Year V: Week 2 of Epiphany

Saturday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

Feast: Conversion of St. Paul: St. Paul was a zealous member of the Pharisees and an early persecutor of the church. His conversion happened after an encounter with the risen Christ on the Damascus Road, after which he became arguably the greatest of all the Apostles and is responsible for the writing of much of the New Testament and the establishing of dozens of churches across the Roman Empire. He was later imprisoned in Rome and beheaded in 67AD.


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 95:1-7 (Venite, exultemus)

All:

A Call to Worship

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the deep places of the earth;
The heights of the hills are His also.
The sea is His, for He made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.

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 27

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
    so why should I tremble?
When evil people come to devour me,
    when my enemies and foes attack me,
    they will stumble and fall.
Though a mighty army surrounds me,
    my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
    I will remain confident.

The one thing I ask of the Lord
    the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
    delighting in the Lord’s perfections
    and meditating in his Temple.
For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
    he will hide me in his sanctuary.
    He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
Then I will hold my head high
    above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
    singing and praising the Lord with music.

Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
    Be merciful and answer me!
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
    And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
Do not turn your back on me.
    Do not reject your servant in anger.
    You have always been my helper.
Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me,
    O God of my salvation!
Even if my father and mother abandon me,
    the Lord will hold me close.

Teach me how to live, O Lord.
    Lead me along the right path,
    for my enemies are waiting for me.
Do not let me fall into their hands.
    For they accuse me of things I’ve never done;
    with every breath they threaten me with violence.
Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
    while I am here in the land of the living.

Wait patiently for the Lord.
    Be brave and courageous.
    Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

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 thank you for the blessings of the week. May we know your presence in our workplace and your purpose in our labours…
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…
  • For minds kept pure and hearts kept clean by the power of your Holy Spirit.…
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…
  • For provision of every need, that Jehovah Jireh may indeed be our provider.
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…
  • For wholeness in our bodies, that Jehovah Rophe may indeed be our healer.
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…

Family & Friends

  • Father of all, we pray for peace in our marriages, blessing on those who live in celibacy, and your guidance for those searching for a partner in life.
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…
  • For those drawing near to the light of faith, may they find encouragement, wise counsel and may that precious seed be kept from the birds of the air.
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…
  • For those who are lonely, sick, hungry, persecuted, or ignored, that you would comfort and sustain them.
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, at this Epiphany season, we remember how you revealed your true nature to the world as the Saviour and Sustainer of all. May your Bride, the church be revealed in our day without spot or wrinkle and be empowered to continue your presence on earth.
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…
  • For your people in the workplace, the marketplace and the home. May they demonstrate your love and compassion wherever they go.
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…
  • For our children and young people that they might be protected in their schools…
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…

The World

  • Heavenly Father, we commit our nation into your hands. May she have peace on her streets, wisdom amongst her leaders and equity in her courts. May those who work for social justice be encouraged and those who can bring change be courageous.
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…
  • For our Government, our Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his cabinet and all in parliament.
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…
  • For Local Councils, the police, fire and medical services and those working in caring professions.
             – Hide us under the shadow of your wings…

 

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 12:22-50

Jesus’ Power Is from God

Then some people brought to Jesus a man who was blind and could not talk, because he had a demon. Jesus healed the man so that he could talk and see. All the people were amazed and said, “Perhaps this man is the Son of David!”

When the Pharisees heard this, they said, “Jesus uses the power of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons, to force demons out of people.”

Jesus knew what the Pharisees were thinking, so he said to them, “Every kingdom that is divided against itself will be destroyed. And any city or family that is divided against itself will not continue. And if Satan forces out himself, then Satan is divided against himself, and his kingdom will not continue. You say that I use the power of Beelzebul to force out demons. If that is true, then what power do your people use to force out demons? So they will be your judges. But if I use the power of God’s Spirit to force out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you.

“If anyone wants to enter a strong person’s house and steal his things, he must first tie up the strong person. Then he can steal the things from the house.

“Whoever is not with me is against me. Whoever does not work with me is working against me. So I tell you, people can be forgiven for every sin and everything they say against God. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, now or in the future.

People Know You by Your Words

“If you want good fruit, you must make the tree good. If your tree is not good, it will have bad fruit. A tree is known by the kind of fruit it produces. You snakes! You are evil people, so how can you say anything good? The mouth speaks the things that are in the heart. Good people have good things in their hearts, and so they say good things. But evil people have evil in their hearts, so they say evil things. And I tell you that on the Judgment Day people will be responsible for every careless thing they have said. The words you have said will be used to judge you. Some of your words will prove you right, but some of your words will prove you guilty.”

The People Ask for a Miracle

Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law answered Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we want to see you work a miracle as a sign.”

Jesus answered, “Evil and sinful people are the ones who want to see a miracle for a sign. But no sign will be given to them, except the sign of the prophet Jonah. Jonah was in the stomach of the big fish for three days and three nights. In the same way, the Son of Man will be in the grave three days and three nights. On the Judgment Day the people from Nineveh will stand up with you people who live now, and they will show that you are guilty. When Jonah preached to them, they were sorry and changed their lives. And I tell you that someone greater than Jonah is here. On the Judgment Day, the Queen of the South will stand up with you people who live today. She will show that you are guilty, because she came from far away to listen to Solomon’s wise teaching. And I tell you that someone greater than Solomon is here.

People Today Are Full of Evil

“When an evil spirit comes out of a person, it travels through dry places, looking for a place to rest, but it doesn’t find it. So the spirit says, ‘I will go back to the house I left.’ When the spirit comes back, it finds the house still empty, swept clean, and made neat. Then the evil spirit goes out and brings seven other spirits even more evil than it is, and they go in and live there. So the person has even more trouble than before. It is the same way with the evil people who live today.”

Jesus’ True Family

While Jesus was talking to the people, his mother and brothers stood outside, trying to find a way to talk to him. Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, and they want to talk to you.”

He answered, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he pointed to his followers and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. My true brother and sister and mother are those who do what my Father in heaven wants.”

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 Community: The Principle of Small Groups.

Mindful that the excitement of celebration must be balanced with the growth that can only happen in a smaller group, I commit myself to being part of a smaller midweek gathering. As a follower of the Way of Community, I dedicate myself to the support and encouragement of this group of like-minded pilgrims.

All:
This is The Way of Community: The Principle of Small Groups.


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 and everlasting God,
You govern all things both in heaven and on earth:
Hear with mercy the prayers of your people,
And in our time grant us your peace;
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 God, who delivered us from the dominion of darkness,
Give us a place with the saints in light,
In the Kingdom of his beloved Son. 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.

Standard
Year V: Week of Prayer for Unity

Friday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: This week, culminating today, is set apart by the church all across the world as a time to search our hearts and set our intentions on fulfilling the great desire of the Lord Jesus, “that they may be one…” (John 17:21). Our Invitatory Psalm for the week is the great ecumenical anthem, Psalm 133 and our intercessions reflect this special season. But don’t just pray – get involved with ecumenical events in your area and meet the parts of our amazing global church family that you would otherwise never meet!


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 133 (Ecce, quam bonum!)

All:

Blessed Unity of the People of God
A Song of Ascents. Of David.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!

It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing –
Life forevermore.

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 22:1-21

For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be sung to the tune “Doe of the Dawn.”

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
    Why are you so far away when I groan for help?
Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer.
    Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.

Yet you are holy,
    enthroned on the praises of Israel.
Our ancestors trusted in you,
    and you rescued them.
They cried out to you and were saved.
    They trusted in you and were never disgraced.

But I am a worm and not a man.
    I am scorned and despised by all!
Everyone who sees me mocks me.
    They sneer and shake their heads, saying,
“Is this the one who relies on the Lord?
    Then let the Lord save him!
If the Lord loves him so much,
    let the Lord rescue him!”

Yet you brought me safely from my mother’s womb
    and led me to trust you at my mother’s breast.
I was thrust into your arms at my birth.
    You have been my God from the moment I was born.

Do not stay so far from me,
    for trouble is near,
    and no one else can help me.
My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls;
    fierce bulls of Bashan have hemmed me in!
Like lions they open their jaws against me,
    roaring and tearing into their prey.
My life is poured out like water,
    and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart is like wax,
    melting within me.
My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay.
    My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.
    You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead.
My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs;
    an evil gang closes in on me.
    They have pierced my hands and feet.
I can count all my bones.
    My enemies stare at me and gloat.
They divide my garments among themselves
    and throw dice for my clothing.

O Lord, do not stay far away!
    You are my strength; come quickly to my aid!
Save me from the sword;
    spare my precious life from these dogs.
Snatch me from the lion’s jaws
    and from the horns of these wild oxen.

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, in this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity we praise you for bringing us to another day as ministers of your kingdom on earth. May your people the world over celebrate “one body, one Spirit, one hope… one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God.”
             – Father, make us one…
  • For generous, attentive hearts as we minister to you, and compassionate, patient hearts as we minister to others.
             – Father, make us one…
  • For a greater outpouring of your Spirit and the manifestation of your presence.
             – Father, make us one…

Family & Friends

  • Father of all, may our families know peace and love and happiness today. Restore children who have wandered, bring refreshment to our relationships and let our homes be at peace as we enjoy this day.
             – Father, make us one…
  • May our lives reflect your life and our words reflect your wisdom.
             – Father, make us one…
  • Bring speedy healing to the sick, and wholeness to the broken.
             – Father, make us one…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, we pray for our beloved church; for those who come in need, for those who serve and for those who lead. Let it be even as the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth, and may even the sparrow find a home in the courts of our God.
             – Father, make us one…
  • For those who lead your people nationally and globally. Keep them from the attacks of the Enemy and strengthen them in their ministry.
             – Father, make us one…
  • For children’s ministries operating in churches this week. May they see great fruit for their labours and encouragement in their work.
             – Father, make us one…
  • For those who come and who are searching. May they find what they are looking for in you.
             – Father, make us one…

The World

  • God of grace we present to you our broken world, with all its pain, sorrow and suffering. As we worship you, let your church bear witness to a Kingdom that is one of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
             – Father, make us one…
  • For the leaders of the nations of the world – grant them strength to endure, courage to do what’s right and wisdom to understand each other.
             – Father, make us one…
  • For those who struggle alone, that they might find a home in the community of the saints.
             – Father, make us one…

 

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 12:1-21

Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath

At that time Jesus was walking through some fields of grain on a Sabbath day. His followers were hungry, so they began to pick the grain and eat it. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to Jesus, “Look! Your followers are doing what is unlawful to do on the Sabbath day.”

Jesus answered, “Have you not read what David did when he and the people with him were hungry? He went into God’s house, and he and those with him ate the holy bread, which was lawful only for priests to eat. And have you not read in the law of Moses that on every Sabbath day the priests in the Temple break this law about the Sabbath day? But the priests are not wrong for doing that. I tell you that there is something here that is greater than the Temple. The Scripture says, ‘I want kindness more than I want animal sacrifices.’ You don’t really know what those words mean. If you understood them, you would not judge those who have done nothing wrong.

“So the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath day.”

Jesus Heals a Man’s Hand

Jesus left there and went into their synagogue, where there was a man with a crippled hand. They were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they asked him, “Is it right to heal on the Sabbath day?”

Jesus answered, “If any of you has a sheep, and it falls into a ditch on the Sabbath day, you will help it out of the ditch. Surely a human being is more important than a sheep. So it is lawful to do good things on the Sabbath day.”

Then Jesus said to the man with the crippled hand, “Hold out your hand.” The man held out his hand, and it became well again, like the other hand. But the Pharisees left and made plans to kill Jesus.

Jesus Is God’s Chosen Servant

Jesus knew what the Pharisees were doing, so he left that place. Many people followed him, and he healed all who were sick. But Jesus warned the people not to tell who he was. He did these things to bring about what Isaiah the prophet had said:

“Here is my servant whom I have chosen.
I love him, and I am pleased with him.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will tell of my justice to all people.
He will not argue or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
He will not break a crushed blade of grass
or put out even a weak flame
until he makes justice win the victory.
In him will the non-Jewish people find hope.”

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 Community: The Principle of Celebration.

Recognising the power of corporate witness and worship, I prioritise the Sunday gatherings of my church, committing to being a contributor and not just a consumer. As a follower of the Way of Community, I will find a place to serve within the church and arrive on time, with an expectant heart and a cheerful spirit.

All:
This is The Way of Community: The Principle of Celebration.


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, bless your church all across this world.
May she walk in humility, speak out encouragement;
And strive ever for peace.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who lives and reigns with you,
In the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and forever. Amen


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

And may the one God, in whom all things find their being,
Keep you in fellowship with Him and in unity with His body,
Until He returns at the end of the age. 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.

Standard
Year V: Week of Prayer for Unity

Thursday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: This week is set apart by the church all across the world as a time to search our hearts and set our intentions on fulfilling the great desire of the Lord Jesus, “that they may be one…” (John 17:21). Our Invitatory Psalm for the week is the great ecumenical anthem, Psalm 133 and our intercessions reflect this special season. But don’t just pray – get involved with ecumenical events in your area and meet the parts of our amazing global church family that you would otherwise never meet!


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 133 (Ecce, quam bonum!)

All:

Blessed Unity of the People of God
A Song of Ascents. Of David.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!

It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing –
Life forevermore.

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 18:1-30

For the choir director: A psalm of David, the servant of the Lord. He sang this song to the Lord on the day the Lord rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul. He sang:

I love you, Lord;
    you are my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
    my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
    and my place of safety.
I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and he saved me from my enemies.

The ropes of death entangled me;
    floods of destruction swept over me.
The grave wrapped its ropes around me;
    death laid a trap in my path.
But in my distress I cried out to the Lord;
    yes, I prayed to my God for help.
He heard me from his sanctuary;
    my cry to him reached his ears.

Then the earth quaked and trembled.
    The foundations of the mountains shook;
    they quaked because of his anger.
Smoke poured from his nostrils;
    fierce flames leaped from his mouth.
    Glowing coals blazed forth from him.
He opened the heavens and came down;
    dark storm clouds were beneath his feet.
Mounted on a mighty angelic being, he flew,
    soaring on the wings of the wind.
He shrouded himself in darkness,
    veiling his approach with dark rain clouds.
Thick clouds shielded the brightness around him
    and rained down hail and burning coals.
The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the voice of the Most High resounded
    amid the hail and burning coals.
He shot his arrows and scattered his enemies;
    great bolts of lightning flashed, and they were confused.
Then at your command, O Lord,
    at the blast of your breath,
the bottom of the sea could be seen,
    and the foundations of the earth were laid bare.

He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
    from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress,
    but the Lord supported me.
He led me to a place of safety;
    he rescued me because he delights in me.
The Lord rewarded me for doing right;
    he restored me because of my innocence.
For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
    I have not turned from my God to follow evil.
I have followed all his regulations;
    I have never abandoned his decrees.
I am blameless before God;
    I have kept myself from sin.
The Lord rewarded me for doing right.
    He has seen my innocence.

To the faithful you show yourself faithful;
    to those with integrity you show integrity.
To the pure you show yourself pure,
    but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.
You rescue the humble,
    but you humiliate the proud.
You light a lamp for me.
    The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.
In your strength I can crush an army;
    with my God I can scale any wall.

God’s way is perfect.
    All the Lord’s promises prove true.
    He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.

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, renew our minds this morning to see your presence in those we meet. May our hearts be big enough to embrace all people and our lives expansive enough that none may be excluded.
    Father, make us one…
  • Give us courage to share our time and resources with those around us. Make us the answer to the prayers of others and suppliers to their need.
    Father, make us one…
  • Give us patience with those with whom we differ and understanding that we may continue to offer love where none is returned.
    Father, make us one…

Family & Friends

  • Merciful Lord, your Spirit hovered over the waters and made diversity sprout and flourish. We confess our difficulty in living with difference. Forgive us those attitudes of mind, words and actions that do violence to unity or devalue diversity.
    Father, make us one…
  • Almighty God, breathe into us the tolerance that welcomes and makes us true community.
    Father, make us one…
  • Almighty God, breathe into us the wind of unity that celebrates difference and transforms our fear.
    Father, make us one…

The Church

  • God our Father, as we walk with the wounded body of Christ, hasten the day when we can realise the fullness of fellowship at his table and inflame in our hearts the desire to overcome all that divides us.
    Father, make us one…
  • As we walk towards freedom, raise the unity of the Churches to be a sign of hope in situations of discrimination and injustice.
    Father, make us one…
  • As we walk as friends of Jesus, enlarge and deepen our fellowship and friendship with each other and with those who are marginalised.
    Father, make us one…
  • As we walk beyond barriers, grant us courage to overcome cultural prejudices that hinder us from recognising the presence of God in each other.
    Father, make us one…

The World

  • Lord Jesus, come and inspire your people to take your gospel once again to the nations. May we be known by our message of hope and our works of love. Bring Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox to the unity of the faith and the full measure of Christ.
    Father, make us one…
  • Grant us peace; teach us and guide us to be builders of a tolerant and non-violent world.
    Father, make us one…
  • May your people once again lead the nations to your House, and may the hope of the world be found in the unity of your Church.
    Father, make us one…

 

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 11:20-30

Jesus Warns Unbelievers

Then Jesus criticized the cities where he did most of his miracles, because the people did not change their lives and stop sinning. He said, “How terrible for you, Korazin! How terrible for you, Bethsaida! If the same miracles I did in you had happened in Tyre and Sidon, those people would have changed their lives a long time ago. They would have worn rough cloth and put ashes on themselves to show they had changed. But I tell you, on the Judgment Day it will be better for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to heaven? No, you will be thrown down to the depths. If the miracles I did in you had happened in Sodom, its people would have stopped sinning, and it would still be a city today. But I tell you, on the Judgment Day it will be better for Sodom than for you.”

Jesus Offers Rest to People

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the people who are wise and smart. But you have shown them to those who are like little children. Yes, Father, this is what you really wanted.

“My Father has given me all things. No one knows the Son, except the Father. And no one knows the Father, except the Son and those whom the Son chooses to tell.

“Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives. The burden that I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light.”

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 Simplicity: The Principle of Moderation.

Recognising that my body is a temple, and that a simple life lived at a sustainable speed is deeply beneficial, I choose to be mindful of my habits of diet and exercise, and to dress simply and modestly. As a follower of the Way of Simplicity, I will not overeat, consume excess intoxicating substances, pollute my mind with impure thoughts or neglect my body through lack of adequate exercise.

All:
This is The Way of Simplicity: The Principle of Moderation.


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.)

Great God, you are One,
And you bring together what is scattered and mend what is broken.
Unite us with the scattered peoples of earth,
That we may become one family of your children.
Bind up our wounds and heal us in spirit,
That we may be renewed as disciples of Jesus Christ,
Our Savior and Friend. Amen


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

And may the one God, in whom all things find their being,
Keep you in fellowship with Him and in unity with His body,
Until He returns at the end of the age. 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.

Standard
Year V: Week of Prayer for Unity

Wednesday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: This week is set apart by the church all across the world as a time to search our hearts and set our intentions on fulfilling the great desire of the Lord Jesus, “that they may be one…” (John 17:21). Our Invitatory Psalm for the week is the great ecumenical anthem, Psalm 133 and our intercessions reflect this special season. But don’t just pray – get involved with ecumenical events in your area and meet the parts of our amazing global church family that you would otherwise never meet!


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 133 (Ecce, quam bonum!)

All:

Blessed Unity of the People of God
A Song of Ascents. Of David.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!

It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing –
Life forevermore.

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 30

A psalm of David. A song for the dedication of the Temple.

I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me.
    You refused to let my enemies triumph over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
    and you restored my health.
You brought me up from the grave, O Lord.
    You kept me from falling into the pit of death.

Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones!
    Praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
    but his favor lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may last through the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

When I was prosperous, I said,
    “Nothing can stop me now!”
Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain.
    Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered.

I cried out to you, O Lord.
    I begged the Lord for mercy, saying,
“What will you gain if I die,
    if I sink into the grave?
Can my dust praise you?
    Can it tell of your faithfulness?
Hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me.
    Help me, O Lord.”

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
    You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!

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, open our hearts this morning to your Spirit, by whose power we are led into ever increasing union with yourself and your Son Jesus Christ. Teach us to be single in purpose and wholehearted in our devotion.
    Father, make us one…
  • Teach us the ways of your Spirit and open our hearts to your people wherever they are found. May your deepest longing be fulfilled in us.
    Father, make us one…
  • Close our ears to words that bring division, our minds to thoughts that bring discord and our hearts to fears that bring disagreement.
    Father, make us one…

Family & Friends

  • Father of all, we pray for those we know who have become disillusioned, and in seeing our failure have misunderstood your love. Help them, heal them and hold them; and in your perfect time, restore them to community again. Lead them into forgiveness, relationship, and the joy of belonging.
    Father, make us one…
  • Hold close today the hearts of all who feel isolated within our community by the turned backs, absent conversations or well-meant busyness of service.
    Father, make us one…
  • Pursue today the hearts of all who have rejected you because of a failed witness, through division, insularity, or lack of love poured out for others.
    Father, make us one…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, increase the unity of your church. Break dividing walls, and empower us all to be a people who take the first step towards each other. For the sake of your Son and for the sake a world that does not know you.
    Father, make us one…
  • We thank you for every place where church leaders meet to pray and Christians unite to demonstrate your love in their communities, and on their streets.
    Father, make us one…
  • We thank you for the unity we already see in your church. For Churches Together, a hope that unites and joint action that reaches out to those in need.
    Father, make us one…

The World

  • Lord Jesus Christ, forgive your church for the times she has tarnished your image, confused your message, and distracted from your love through her disunity. May we speak with one voice and deliver one message to our broken world.
    Father, make us one…
  • Lord Jesus Christ restore your church; for we would be known again by the way we love each other and the way we love you, rather than perceived as a house divided against itself.
    Father, make us one…
  • Lord Jesus Christ break our hearts for the mission of your church, for we would build your house again here in our land.
    Father, make us one…
  • As we come in repentance before you and submit to you, humble us to serve each other so that your name may again be raised high in our nation.
    Father, make us one…

 

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 11:1-19

Jesus and John the Baptist

After Jesus finished telling these things to his twelve followers, he left there and went to the towns in Galilee to teach and preach.

John the Baptist was in prison, but he heard about what the Christ was doing. So John sent some of his followers to Jesus. They asked him, “Are you the One who is to come, or should we wait for someone else?”

Jesus answered them, “Go tell John what you hear and see: The blind can see, the crippled can walk, and people with skin diseases are healed. The deaf can hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is preached to the poor. Those who do not stumble in their faith because of me are blessed.”

As John’s followers were leaving, Jesus began talking to the people about John. Jesus said, “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed blown by the wind? What did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes live in kings’ palaces. So why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, and I tell you, John is more than a prophet. This was written about him:

‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare the way for you.’

I tell you the truth, John the Baptist is greater than any other person ever born, but even the least important person in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John. Since the time John the Baptist came until now, the kingdom of heaven has been going forward in strength, and people have been trying to take it by force. All the prophets and the law of Moses told about what would happen until the time John came. And if you will believe what they said, you will believe that John is Elijah, whom they said would come. Let those with ears use them and listen!

“What can I say about the people of this time? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace, who call out to each other,

‘We played music for you, but you did not dance;
    we sang a sad song, but you did not cry.’

John came and did not eat or drink like other people. So people say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came, eating and drinking, and people say, ‘Look at him! He eats too much and drinks too much wine, and he is a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved to be right by what she does.”

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 Simplicity: The Principle of the Gentle Footprint.

Conscious that the human race is fast destroying the natural habitat we all rely on for survival, I choose to live in such a way that reduces the suffering of all living creatures, healing and preserving our precious planet. As a follower of the Way of Simplicity, I will guard the creation entrusted to us, and consume in such a way that is mindful, ethical and sustainable.

All:
This is The Way of Simplicity: The Principle of the Gentle Footprint.


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.)

Great God, you are One,
And you bring together what is scattered and mend what is broken.
Unite us with the scattered peoples of earth,
That we may become one family of your children.
Bind up our wounds and heal us in spirit,
That we may be renewed as disciples of Jesus Christ,
Our Savior and Friend. Amen


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

And may the one God, in whom all things find their being,
Keep you in fellowship with Him and in unity with His body,
Until He returns at the end of the age. 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.

Standard
Year V: Week of Prayer for Unity

Tuesday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: This week is set apart by the church all across the world as a time to search our hearts and set our intentions on fulfilling the great desire of the Lord Jesus, “that they may be one…” (John 17:21). Our Invitatory Psalm for the week is the great ecumenical anthem, Psalm 133 and our intercessions reflect this special season. But don’t just pray – get involved with ecumenical events in your area and meet the parts of our amazing global church family that you would otherwise never meet!


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 133 (Ecce, quam bonum!)

All:

Blessed Unity of the People of God
A Song of Ascents. Of David.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!

It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing –
Life forevermore.

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 29

A psalm of David.

Honor the Lord, you heavenly beings;
    honor the Lord for his glory and strength.
Honor the Lord for the glory of his name.
    Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea.
    The God of glory thunders.
    The Lord thunders over the mighty sea.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
    the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord splits the mighty cedars;
    the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf;
    he makes Mount Hermon leap like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord strikes
    with bolts of lightning.
The voice of the Lord makes the barren wilderness quake;
    the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord twists mighty oaks
    and strips the forests bare.
In his Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!”

The Lord rules over the floodwaters.
    The Lord reigns as king forever.
The Lord gives his people strength.
    The Lord blesses them with peace.

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, in this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity we celebrate the fact that you have incorporated us as part of your Bride. May your people the world over celebrate “one body, one Spirit, one hope… one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God.”
             – Father, make us one…
  • Open our hearts to our brothers and sisters all over this world. Break down the walls of prejudice that separate us from each other.
             – Father, make us one…
  • Forgive us when out of fear, foolishness or lack of love we have allowed a hard word or an unkind thought to arise in our hearts against any one of your people.
    – Father, make us one…

Family & Friends

  • Father of all, may our families be restored, faith be remembered and failures be forgotten. Reconcile us with our neighbour and release us from our pride.
             – Father, make us one…
  • May we be bold peacemakers and courageous defenders of the weak.
             – Father, make us one…
  • Give us ears to hear and hearts to understand. Make us instruments of peace in our fractured world.
             – Father, make us one…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, we pray for your church and her leaders. Let us not divide what you have united. Forgive us our historic intolerance, ungodly opinions and selfish motives. May your church be one, even as you are one with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
             – Father, make us one…
  • We repent of the historic sectarianism, legalism, racism and political scheming that causes your name to be dishonoured. May we bring you joy as we pray…
             – Father, make us one…
  • Bless all who work within your body to bring unity. Empower Churches Together in their work and inspire church leaders to connect.
             – Father, make us one…

The World

  • Heavenly Father, we pray for the global mission of your church as it engages in your name with rulers, governments and councils. Let her speak with one voice and show with one accord the message and ministry of Jesus.
             – Father, make us one…
  • For Christians on all sides of the political spectrum. Unite them in defending the faith and pleading your cause in places of power.
             – Father, make us one…
  • For Christian Unions, Business Fellowships and those involved in workplace ministry. May they bring your people together to declare your wondrous works!
             – Father, make us one…

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 10:16-42

Jesus Warns His Apostles

“Listen, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. So be as clever as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be careful of people, because they will arrest you and take you to court and whip you in their synagogues. Because of me you will be taken to stand before governors and kings, and you will tell them and the non-Jewish people about me. When you are arrested, don’t worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given the things to say. It will not really be you speaking but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

“Brothers will give their own brothers to be killed, and fathers will give their own children to be killed. Children will fight against their own parents and have them put to death. All people will hate you because you follow me, but those people who keep their faith until the end will be saved. When you are treated badly in one city, run to another city. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through all the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

“A student is not better than his teacher, and a servant is not better than his master. A student should be satisfied to become like his teacher; a servant should be satisfied to become like his master. If the head of the family is called Beelzebul, then the other members of the family will be called worse names!

Fear God, Not People

“So don’t be afraid of those people, because everything that is hidden will be shown. Everything that is secret will be made known. I tell you these things in the dark, but I want you to tell them in the light. What you hear whispered in your ear you should shout from the housetops. Don’t be afraid of people, who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. The only one you should fear is the one who can destroy the soul and the body in hell. Two sparrows cost only a penny, but not even one of them can die without your Father’s knowing it. God even knows how many hairs are on your head. So don’t be afraid. You are worth much more than many sparrows.

Tell People About Your Faith

“All those who stand before others and say they believe in me, I will say before my Father in heaven that they belong to me. But all who stand before others and say they do not believe in me, I will say before my Father in heaven that they do not belong to me.

“Don’t think that I came to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. I have come so that

‘a son will be against his father,
    a daughter will be against her mother,
a daughter-in-law will be against her mother-in-law.
A person’s enemies will be members of his own family.’

“Those who love their father or mother more than they love me are not worthy to be my followers. Those who love their son or daughter more than they love me are not worthy to be my followers. Whoever is not willing to carry the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who try to hold on to their lives will give up true life. Those who give up their lives for me will hold on to true life. Whoever accepts you also accepts me, and whoever accepts me also accepts the One who sent me. Whoever meets a prophet and accepts him will receive the reward of a prophet. And whoever accepts a good person because that person is good will receive the reward of a good person. Those who give one of these little ones a cup of cold water because they are my followers will truly get their reward.”

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 Simplicity: The Principle of Generosity.

Aware of those around me who suffer lack, I set aside a portion of my income to meet their need. This I do without fanfare, without need for reward and where possible in secret. As a follower of the Way of Simplicity, I also choose to commit myself to the principle of tithing; joyfully offering the first-fruits of my income as my contribution towards the ongoing life and outreach of my church family.

All:
This is The Way of Simplicity: The Principle of Generosity.


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.)

Great God, you are One,
And you bring together what is scattered and mend what is broken.
Unite us with the scattered peoples of earth,
That we may become one family of your children.
Bind up our wounds and heal us in spirit,
That we may be renewed as disciples of Jesus Christ,
Our Savior and Friend. Amen


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

And may the one God, in whom all things find their being,
Keep you in fellowship with Him and in unity with His body,
Until He returns at the end of the age. 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.

Standard
Year V: Week of Prayer for Unity

Monday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: This week is set apart by the church all across the world as a time to search our hearts and set our intentions on fulfilling the great desire of the Lord Jesus, “that they may be one…” (John 17:21). Our Invitatory Psalm for the week is the great ecumenical anthem, Psalm 133 and our intercessions reflect this special season. But don’t just pray – get involved with ecumenical events in your area and meet the parts of our amazing global church family that you would otherwise never meet!


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 133 (Ecce, quam bonum!)

All:

Blessed Unity of the People of God
A Song of Ascents. Of David.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!

It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing –
Life forevermore.

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 25

A psalm of David.

O Lord, I give my life to you.
    I trust in you, my God!
Do not let me be disgraced,
    or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat.
No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced,
    but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.

Show me the right path, O Lord;
    point out the road for me to follow.
Lead me by your truth and teach me,
    for you are the God who saves me.
    All day long I put my hope in you.
Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love,
    which you have shown from long ages past.
Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth.
    Remember me in the light of your unfailing love,
    for you are merciful, O Lord.

The Lord is good and does what is right;
    he shows the proper path to those who go astray.
He leads the humble in doing right,
    teaching them his way.
The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness
    all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.

For the honor of your name, O Lord,
    forgive my many, many sins.
Who are those who fear the Lord?
    He will show them the path they should choose.
They will live in prosperity,
    and their children will inherit the land.
The Lord is a friend to those who fear him.
    He teaches them his covenant.
My eyes are always on the Lord,
    for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies.

Turn to me and have mercy,
    for I am alone and in deep distress.
My problems go from bad to worse.
    Oh, save me from them all!
Feel my pain and see my trouble.
    Forgive all my sins.
See how many enemies I have
    and how viciously they hate me!
Protect me! Rescue my life from them!
    Do not let me be disgraced, for in you I take refuge.
May integrity and honesty protect me,
    for I put my hope in you.

O God, ransom Israel
    from all its troubles.

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, renew our minds this morning to see your presence in those we meet. May our hearts be big enough to embrace all people and our lives expansive enough that none may be excluded.
    Father, make us one…
  • Give us courage to share our time and resources with those around us. Make us the answer to the prayers of others and suppliers to their need.
    Father, make us one…
  • Give us patience with those with whom we differ and understanding that we may continue to offer love where none is returned.
    Father, make us one…

Family & Friends

  • Merciful Lord, your Spirit hovered over the waters and made diversity sprout and flourish. We confess our difficulty in living with difference. Forgive us those attitudes of mind, words and actions that do violence to unity or devalue diversity.
    Father, make us one…
  • Almighty God, breathe into us the tolerance that welcomes and makes us true community.
    Father, make us one…
  • Almighty God, breathe into us the wind of unity that celebrates difference and transforms our fear.
    Father, make us one…

The Church

  • God our Father, as we walk with the wounded body of Christ, hasten the day when we can realise the fullness of fellowship at his table and inflame in our hearts the desire to overcome all that divides us.
    Father, make us one…
  • As we walk towards freedom, raise the unity of the Churches to be a sign of hope in situations of discrimination and injustice.
    Father, make us one…
  • As we walk as friends of Jesus, enlarge and deepen our fellowship and friendship with each other and with those who are marginalised.
    Father, make us one…
  • As we walk beyond barriers, grant us courage to overcome cultural prejudices that hinder us from recognising the presence of God in each other.
    Father, make us one…

The World

  • Lord Jesus, come and inspire your people to take your gospel once again to the nations. May we be known by our message of hope and our works of love. Bring Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox to the unity of the faith and the full measure of Christ.
    Father, make us one…
  • Grant us peace; teach us and guide us to be builders of a tolerant and non-violent world.
    Father, make us one…
  • May your people once again lead the nations to your House, and may the hope of the world be found in the unity of your Church.
    Father, make us one…

 

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 10:1-15

Jesus Sends Out His Apostles

Jesus called his twelve followers together and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: Simon (also called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew, the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who turned against Jesus.

Jesus sent out these twelve men with the following order: “Don’t go to the non-Jewish people or to any town where the Samaritans live. But go to the people of Israel, who are like lost sheep. When you go, preach this: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead to life again, heal those who have skin diseases, and force demons out of people. I give you these powers freely, so help other people freely. Don’t carry any money with you—gold or silver or copper. Don’t carry a bag or extra clothes or sandals or a walking stick. Workers should be given what they need.

“When you enter a city or town, find some worthy person there and stay in that home until you leave. When you enter that home, say, ‘Peace be with you.’ If the people there welcome you, let your peace stay there. But if they don’t welcome you, take back the peace you wished for them. And if a home or town refuses to welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake its dust off your feet. I tell you the truth, on the Judgment Day it will be better for the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah than for the people of that town.

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 Simplicity: The Principle of Simple Living.

Mindful of the deeply damaging nature of modern materialistic culture, I choose to live a simple life that reflects the teachings of Jesus. As a follower of the Way of Simplicity, I shall live within my means, shun any sort of debt and free myself from the compulsion to posses what I cannot afford or do not need.

All:
This is The Way of Simplicity: The Principle of Simple Living.


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.)

Great God, you are One,
And you bring together what is scattered and mend what is broken.
Unite us with the scattered peoples of earth,
That we may become one family of your children.
Bind up our wounds and heal us in spirit,
That we may be renewed as disciples of Jesus Christ,
Our Savior and Friend. Amen


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

And may the one God, in whom all things find their being,
Keep you in fellowship with Him and in unity with His body,
Until He returns at the end of the age. 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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Year V: Week of Prayer for Unity

Sunday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: This week is set apart by the church all across the world as a time to search our hearts and set our intentions on fulfilling the great desire of the Lord Jesus, “that they may be one…” (John 17:21). Our Invitatory Psalm for the week is the great ecumenical anthem, Psalm 133 and our intercessions reflect this special season. But don’t just pray – get involved with ecumenical events in your area and meet the parts of our amazing global church family that you would otherwise never meet!


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 133 (Ecce, quam bonum!)

All:

Blessed Unity of the People of God
A Song of Ascents. Of David.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!

It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing –
Life forevermore.

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 24

A psalm of David.

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.
    The world and all its people belong to him.
For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas
    and built it on the ocean depths.

Who may climb the mountain of the Lord?
    Who may stand in his holy place?
Only those whose hands and hearts are pure,
    who do not worship idols
    and never tell lies.
They will receive the Lord’s blessing
    and have a right relationship with God their savior.
Such people may seek you
    and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob. Interlude

Open up, ancient gates!
    Open up, ancient doors,
    and let the King of glory enter.
Who is the King of glory?
    The Lord, strong and mighty;
    the Lord, invincible in battle.
Open up, ancient gates!
    Open up, ancient doors,
    and let the King of glory enter.
Who is the King of glory?
    The Lord of Heaven’s Armies—
    he is the King of glory. Interlude

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, open our hearts this morning to your Spirit, by whose power we are led into ever increasing union with yourself and your Son Jesus Christ. Teach us to be single in purpose and wholehearted in our devotion.
    Father, make us one…
  • Teach us the ways of your Spirit and open our hearts to your people wherever they are found. May your deepest longing be fulfilled in us.
    Father, make us one…
  • Close our ears to words that bring division, our minds to thoughts that bring discord and our hearts to fears that bring disagreement.
    Father, make us one…

Family & Friends

  • Father of all, we pray for those we know who have become disillusioned, and in seeing our failure have misunderstood your love. Help them, heal them and hold them; and in your perfect time, restore them to community again. Lead them into forgiveness, relationship, and the joy of belonging.
    Father, make us one…
  • Hold close today the hearts of all who feel isolated within our community by the turned backs, absent conversations or well-meant busyness of service.
    Father, make us one…
  • Pursue today the hearts of all who have rejected you because of a failed witness, through division, insularity, or lack of love poured out for others.
    Father, make us one…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, increase the unity of your church. Break dividing walls, and empower us all to be a people who take the first step towards each other. For the sake of your Son and for the sake a world that does not know you.
    Father, make us one…
  • We thank you for every place where church leaders meet to pray and Christians unite to demonstrate your love in their communities, and on their streets.
    Father, make us one…
  • We thank you for the unity we already see in your church. For Churches Together, a hope that unites and joint action that reaches out to those in need.
    Father, make us one…

The World

  • Lord Jesus Christ, forgive your church for the times she has tarnished your image, confused your message, and distracted from your love through her disunity. May we speak with one voice and deliver one message to our broken world.
    Father, make us one…
  • Lord Jesus Christ restore your church; for we would be known again by the way we love each other and the way we love you, rather than perceived as a house divided against itself.
    Father, make us one…
  • Lord Jesus Christ break our hearts for the mission of your church, for we would build your house again here in our land.
    Father, make us one…
  • As we come in repentance before you and submit to you, humble us to serve each other so that your name may again be raised high in our nation.
    Father, make us one…

 

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

John 7:1-26

Jesus Prays for His Followers

After Jesus said these things, he looked toward heaven and prayed, “Father, the time has come. Give glory to your Son so that the Son can give glory to you. You gave the Son power over all people so that the Son could give eternal life to all those you gave him. And this is eternal life: that people know you, the only true God, and that they know Jesus Christ, the One you sent. Having finished the work you gave me to do, I brought you glory on earth. And now, Father, give me glory with you; give me the glory I had with you before the world was made.

“I showed what you are like to those you gave me from the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have obeyed your teaching. Now they know that everything you gave me comes from you. I gave them the teachings you gave me, and they accepted them. They knew that I truly came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for people in the world but for those you gave me, because they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And my glory is shown through them. I am coming to you; I will not stay in the world any longer. But they are still in the world. Holy Father, keep them safe by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they will be one, just as you and I are one. While I was with them, I kept them safe by the power of your name, the name you gave me. I protected them, and only one of them, the one worthy of destruction, was lost so that the Scripture would come true.

“I am coming to you now. But I pray these things while I am still in the world so that these followers can have all of my joy in them. I have given them your teaching. And the world has hated them, because they don’t belong to the world, just as I don’t belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world but to keep them safe from the Evil One. They don’t belong to the world, just as I don’t belong to the world. Make them ready for your service through your truth; your teaching is truth. I have sent them into the world, just as you sent me into the world. For their sake, I am making myself ready to serve so that they can be ready for their service of the truth.

“I pray for these followers, but I am also praying for all those who will believe in me because of their teaching. Father, I pray that they can be one. As you are in me and I am in you, I pray that they can also be one in us. Then the world will believe that you sent me. I have given these people the glory that you gave me so that they can be one, just as you and I are one. I will be in them and you will be in me so that they will be completely one. Then the world will know that you sent me and that you loved them just as much as you loved me.

“Father, I want these people that you gave me to be with me where I am. I want them to see my glory, which you gave me because you loved me before the world was made. Father, you are the One who is good. The world does not know you, but I know you, and these people know you sent me. I showed them what you are like, and I will show them again. Then they will have the same love that you have for me, and I will live in them.”

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 Humility: The Principle of Loving Speech.

Conscious that an unguarded tongue may set a whole forest on fire, I determine to avoid boastful language and idle gossip, remaining silent unless by speaking I may increase the wellbeing and happiness of others. As a follower of the Way of Humility, I will seek to discipline my mouth so that only that which is kind, true and necessary will proceed from it.

All:
This is The Way of Humility: The Principle of Loving Speech.


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.)

Great God, you are One,
And you bring together what is scattered and mend what is broken.
Unite us with the scattered peoples of earth,
That we may become one family of your children.
Bind up our wounds and heal us in spirit,
That we may be renewed as disciples of Jesus Christ,
Our Savior and Friend. Amen


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

And may the one God, in whom all things find their being,
Keep you in fellowship with Him and in unity with His body,
Until He returns at the end of the age. 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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