Year V: Week 2 of Epiphany

Saturday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

Feast: Conversion of St. Paul: St. Paul was a zealous member of the Pharisees and an early persecutor of the church. His conversion happened after an encounter with the risen Christ on the Damascus Road, after which he became arguably the greatest of all the Apostles and is responsible for the writing of much of the New Testament and the establishing of dozens of churches across the Roman Empire. He was later imprisoned in Rome and beheaded in 67AD.


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 95:1-7 (Venite, exultemus)

All:

A Call to Worship

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the deep places of the earth;
The heights of the hills are His also.
The sea is His, for He made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.

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 27

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
    so why should I tremble?
When evil people come to devour me,
    when my enemies and foes attack me,
    they will stumble and fall.
Though a mighty army surrounds me,
    my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
    I will remain confident.

The one thing I ask of the Lord
    the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
    delighting in the Lord’s perfections
    and meditating in his Temple.
For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
    he will hide me in his sanctuary.
    He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
Then I will hold my head high
    above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
    singing and praising the Lord with music.

Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
    Be merciful and answer me!
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
    And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
Do not turn your back on me.
    Do not reject your servant in anger.
    You have always been my helper.
Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me,
    O God of my salvation!
Even if my father and mother abandon me,
    the Lord will hold me close.

Teach me how to live, O Lord.
    Lead me along the right path,
    for my enemies are waiting for me.
Do not let me fall into their hands.
    For they accuse me of things I’ve never done;
    with every breath they threaten me with violence.
Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
    while I am here in the land of the living.

Wait patiently for the Lord.
    Be brave and courageous.
    Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

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 thank you for the blessings of the week. May we know your presence in our workplace and your purpose in our labours…
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…
  • For minds kept pure and hearts kept clean by the power of your Holy Spirit.…
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…
  • For provision of every need, that Jehovah Jireh may indeed be our provider.
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…
  • For wholeness in our bodies, that Jehovah Rophe may indeed be our healer.
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…

Family & Friends

  • Father of all, we pray for peace in our marriages, blessing on those who live in celibacy, and your guidance for those searching for a partner in life.
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…
  • For those drawing near to the light of faith, may they find encouragement, wise counsel and may that precious seed be kept from the birds of the air.
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…
  • For those who are lonely, sick, hungry, persecuted, or ignored, that you would comfort and sustain them.
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, at this Epiphany season, we remember how you revealed your true nature to the world as the Saviour and Sustainer of all. May your Bride, the church be revealed in our day without spot or wrinkle and be empowered to continue your presence on earth.
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…
  • For your people in the workplace, the marketplace and the home. May they demonstrate your love and compassion wherever they go.
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…
  • For our children and young people that they might be protected in their schools…
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…

The World

  • Heavenly Father, we commit our nation into your hands. May she have peace on her streets, wisdom amongst her leaders and equity in her courts. May those who work for social justice be encouraged and those who can bring change be courageous.
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…
  • For our Government, our Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his cabinet and all in parliament.
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…
  • For Local Councils, the police, fire and medical services and those working in caring professions.
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…

 

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 12:22-50

Jesus’ Power Is from God

Then some people brought to Jesus a man who was blind and could not talk, because he had a demon. Jesus healed the man so that he could talk and see. All the people were amazed and said, “Perhaps this man is the Son of David!”

When the Pharisees heard this, they said, “Jesus uses the power of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons, to force demons out of people.”

Jesus knew what the Pharisees were thinking, so he said to them, “Every kingdom that is divided against itself will be destroyed. And any city or family that is divided against itself will not continue. And if Satan forces out himself, then Satan is divided against himself, and his kingdom will not continue. You say that I use the power of Beelzebul to force out demons. If that is true, then what power do your people use to force out demons? So they will be your judges. But if I use the power of God’s Spirit to force out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you.

“If anyone wants to enter a strong person’s house and steal his things, he must first tie up the strong person. Then he can steal the things from the house.

“Whoever is not with me is against me. Whoever does not work with me is working against me. So I tell you, people can be forgiven for every sin and everything they say against God. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, now or in the future.

People Know You by Your Words

“If you want good fruit, you must make the tree good. If your tree is not good, it will have bad fruit. A tree is known by the kind of fruit it produces. You snakes! You are evil people, so how can you say anything good? The mouth speaks the things that are in the heart. Good people have good things in their hearts, and so they say good things. But evil people have evil in their hearts, so they say evil things. And I tell you that on the Judgment Day people will be responsible for every careless thing they have said. The words you have said will be used to judge you. Some of your words will prove you right, but some of your words will prove you guilty.”

The People Ask for a Miracle

Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law answered Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we want to see you work a miracle as a sign.”

Jesus answered, “Evil and sinful people are the ones who want to see a miracle for a sign. But no sign will be given to them, except the sign of the prophet Jonah. Jonah was in the stomach of the big fish for three days and three nights. In the same way, the Son of Man will be in the grave three days and three nights. On the Judgment Day the people from Nineveh will stand up with you people who live now, and they will show that you are guilty. When Jonah preached to them, they were sorry and changed their lives. And I tell you that someone greater than Jonah is here. On the Judgment Day, the Queen of the South will stand up with you people who live today. She will show that you are guilty, because she came from far away to listen to Solomon’s wise teaching. And I tell you that someone greater than Solomon is here.

People Today Are Full of Evil

“When an evil spirit comes out of a person, it travels through dry places, looking for a place to rest, but it doesn’t find it. So the spirit says, ‘I will go back to the house I left.’ When the spirit comes back, it finds the house still empty, swept clean, and made neat. Then the evil spirit goes out and brings seven other spirits even more evil than it is, and they go in and live there. So the person has even more trouble than before. It is the same way with the evil people who live today.”

Jesus’ True Family

While Jesus was talking to the people, his mother and brothers stood outside, trying to find a way to talk to him. Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, and they want to talk to you.”

He answered, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he pointed to his followers and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. My true brother and sister and mother are those who do what my Father in heaven wants.”

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 Community: The Principle of Small Groups.

Mindful that the excitement of celebration must be balanced with the growth that can only happen in a smaller group, I commit myself to being part of a smaller midweek gathering. As a follower of the Way of Community, I dedicate myself to the support and encouragement of this group of like-minded pilgrims.

All:
This is The Way of Community: The Principle of Small Groups.


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 and everlasting God,
You govern all things both in heaven and on earth:
Hear with mercy the prayers of your people,
And in our time grant us your peace;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever. Amen.


BLESSING

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

And may God, who delivered us from the dominion of darkness,
Give us a place with the saints in light,
In the Kingdom of his beloved Son. 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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