Year V: Week 4 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.


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

Lamentations 1:12-22

Jerusalem says, “You who pass by on the road don’t seem to care.
    Come, look at me and see:
Is there any pain like mine?
    Is there any pain like that he has caused me?
The Lord has punished me
    on the day of his great anger.

“He sent fire from above
    that went down into my bones.
He stretched out a net for my feet
    and turned me back.
He made me so sad and lonely
    that I am weak all day.

“He has noticed my sins;
    they are tied together by his hands;
they hang around my neck.
    He has turned my strength into weakness.
The Lord has handed me over
    to those who are stronger than I.

“The Lord has rejected
    all my mighty men inside my walls.
He brought an army against me
    to destroy my young men.
As if in a winepress, the Lord has crushed
    the capital city of Judah.

“I cry about these things;
    my eyes overflow with tears.
There is no one near to comfort me,
    no one who can give me strength again.
My children are left sad and lonely,
    because the enemy has won.”

Jerusalem reaches out her hands,
    but there is no one to comfort her.
The Lord commanded the people of Jacob
    to be surrounded by their enemies.
Jerusalem is now unclean
    like those around her.

Jerusalem says, “The Lord is right,
    but I refused to obey him.
Listen, all you people,
    and look at my pain.
My young women and men
    have gone into captivity.

“I called out to my friends,
    but they turned against me.
My priests and my elders
    have died in the city
while looking for food
    to stay alive.

“Look at me, Lord. I am upset
    and greatly troubled.
My heart is troubled,
    because I have been so stubborn.
Out in the streets, the sword kills;
    inside the houses, death destroys.

“People have heard my groaning,
    and there is no one to comfort me.
All my enemies have heard of my trouble,
    and they are happy you have done this to me.
Now bring that day you have announced
    so that my enemies will be like me.

“Look at all their evil.
    Do to them what you have done to me
    because of all my sins.
I groan over and over again,
    and I am afraid.”

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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