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
God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
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
A prayer of Moses, the man of God.
Lord, through all the generations
you have been our home!
Before the mountains were born,
before you gave birth to the earth and the world,
from beginning to end, you are God.
You turn people back to dust, saying,
“Return to dust, you mortals!”
For you, a thousand years are as a passing day,
as brief as a few night hours.
You sweep people away like dreams that disappear.
They are like grass that springs up in the morning.
In the morning it blooms and flourishes,
but by evening it is dry and withered.
We wither beneath your anger;
we are overwhelmed by your fury.
You spread out our sins before you—
our secret sins—and you see them all.
We live our lives beneath your wrath,
ending our years with a groan.
Seventy years are given to us!
Some even live to eighty.
But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble;
soon they disappear, and we fly away.
Who can comprehend the power of your anger?
Your wrath is as awesome as the fear you deserve.
Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
so that we may grow in wisdom.
O Lord, come back to us!
How long will you delay?
Take pity on your servants!
Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love,
so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.
Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery!
Replace the evil years with good.
Let us, your servants, see you work again;
let our children see your glory.
And may the Lord our God show us his approval
and make our efforts successful.
Yes, make our efforts successful!
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
(A short time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)
OLD TESTAMENT READING
A Prayer to the Lord
Remember, Lord, what happened to us.
Look and see our disgrace.
Our land has been turned over to strangers;
our houses have been given to foreigners.
We are like orphans with no father;
our mothers are like widows.
We have to buy the water we drink;
we must pay for the firewood.
Those who chase after us want to catch us by the neck.
We are tired and find no rest.
We made an agreement with Egypt
and with Assyria to get enough food.
Our ancestors sinned against you, but they are gone;
now we suffer because of their sins.
Slaves have become our rulers,
and no one can save us from them.
We risk our lives to get our food;
we face death in the desert.
Our skin is hot like an oven;
we burn with starvation.
The enemy abused the women of Jerusalem
and the girls in the cities of Judah.
Princes were hung by the hands;
they did not respect our elders.
The young men ground grain at the mill,
and boys stumbled under loads of wood.
The elders no longer sit at the city gates;
the young men no longer sing.
We have no more joy in our hearts;
our dancing has turned to sadness.
The crown has fallen from our head.
How terrible it is because we sinned.
Because of this we are afraid,
and now our eyes are dim.
Mount Zion is empty,
and wild dogs wander around it.
But you rule forever, Lord.
You will be King from now on.
Why have you forgotten us for so long?
Have you left us forever?
Bring us back to you, Lord, and we will return.
Make our days as they were before,
or have you completely rejected us?
Are you so angry with us?
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Pause for Reflection……
(Take a moment to bring to God any issues that have arisen during the morning. You may like to end with the following prayer…)
Lord Jesus we thank you for the many blessings of this day,
Give us eyes to see the path ahead,
And faith to reach towards the prize. Amen
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.