Year V: Week of Prayer for Unity

Thursday: 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 18:1-30

For the choir director: A psalm of David, the servant of the Lord. He sang this song to the Lord on the day the Lord rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul. He sang:

I love you, Lord;
    you are my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
    my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
    and my place of safety.
I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and he saved me from my enemies.

The ropes of death entangled me;
    floods of destruction swept over me.
The grave wrapped its ropes around me;
    death laid a trap in my path.
But in my distress I cried out to the Lord;
    yes, I prayed to my God for help.
He heard me from his sanctuary;
    my cry to him reached his ears.

Then the earth quaked and trembled.
    The foundations of the mountains shook;
    they quaked because of his anger.
Smoke poured from his nostrils;
    fierce flames leaped from his mouth.
    Glowing coals blazed forth from him.
He opened the heavens and came down;
    dark storm clouds were beneath his feet.
Mounted on a mighty angelic being, he flew,
    soaring on the wings of the wind.
He shrouded himself in darkness,
    veiling his approach with dark rain clouds.
Thick clouds shielded the brightness around him
    and rained down hail and burning coals.
The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the voice of the Most High resounded
    amid the hail and burning coals.
He shot his arrows and scattered his enemies;
    great bolts of lightning flashed, and they were confused.
Then at your command, O Lord,
    at the blast of your breath,
the bottom of the sea could be seen,
    and the foundations of the earth were laid bare.

He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
    from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress,
    but the Lord supported me.
He led me to a place of safety;
    he rescued me because he delights in me.
The Lord rewarded me for doing right;
    he restored me because of my innocence.
For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
    I have not turned from my God to follow evil.
I have followed all his regulations;
    I have never abandoned his decrees.
I am blameless before God;
    I have kept myself from sin.
The Lord rewarded me for doing right.
    He has seen my innocence.

To the faithful you show yourself faithful;
    to those with integrity you show integrity.
To the pure you show yourself pure,
    but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.
You rescue the humble,
    but you humiliate the proud.
You light a lamp for me.
    The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.
In your strength I can crush an army;
    with my God I can scale any wall.

God’s way is perfect.
    All the Lord’s promises prove true.
    He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.

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, renew our minds this morning to see your presence in those we meet. May our hearts be big enough to embrace all people and our lives expansive enough that none may be excluded.
    Father, make us one…
  • Give us courage to share our time and resources with those around us. Make us the answer to the prayers of others and suppliers to their need.
    Father, make us one…
  • Give us patience with those with whom we differ and understanding that we may continue to offer love where none is returned.
    Father, make us one…

Family & Friends

  • Merciful Lord, your Spirit hovered over the waters and made diversity sprout and flourish. We confess our difficulty in living with difference. Forgive us those attitudes of mind, words and actions that do violence to unity or devalue diversity.
    Father, make us one…
  • Almighty God, breathe into us the tolerance that welcomes and makes us true community.
    Father, make us one…
  • Almighty God, breathe into us the wind of unity that celebrates difference and transforms our fear.
    Father, make us one…

The Church

  • God our Father, as we walk with the wounded body of Christ, hasten the day when we can realise the fullness of fellowship at his table and inflame in our hearts the desire to overcome all that divides us.
    Father, make us one…
  • As we walk towards freedom, raise the unity of the Churches to be a sign of hope in situations of discrimination and injustice.
    Father, make us one…
  • As we walk as friends of Jesus, enlarge and deepen our fellowship and friendship with each other and with those who are marginalised.
    Father, make us one…
  • As we walk beyond barriers, grant us courage to overcome cultural prejudices that hinder us from recognising the presence of God in each other.
    Father, make us one…

The World

  • Lord Jesus, come and inspire your people to take your gospel once again to the nations. May we be known by our message of hope and our works of love. Bring Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox to the unity of the faith and the full measure of Christ.
    Father, make us one…
  • Grant us peace; teach us and guide us to be builders of a tolerant and non-violent world.
    Father, make us one…
  • May your people once again lead the nations to your House, and may the hope of the world be found in the unity of your Church.
    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 11:20-30

Jesus Warns Unbelievers

Then Jesus criticized the cities where he did most of his miracles, because the people did not change their lives and stop sinning. He said, “How terrible for you, Korazin! How terrible for you, Bethsaida! If the same miracles I did in you had happened in Tyre and Sidon, those people would have changed their lives a long time ago. They would have worn rough cloth and put ashes on themselves to show they had changed. But I tell you, on the Judgment Day it will be better for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to heaven? No, you will be thrown down to the depths. If the miracles I did in you had happened in Sodom, its people would have stopped sinning, and it would still be a city today. But I tell you, on the Judgment Day it will be better for Sodom than for you.”

Jesus Offers Rest to People

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the people who are wise and smart. But you have shown them to those who are like little children. Yes, Father, this is what you really wanted.

“My Father has given me all things. No one knows the Son, except the Father. And no one knows the Father, except the Son and those whom the Son chooses to tell.

“Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives. The burden that I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light.”

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 Moderation.

Recognising that my body is a temple, and that a simple life lived at a sustainable speed is deeply beneficial, I choose to be mindful of my habits of diet and exercise, and to dress simply and modestly. As a follower of the Way of Simplicity, I will not overeat, consume excess intoxicating substances, pollute my mind with impure thoughts or neglect my body through lack of adequate exercise.

All:
This is The Way of Simplicity: The Principle of Moderation.


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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