me are blessed.”

As John’s followers were leaving, Jesus began talking to the people about John. Jesus said, “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed blown by the wind? What did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes live in kings’ palaces. So why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, and I tell you, John is more than a prophet. This was written about him:

‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare the way for you.’

I tell you the truth, John the Baptist is greater than any other person ever born, but even the least important person in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John. Since the time John the Baptist came until now, the kingdom of heaven has been going forward in strength, and people have been trying to take it by force. All the prophets and the law of Moses told about what would happen until the time John came. And if you will believe what they said, you will believe that John is Elijah, whom they said would come. Let those with ears use them and listen!

“What can I say about the people of this time? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace, who call out to each other,

‘We played music for you, but you did not dance;
    we sang a sad song, but you did not cry.’

John came and did not eat or drink like other people. So people say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came, eating and drinking, and people say, ‘Look at him! He eats too much and drinks too much wine, and he is a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved to be right by what she does.”

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 Simplicity: The Principle of the Gentle Footprint.

Conscious that the human race is fast destroying the natural habitat we all rely on for survival, I choose to live in such a way that reduces the suffering of all living creatures, healing and preserving our precious planet. As a follower of the Way of Simplicity, I will guard the creation entrusted to us, and consume in such a way that is mindful, ethical and sustainable.

All:
This is The Way of Simplicity: The Principle of the Gentle Footprint.


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.)

Great God, you are One,
And you bring together what is scattered and mend what is broken.
Unite us with the scattered peoples of earth,
That we may become one family of your children.
Bind up our wounds and heal us in spirit,
That we may be renewed as disciples of Jesus Christ,
Our Savior and Friend. Amen


BLESSING

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

And may the one God, in whom all things find their being,
Keep you in fellowship with Him and in unity with His body,
Until He returns at the end of the age. 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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