Year V: Week 19 of Ordinary Time

Sunday: Afternoon Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

In the church calendar the long stretch of time between Pentecost and the beginning of Advent is known as ‘Ordinary Time.’ Inasmuch as we have celebrated the birth, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus and the subsequent descent of the Holy Spirit; so this time is often seen as representative of the long ‘Church Age’ when the gospel is preached to all creation. Because of that, our intercessions during this period will include prayers for every single nation of the world by name.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
God, come to my assistance.
All: 
Lord, make haste to help me.

Reader:
All glory to God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
All:
As it has been from the beginning, is today and forever! Amen


AFTERNOON PSALM

Psalm 73

A psalm of Asaph.

Truly God is good to Israel,
    to those whose hearts are pure.
But as for me, I almost lost my footing.
    My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.
For I envied the proud
    when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.
They seem to live such painless lives;
    their bodies are so healthy and strong.
They don’t have troubles like other people;
    they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else.
They wear pride like a jewelled necklace
    and clothe themselves with cruelty.
These fat cats have everything
    their hearts could ever wish for!
They scoff and speak only evil;
    in their pride they seek to crush others.
They boast against the very heavens,
    and their words strut throughout the earth.
And so the people are dismayed and confused,
    drinking in all their words.
“What does God know?” they ask.
    “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?”
Look at these wicked people—
    enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.

Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?
    Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?
I get nothing but trouble all day long;
    every morning brings me pain.

If I had really spoken this way to others,
    I would have been a traitor to your people.
So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper.
    But what a difficult task it is!
Then I went into your sanctuary, O God,
    and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.
Truly, you put them on a slippery path
    and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction.
In an instant they are destroyed,
    completely swept away by terrors.
When you arise, O Lord,
    you will laugh at their silly ideas
    as a person laughs at dreams in the morning.

Then I realized that my heart was bitter,
    and I was all torn up inside.
I was so foolish and ignorant—
    I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
Yet I still belong to you;
    you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
    leading me to a glorious destiny.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
    I desire you more than anything on earth.
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
    but God remains the strength of my heart;
    he is mine forever.

Those who desert him will perish,
    for you destroy those who abandon you.
But as for me, how good it is to be near God!
    I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
    and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.

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

Deuteronomy 7:12-26

If you pay attention to these laws and obey them carefully, the Lord your God will keep his agreement and show his love to you, as he promised your ancestors. He will love and bless you. He will make the number of your people grow; he will bless you with children. He will bless your fields with good crops and will give you grain, new wine, and oil. He will bless your herds with calves and your flocks with lambs in the land he promised your ancestors he would give you. You will be blessed more than any other people. Every husband and wife will have children, and all your cattle will have calves. The Lord will take away all disease from you; you will not have the terrible diseases that were in Egypt, but he will give them to all the people who hate you. You must destroy all the people the Lord your God hands over to you. Do not feel sorry for them, and do not worship their gods, or they will trap you.

You might say to yourselves, “Because these nations are stronger than we are, we can’t force them out.” But don’t be afraid of them. Remember what the Lord your God did to all of Egypt and its king. You saw for yourselves the troubles, signs, and miracles he did, how the Lord’s great power and strength brought you out of Egypt. The Lord your God will do the same thing to all the nations you now fear. The Lord your God will also send terror among them so that even those who are alive and hiding from you will die. Don’t be afraid of them, because the Lord your God is with you; he is a great God and people are afraid of him. When the Lord your God forces those nations out of the land, he will do it little by little ahead of you. You won’t be able to destroy them all at once; otherwise, the wild animals will grow too many in number. But the Lord your God will hand those nations over to you, confusing them until they are destroyed. The Lord will help you defeat their kings, and the world will forget who they were. No one will be able to stop you; you will destroy them all. Burn up their idols in the fire. Do not wish for the silver and gold they have, and don’t take it for yourselves, or you will be trapped by it. The Lord your God hates it. Do not bring one of those hateful things into your house, or you will be completely destroyed along with it. Hate and reject those things; they must be completely destroyed.

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:
Lord Jesus, we thank you for another morning in Your House,
For the Word as pronounced to your people,
For the Worship as presented by your people,
For the Witness as proclaimed through your people,
And for the gathering of your Bride all over the world.
We ask your blessings upon the rest of this day,
May we enjoy Sabbath rest, renewed strength and a firmer hope,
As we run the race and stretch forth towards the prize.  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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