Year V: Week 1 of Lent

Thursday in Lent: Afternoon Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

We are currently in the season of Lent, which is 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:
God, come to my assistance.
All:
Lord, make haste to help me.

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

 

AFTERNOON PSALM

Psalm 80

For the choir director: A psalm of Asaph, to be sung to the tune “Lilies of the Covenant.”

Please listen, O Shepherd of Israel,
    you who lead Joseph’s descendants like a flock.
O God, enthroned above the cherubim,
    display your radiant glory
    to Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh.
Show us your mighty power.
    Come to rescue us!

Turn us again to yourself, O God.
    Make your face shine down upon us.
    Only then will we be saved.
O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies,
    how long will you be angry with our prayers?
You have fed us with sorrow
    and made us drink tears by the bucketful.
You have made us the scorn of neighboring nations.
    Our enemies treat us as a joke.

Turn us again to yourself, O God of Heaven’s Armies.
    Make your face shine down upon us.
    Only then will we be saved.
You brought us from Egypt like a grapevine;
    you drove away the pagan nations and transplanted us into your land.
You cleared the ground for us,
    and we took root and filled the land.
Our shade covered the mountains;
    our branches covered the mighty cedars.
We spread our branches west to the Mediterranean Sea;
    our shoots spread east to the Euphrates River.
But now, why have you broken down our walls
    so that all who pass by may steal our fruit?
The wild boar from the forest devours it,
    and the wild animals feed on it.

Come back, we beg you, O God of Heaven’s Armies.
    Look down from heaven and see our plight.
Take care of this grapevine
    that you yourself have planted,
    this son you have raised for yourself.
For we are chopped up and burned by our enemies.
    May they perish at the sight of your frown.
Strengthen the man you love,
    the son of your choice.
Then we will never abandon you again.
    Revive us so we can call on your name once more.

Turn us again to yourself, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies.
    Make your face shine down upon us.
    Only then will we be saved.

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
(Optional)

All:
(A short time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


OLD TESTAMENT READING

Ezekiel 29:1-21

Prophecy Against Egypt

It was the tenth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, on the twelfth day of the month. The Lord spoke his word to me, saying: “Human, look toward the king of Egypt, and prophesy against him and all Egypt. Say: ‘This is what the Lord God says:

I am against you, king of Egypt.
    You are like a great crocodile that lies in the Nile River.
You say, “The Nile is mine;
    I made it for myself.”
But I will put hooks in your jaws,
    and I will make the fish of the Nile stick to your sides.
I will pull you up out of your rivers,
    with all the fish sticking to your sides.
I will leave you in the desert,
    you and all the fish from your rivers.
You will fall onto the ground;
    you will not be picked up or buried.
I have given you to the wild animals
    and to the birds of the sky for food.

Then all the people who live in Egypt will know that I am the Lord.

“‘Israel tried to lean on you for help, but you were like a crutch made out of a weak stalk of grass. When their hands grabbed you, you splintered and tore open their shoulders. When they leaned on you, you broke and made all their backs twist.

“‘So this is what the Lord God says: I will cause an enemy to attack you and kill your people and animals. Egypt will become an empty desert. Then they will know that I am the Lord.

“‘Because you said, “The Nile River is mine, and I have made it,” I am against you and your rivers. I will destroy the land of Egypt and make it an empty desert from Migdol in the north to Aswan in the south, all the way to the border of Cush. No person or animal will walk through it, and no one will live in Egypt for forty years. I will make the land of Egypt the most deserted country of all. Her cities will be the most deserted of all ruined cities for forty years. I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, spreading them among the countries.

“‘This is what the Lord God says: After forty years I will gather Egypt from the nations where they have been scattered. I will bring back the Egyptian captives and make them return to southern Egypt, to the land they came from. They will become a weak kingdom there. It will be the weakest kingdom, and it will never again rule other nations. I will make it so weak it will never again rule over the nations. The Israelites will never again depend on Egypt. Instead, Egypt’s punishment will remind the Israelites of their sin in turning to Egypt for help. Then they will know that I am the Lord God.’”

Egypt Is Given to Babylon

It was the twenty-seventh year of our captivity, in the first month, on the first day of the month. The Lord spoke his word to me, saying: “Human, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made his army fight hard against Tyre. Every soldier’s head was rubbed bare, and every shoulder was rubbed raw. But Nebuchadnezzar and his army gained nothing from fighting Tyre. So this is what the Lord God says: I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. He will take away Egypt’s people and its wealth and its treasures as pay for his army. I am giving Nebuchadnezzar the land of Egypt as a reward for working hard for me, says the Lord God.

“At that time I will make Israel grow strong again, and I will let you, Ezekiel, speak to them. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

Reader:
The Word of the Lord.
All:
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection……


PRAYER

(Take a moment to bring to God any issues that have arisen during the morning. You may like to end with the following prayer…)

Reader:
Holy Father, we commit to you the work already done today,
Bless the work of our hands and forgive our many errors,
That we may we be empowered to serve you ever more fully. Amen

 

GRACE (Optional)

Reader:

Lord God, we thank you for your gift to us of this food;
Produce of earth, sky, many living beings, and much hard work.

May we eat with prayerfulness, gratitude and moderation;
With renewed minds and spirit-controlled appetites.

May we eat with compassion for those who hunger today,
And in such a way that reduces the suffering of all creatures;
Healing and preserving our precious planet.

Use this food to strengthen our bodies, revive our spirits,
Nurture our family and nourish our resolve;
That we may continue to serve all that lives with all our life. 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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