Year V: Beginning of Lent

First Thursday in Lent: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

Lent: First Thursday: Yesterday was the beginning of the season of Lent, the traditional 40 days of prayer, fasting, reflection and repentance that precedes the great Easter celebrations. Just as Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness learning to overcome the Enemy, so we set this time aside for spiritual warfare and renewal. It is common during this time to imitate the simplicity of Jesus in the wilderness by abstaining from rich foods and strong drink during this season, and to devote extra time to the practice of the spiritual disciplines. The daily intercessions throughout the entire Lenten season reflect this focus, and drill deeply into our selfish attitudes and sinful actions.


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 67 (Deus misereatur)

All:

An Invocation and a Doxology
To the Chief Musician. On stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.

God be merciful to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us,
That Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.

Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy!
For You shall judge the people righteously,
And govern the nations on earth. Selah

Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Then the earth shall yield her increase;
God, our own God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us,
And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.

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 35

A psalm of David.

O Lord, oppose those who oppose me.
    Fight those who fight against me.
Put on your armor, and take up your shield.
    Prepare for battle, and come to my aid.
Lift up your spear and javelin
    against those who pursue me.
Let me hear you say,
    “I will give you victory!”
Bring shame and disgrace on those trying to kill me;
    turn them back and humiliate those who want to harm me.
Blow them away like chaff in the wind—
    a wind sent by the angel of the Lord.
Make their path dark and slippery,
    with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.
I did them no wrong, but they laid a trap for me.
    I did them no wrong, but they dug a pit to catch me.
So let sudden ruin come upon them!
    Let them be caught in the trap they set for me!
    Let them be destroyed in the pit they dug for me.

Then I will rejoice in the Lord.
    I will be glad because he rescues me.
With every bone in my body I will praise him:
    Lord, who can compare with you?
Who else rescues the helpless from the strong?
    Who else protects the helpless and poor from those who rob them?”

Malicious witnesses testify against me.
    They accuse me of crimes I know nothing about.
They repay me evil for good.
    I am sick with despair.
Yet when they were ill, I grieved for them.
    I denied myself by fasting for them,
    but my prayers returned unanswered.
I was sad, as though they were my friends or family,
    as if I were grieving for my own mother.
But they are glad now that I am in trouble;
    they gleefully join together against me.
I am attacked by people I don’t even know;
    they slander me constantly.
They mock me and call me names;
    they snarl at me.

How long, O Lord, will you look on and do nothing?
    Rescue me from their fierce attacks.
    Protect my life from these lions!
Then I will thank you in front of the great assembly.
    I will praise you before all the people.
Don’t let my treacherous enemies rejoice over my defeat.
    Don’t let those who hate me without cause gloat over my sorrow.
They don’t talk of peace;
    they plot against innocent people who mind their own business.
They shout, “Aha! Aha!
    With our own eyes we saw him do it!”

O Lord, you know all about this.
    Do not stay silent.
    Do not abandon me now, O Lord.
Wake up! Rise to my defense!
    Take up my case, my God and my Lord.
Declare me not guilty, O Lord my God, for you give justice.
    Don’t let my enemies laugh about me in my troubles.
Don’t let them say, “Look, we got what we wanted!
    Now we will eat him alive!”

May those who rejoice at my troubles
    be humiliated and disgraced.
May those who triumph over me
    be covered with shame and dishonor.
But give great joy to those who came to my defense.
    Let them continually say, “Great is the Lord,
    who delights in blessing his servant with peace!”
Then I will proclaim your justice,
    and I will praise you all day long.

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 begin Lent by confessing our sins and failures to you, knowing you are ready to forgive, eager to heal, swift to restore and able to transform.
             – Lord, have mercy…
  • For our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts and our dishonesty in daily life and work.
             – Lord, have mercy…
  • For our anger and frustration with others and our envy of those more fortunate than ourselves.
             – Lord, have mercy…

Family & Friends

  • Father of all, we confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength. We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. We have not forgiven others as we have been forgiven.
             – Lord, have mercy…
  • For allowing unease with our brethren, irritation with our children, anger towards our parents, impatience with our spouses and grumbling towards our leaders to develop within our hearts.
             – Lord, have mercy…
  • For placing ourselves before our community, our agenda’s before their needs and our personal comfort before their wellbeing.
             – Lord, have mercy…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, we confess to you our superior attitudes, forgetting that it is only “you who makes us differ” and “what have we that we have not received.” Let us see ourselves afresh as servants of your Church and ministers of Christ.
             – Lord, have mercy…
  • For speaking easily of the sins, faults and mistakes of so much as a little child.
             – Lord, have mercy…
  • For failing to show compassion on my fellow servant, even as the Lord has shown compassion upon me.
             – Lord, have mercy…

The World

  • Heavenly Father, let your Kingdom come on earth even as it is in heaven. Forgive us for placing worldly ambition above Kingdom purposes and plugging our ears to the cries of the lost. Open our hearts and lives to a world in need!
             – Lord, have mercy…
  • For the ease in which we dismiss the suffering of other nations, for the political manoeuvring that keeps them in lack and the unnecessary conflicts that keep them in misery.
             – Lord, have mercy…
  • For the cry of creation as it experiences the unthinking and greedy exploitation of man; knowing that the time will surely come when you shall “destroy those who destroy the earth.”
             – Lord, have mercy…


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 6:16-18

Jesus Teaches About Worship

“When you fast, don’t put on a sad face like the hypocrites. They make their faces look sad to show people they are fasting. I tell you the truth, those hypocrites already have their full reward. So when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then people will not know that you are fasting, but your Father, whom you cannot see, will see you. Your Father sees what is done in secret, and he will reward you.

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.)

Almighty God,
Who came to take the sin of the world,
Grant that we who were once far from you,
May be quick to offer you our penitential tears,
Our prayers for a renewed life,
And our commitment to change.
We ask this 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 this season of repentance,
Bring renewed hope and restoration of peace.
That God would dwell in your hearts by faith,
In perfect holiness and perfect love. 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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