Year V: Week 3 of Epiphany

Thursday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

We are currently in the Epiphany season; the time between Christmas and Lent. Epiphany celebrates the long awaited manifestation of Christ; no longer as a baby in a manger but as the Saviour of the World. The Epiphany season continues right through until the beginning of Lent and the gospel readings follow Jesus’ early ministry. The afternoon readings continue a chronological tour through the scriptures; whilst the readings at Compline continue to work their 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 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 34

A psalm of David, regarding the time he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away.

I will praise the Lord at all times.
    I will constantly speak his praises.
I will boast only in the Lord;
    let all who are helpless take heart.
Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
    let us exalt his name together.

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
    He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
    no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
    he saved me from all my troubles.
For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
    he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.
    Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
    for those who fear him will have all they need.
Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
    but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

Come, my children, and listen to me,
    and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
Does anyone want to live a life
    that is long and prosperous?
Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
    and your lips from telling lies!
Turn away from evil and do good.
    Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right;
    his ears are open to their cries for help.
But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil;
    he will erase their memory from the earth.
The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
    He rescues them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
    he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

The righteous person faces many troubles,
    but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
    not one of them is broken!

Calamity will surely destroy the wicked,
    and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
But the Lord will redeem those who serve him.
    No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

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

  • King of all, our lives are open before you and our hearts are laid bare. Renew us to the tasks set before us and restore us in your presence. Come, Holy Spirit and empower us for another day in your service as we cry…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…
  • May we have freedom from lack, deliverance from debt and a hand open and ready to distribute, as we declare…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…
  • For bodies that are whole and free from sickness, wisdom in eating and exercise, and courage to endure physical trials as we proclaim…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…
  • For courage to deal with the ageing process that ever brings us one step closer to the day we shall join the angels around the throne singing…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…

Family & Friends

  • Father of Jesus, may our families come to the knowledge of God and our friends to the salvation that you bring! May our witness be full of wisdom, our words be seasoned with salt and our care for them be shown by our actions as we say…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…
  • Keep our children and young people in their school. May they be free from bullying and blessed with good friendships. May they find joy in your presence and sing…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…
  • For those struggling with family conflict, crisis or who are faithfully caring for family members. May they ever know your song in their hearts…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, your Church is the most persecuted organism on the planet today. In the midst of her pain and the terrible price she must pay to continue her testimony, may her people be strong in adversity and kept by the power of God, as she joins heaven’s chorus singing…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…
  • For Christians fleeing oppressive regimes and those who have lost their homes and belongings. Restore, O God that which the locust has eaten as we declare…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…
  • For places where your people are being systematically persecuted and exterminated. For North Korea, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, India, China and Sudan. May the Lion of Judah roar as we exclaim
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…

The World

  • Lord Jesus, you revealed yourself to the world as the prince of peace, who would, Judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” Amen. So let it be…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…
  • For all those involved in bringing peace to places of war and terror. Let the voice of the peacemaker be heard above the voice of the warmonger…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…
  • For the peace of Jerusalem, the salvation of the Jews and the restoration of your people we pray…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…


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 15:1-20

Obey God’s Law

Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem. They asked him, “Why don’t your followers obey the unwritten laws which have been handed down to us? They don’t wash their hands before they eat.”

Jesus answered, “And why do you refuse to obey God’s command so that you can follow your own teachings? God said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘Anyone who says cruel things to his father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say a person can tell his father or mother, ‘I have something I could use to help you, but I have given it to God already.’ You teach that person not to honor his father or his mother. You rejected what God said for the sake of your own rules. You are hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he said about you:

‘These people show honor to me with words,
    but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me is worthless.
    The things they teach are nothing but human rules.’”

After Jesus called the crowd to him, he said, “Listen and understand what I am saying. It is not what people put into their mouths that makes them unclean. It is what comes out of their mouths that makes them unclean.”

Then his followers came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees are angry because of what you said?”

Jesus answered, “Every plant that my Father in heaven has not planted himself will be pulled up by the roots. Stay away from the Pharisees; they are blind leaders. And if a blind person leads a blind person, both will fall into a ditch.”

Peter said, “Explain the example to us.”

Jesus said, “Do you still not understand? Surely you know that all the food that enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then goes out of the body. But what people say with their mouths comes from the way they think; these are the things that make people unclean. Out of the mind come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual sins, stealing, lying, and speaking evil of others. These things make people unclean; eating with unwashed hands does not make them unclean.”

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 Cultivation of a Tranquil Heart.

Recognising that only a heart that is at peace can minister peace to a broken world, I determine to keep myself in the love of God. As a follower of the Way of Peace, I establish my heart in the presence of God by the daily practice of the spiritual disciplines.

All:
This is The Way of Peace: The Principle of Cultivation of a Tranquil Heart.


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.)

O Lord, you have taught us that without love whatever we do is meaningless;
Send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts your greatest gift of love,
The true bond of peace and of all virtue,
Without which whoever lives is accounted dead before you.
Grant this for the sake of your only Son Jesus Christ,
Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and for ever. Amen


BLESSING

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

And may God the Holy Spirit breathe life to your spirit,
Illumine your mind and bring peace to your heart. 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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