Year V: Week 2 of Epiphany

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

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


AFTERNOON PSALM

Psalm 26

A psalm of David.

Declare me innocent, O Lord,
    for I have acted with integrity;
    I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me.
    Test my motives and my heart.
For I am always aware of your unfailing love,
    and I have lived according to your truth.
I do not spend time with liars
    or go along with hypocrites.
I hate the gatherings of those who do evil,
    and I refuse to join in with the wicked.
I wash my hands to declare my innocence.
    I come to your altar, O Lord,
singing a song of thanksgiving
    and telling of all your wonders.
I love your sanctuary, Lord,
    the place where your glorious presence dwells.

Don’t let me suffer the fate of sinners.
    Don’t condemn me along with murderers.
Their hands are dirty with evil schemes,
    and they constantly take bribes.
But I am not like that; I live with integrity.
    So redeem me and show me mercy.
Now I stand on solid ground,
    and I will publicly praise 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
(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

Genesis 22:1-24

God Tests Abraham

After these things God tested Abraham’s faith. God said to him, “Abraham!”

And he answered, “Here I am.”

Then God said, “Take your only son, Isaac, the son you love, and go to the land of Moriah. Kill him there and offer him as a whole burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”

Abraham got up early in the morning and saddled his donkey. He took Isaac and two servants with him. After he cut the wood for the sacrifice, they went to the place God had told them to go. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey. My son and I will go over there and worship, and then we will come back to you.”

Abraham took the wood for the sacrifice and gave it to his son to carry, but he himself took the knife and the fire. So he and his son went on together.

Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!”

Abraham answered, “Yes, my son.”

Isaac said, “We have the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb we will burn as a sacrifice?”

Abraham answered, “God will give us the lamb for the sacrifice, my son.”

So Abraham and his son went on together and came to the place God had told him about. Abraham built an altar there. He laid the wood on it and then tied up his son Isaac and laid him on the wood on the altar. Then Abraham took his knife and was about to kill his son.

But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham! Abraham!”

Abraham answered, “Yes.”

The angel said, “Don’t kill your son or hurt him in any way. Now I can see that you trust God and that you have not kept your son, your only son, from me.”

Then Abraham looked up and saw a male sheep caught in a bush by its horns. So Abraham went and took the sheep and killed it. He offered it as a whole burnt offering to God, and his son was saved. So Abraham named that place The Lord Provides. Even today people say, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “The Lord says, ‘Because you did not keep back your son, your only son, from me, I make you this promise by my own name: I will surely bless you and give you many descendants. They will be as many as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, and they will capture the cities of their enemies. Through your descendants all the nations on the earth will be blessed, because you obeyed me.’”

Then Abraham returned to his servants. They all traveled back to Beersheba, and Abraham stayed there.

After these things happened, someone told Abraham: “Your brother Nahor and his wife Milcah have children now. The first son is Uz, and the second is Buz. The third son is Kemuel (the father of Aram). Then there are Kesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.” Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. Milcah was the mother of these eight sons, and Nahor, Abraham’s brother, was the father. Also Nahor had four other sons by his slave woman Reumah. Their names were Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.

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 the work of the morning,
For the challenges faced and the obstacles overcome.
Grant that the rest of this day be used for your glory,
As we offer ourselves afresh to you. Amen

 

GRACE (Optional)

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.

Standard
Year V: Week of Prayer for Unity

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

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


AFTERNOON PSALM

Psalm 22:22-31

I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters.
    I will praise you among your assembled people.
Praise the Lord, all you who fear him!
    Honor him, all you descendants of Jacob!
    Show him reverence, all you descendants of Israel!
For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy.
    He has not turned his back on them,
    but has listened to their cries for help.

I will praise you in the great assembly.
    I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you.
The poor will eat and be satisfied.
    All who seek the Lord will praise him.
    Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy.
The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him.
    All the families of the nations will bow down before him.
For royal power belongs to the Lord.
    He rules all the nations.

Let the rich of the earth feast and worship.
    Bow before him, all who are mortal,
    all whose lives will end as dust.
Our children will also serve him.
    Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord.
His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born.
    They will hear about everything he has done.

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

Genesis 21:22-34

Abraham’s Bargain with Abimelech

Then Abimelech came with Phicol, the commander of his army, and said to Abraham, “God is with you in everything you do. So make a promise to me here before God that you will be fair with me and my children and my descendants. Be kind to me and to this land where you have lived as a stranger—as kind as I have been to you.”

And Abraham said, “I promise.” Then Abraham complained to Abimelech about Abimelech’s servants who had seized a well of water.

But Abimelech said, “I don’t know who did this. You never told me about this before today.”

Then Abraham gave Abimelech some sheep and cattle, and they made an agreement. Abraham also put seven female lambs in front of Abimelech.

Abimelech asked Abraham, “Why did you put these seven female lambs by themselves?”

Abraham answered, “Accept these lambs from me to prove that you believe I dug this well.”

So that place was called Beersheba because they made a promise to each other there.

After Abraham and Abimelech made the agreement at Beersheba, Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, went back to the land of the Philistines.

Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba and prayed to the Lord, the God who lives forever. And Abraham lived as a stranger in the land of the Philistines for a long time.

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)

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.

Standard
Year V: Week of Prayer for Unity

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

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


AFTERNOON PSALM

Psalm 18:31-50

For who is God except the Lord?
    Who but our God is a solid rock?
God arms me with strength,
    and he makes my way perfect.
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
    enabling me to stand on mountain heights.
He trains my hands for battle;
    he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.
You have given me your shield of victory.
    Your right hand supports me;
    your help has made me great.
You have made a wide path for my feet
    to keep them from slipping.

I chased my enemies and caught them;
    I did not stop until they were conquered.
I struck them down so they could not get up;
    they fell beneath my feet.
You have armed me with strength for the battle;
    you have subdued my enemies under my feet.
You placed my foot on their necks.
    I have destroyed all who hated me.
They called for help, but no one came to their rescue.
    They even cried to the Lord, but he refused to answer.
I ground them as fine as dust in the wind.
    I swept them into the gutter like dirt.
You gave me victory over my accusers.
    You appointed me ruler over nations;
    people I don’t even know now serve me.
As soon as they hear of me, they submit;
    foreign nations cringe before me.
They all lose their courage
    and come trembling from their strongholds.

The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock!
    May the God of my salvation be exalted!
He is the God who pays back those who harm me;
    he subdues the nations under me
    and rescues me from my enemies.
You hold me safe beyond the reach of my enemies;
    you save me from violent opponents.
For this, O Lord, I will praise you among the nations;
    I will sing praises to your name.
You give great victories to your king;
    you show unfailing love to your anointed,
    to David and all his descendants 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
(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

Genesis 21:1-21

A Baby for Sarah

The Lord cared for Sarah as he had said and did for her what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. Everything happened at the time God had said it would. Abraham named his son Isaac, the son Sarah gave birth to. He circumcised Isaac when he was eight days old as God had commanded.

Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born. And Sarah said, “God has made me laugh. Everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. No one thought that I would be able to have Abraham’s child, but even though Abraham is old I have given him a son.”

Hagar and Ishmael Leave

Isaac grew, and when he became old enough to eat food, Abraham gave a great feast. But Sarah saw Ishmael making fun of Isaac. (Ishmael was the son of Abraham by Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian slave.) So Sarah said to Abraham, “Throw out this slave woman and her son. Her son should not inherit anything; my son Isaac should receive it all.”

This troubled Abraham very much because Ishmael was also his son. But God said to Abraham, “Don’t be troubled about the boy and the slave woman. Do whatever Sarah tells you. The descendants I promised you will be from Isaac. I will also make the descendants of Ishmael into a great nation because he is your son, too.”

Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a leather bag full of water. He gave them to Hagar and sent her away. Carrying these things and her son, Hagar went and wandered in the desert of Beersheba.

Later, when all the water was gone from the bag, Hagar put her son under a bush. Then she went away a short distance and sat down. She thought, “My son will die, and I cannot watch this happen.” She sat there and began to cry.

God heard the boy crying, and God’s angel called to Hagar from heaven. He said, “What is wrong, Hagar? Don’t be afraid! God has heard the boy crying there. Help him up and take him by the hand. I will make his descendants into a great nation.”

Then God showed Hagar a well of water. So she went to the well and filled her bag with water and gave the boy a drink.

God was with the boy as he grew up. Ishmael lived in the desert and became an archer. He lived in the Desert of Paran, and his mother found a wife for him in Egypt.

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 the many blessings of this day,
Give us eyes to see the path ahead,
And faith to reach towards the prize. Amen

 

GRACE (Optional)

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.

Standard
Year V: Week of Prayer for Unity

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

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


AFTERNOON PSALM

Psalm 17

A prayer of David.

O Lord, hear my plea for justice.
    Listen to my cry for help.
Pay attention to my prayer,
    for it comes from honest lips.
Declare me innocent,
    for you see those who do right.

You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night.
    You have scrutinized me and found nothing wrong.
    I am determined not to sin in what I say.
I have followed your commands,
    which keep me from following cruel and evil people.
My steps have stayed on your path;
    I have not wavered from following you.

I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God.
    Bend down and listen as I pray.
Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways.
    By your mighty power you rescue
    those who seek refuge from their enemies.
Guard me as you would guard your own eyes.
    Hide me in the shadow of your wings.
Protect me from wicked people who attack me,
    from murderous enemies who surround me.
They are without pity.
    Listen to their boasting!
They track me down and surround me,
    watching for the chance to throw me to the ground.
They are like hungry lions, eager to tear me apart—
    like young lions hiding in ambush.

Arise, O Lord!
    Stand against them, and bring them to their knees!
    Rescue me from the wicked with your sword!
By the power of your hand, O Lord,
    destroy those who look to this world for their reward.
But satisfy the hunger of your treasured ones.
    May their children have plenty,
    leaving an inheritance for their descendants.
Because I am righteous, I will see you.
    When I awake, I will see you face to face and be satisfied.

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

Genesis 20:1-18

Abraham Tricks Abimelech

Abraham left Hebron and traveled to southern Canaan where he stayed awhile between Kadesh and Shur. When he moved to Gerar, he told people that his wife Sarah was his sister. Abimelech king of Gerar heard this, so he sent some servants to take her. But one night God spoke to Abimelech in a dream and said, “You will die. The woman you took is married.”

But Abimelech had not gone near Sarah, so he said, “Lord, would you destroy an innocent nation? Abraham himself told me, ‘This woman is my sister,’ and she also said, ‘He is my brother.’ I am innocent. I did not know I was doing anything wrong.”

Then God said to Abimelech in the dream, “Yes, I know you did not realize what you were doing. So I did not allow you to sin against me and touch her. Give Abraham his wife back. He is a prophet. He will pray for you, and you will not die. But if you do not give Sarah back, you and all your family will surely die.”

So early the next morning, Abimelech called all his officers and told them everything that had happened in the dream. They were very afraid. Then Abimelech called Abraham to him and said, “What have you done to us? What wrong did I do against you? Why did you bring this trouble to my kingdom? You should not have done these things to me. What were you thinking that caused you to do this?”

Then Abraham answered, “I thought no one in this place respected God and that someone would kill me to get Sarah. And it is true that she is my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but she is not the daughter of my mother. When God told me to leave my father’s house and wander in many different places, I told Sarah, ‘You must do a special favor for me. Everywhere we go tell people I am your brother.’”

Then Abimelech gave Abraham some sheep, cattle, and male and female slaves. He also gave Sarah, Abraham’s wife, back to him and said, “Look around you at my land. You may live anywhere you want.”

Abimelech said to Sarah, “I gave your brother Abraham twenty-five pounds of silver to make up for any wrong that people may think about you. I want everyone to know that you are innocent.”

Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his servant girls so they could have children. The Lord had kept all the women in Abimelech’s house from having children as a punishment on Abimelech for taking Abraham’s wife Sarah.

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:

Mighty God, as we come to the end of our week,
Grant your blessings over all we love and your increase upon all we do,
We ask this in Jesus name. Amen

 

GRACE (Optional)

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.

Standard
Year V: Week of Prayer for Unity

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

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


AFTERNOON PSALM

Psalm 16

A psalm of David.

Keep me safe, O God,
    for I have come to you for refuge.

I said to the Lord, “You are my Master!
    Every good thing I have comes from you.”
The godly people in the land
    are my true heroes!
    I take pleasure in them!
Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods.
    I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood
    or even speak the names of their gods.

Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.
    You guard all that is mine.
The land you have given me is a pleasant land.
    What a wonderful inheritance!

I will bless the Lord who guides me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I know the Lord is always with me.
    I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.

No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.
    My body rests in safety.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead
    or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.
You will show me the way of life,
    granting me the joy of your presence
    and the pleasures of living with you 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
(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

Genesis 21:1-21

Lot Leaves Sodom

The two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting near the city gate. When he saw them, he got up and went to them and bowed facedown on the ground. Lot said, “Sirs, please come to my house and spend the night. There you can wash your feet, and then tomorrow you may continue your journey.”

The angels answered, “No, we will spend the night in the city’s public square.”

But Lot begged them to come, so they agreed and went to his house. Then Lot prepared a meal for them. He baked bread without yeast, and they ate it.

Before bedtime, men both young and old and from every part of Sodom surrounded Lot’s house. They called to Lot, “Where are the two men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so we can have sexual relations with them.”

Lot went outside to them, closing the door behind him. He said, “No, my brothers! Do not do this evil thing. Look! I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. I will give them to you, and you may do anything you want with them. But please don’t do anything to these men. They have come to my house, and I must protect them.”

The men around the house answered, “Move out of the way!” Then they said to each other, “This man Lot came to our city as a stranger, and now he wants to tell us what to do!” They said to Lot, “We will do worse things to you than to them.” They started pushing him back and were ready to break down the door.

But the two men staying with Lot opened the door, pulled him back inside the house, and then closed the door. They struck those outside the door with blindness, so the men, both young and old, could not find the door.

The two men said to Lot, “Do you have any other relatives in this city? Do you have any sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or any other relatives? If you do, tell them to leave now, because we are about to destroy this city. The Lord has heard of all the evil that is here, so he has sent us to destroy it.”

So Lot went out and said to his future sons-in-law who were pledged to marry his daughters, “Hurry and leave this city! The Lord is about to destroy it!” But they thought Lot was joking.

At dawn the next morning, the angels begged Lot to hurry. They said, “Go! Take your wife and your two daughters with you so you will not be destroyed when the city is punished.”

But Lot delayed. So the two men took the hands of Lot, his wife, and his two daughters and led them safely out of the city. So the Lord was merciful to Lot and his family. After they brought them out of the city, one of the men said, “Run for your lives! Don’t look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Run to the mountains, or you will be destroyed.”

But Lot said to one of them, “Sir, please don’t force me to go so far! You have been merciful and kind to me and have saved my life. But I can’t run to the mountains. The disaster will catch me, and I will die. Look, that little town over there is not too far away. Let me run there. It’s really just a little town, and I’ll be safe there.”

The angel said to Lot, “Very well, I will allow you to do this also. I will not destroy that town. But run there fast, because I cannot destroy Sodom until you are safely in that town.” (That town is named Zoar, because it is little.)

Sodom and Gomorrah Are Destroyed

The sun had already come up when Lot entered Zoar. The Lord sent a rain of burning sulfur down from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah and destroyed those cities. He also destroyed the whole Jordan Valley, everyone living in the cities, and even all the plants.

At that point Lot’s wife looked back. When she did, she became a pillar of salt.

Early the next morning, Abraham got up and went to the place where he had stood before the Lord. He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and all the Jordan Valley and saw smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.

God destroyed the cities in the valley, but he remembered what Abraham had asked. So God saved Lot’s life, but he destroyed the city where Lot had lived.

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


Pause for Reflection……


PRAYER

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

Reader:

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

 

GRACE (Optional)

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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Year V: Week of Prayer for Unity

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

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


AFTERNOON PSALM

Psalm 14

For the choir director: A psalm of David.

Only fools say in their hearts,
    “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their actions are evil;
    not one of them does good!

The Lord looks down from heaven
    on the entire human race;
he looks to see if anyone is truly wise,
    if anyone seeks God.
But no, all have turned away;
    all have become corrupt.
No one does good,
    not a single one!

Will those who do evil never learn?
    They eat up my people like bread
    and wouldn’t think of praying to the Lord.
Terror will grip them,
    for God is with those who obey him.
The wicked frustrate the plans of the oppressed,
    but the Lord will protect his people.

Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel?
    When the Lord restores his people,
    Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice.

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

Genesis 18:1-33

The Three Visitors

Later, the Lord again appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre. Abraham was sitting at the entrance of his tent during the hottest part of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When Abraham saw them, he ran from his tent to meet them. He bowed facedown on the ground before them and said, “Sir, if you think well of me, please stay awhile with me, your servant. I will bring some water so all of you can wash your feet. You may rest under the tree, and I will get some bread for you so you can regain your strength. Then you may continue your journey.”

The three men said, “That is fine. Do as you said.”

Abraham hurried to the tent where Sarah was and said to her, “Hurry, prepare twenty quarts of fine flour, and make it into loaves of bread.” Then Abraham ran to his herd and took one of his best calves. He gave it to a servant, who hurried to kill it and to prepare it for food. Abraham gave the three men the calf that had been cooked and milk curds and milk. While they ate, he stood under the tree near them.

The men asked Abraham, “Where is your wife Sarah?”

“There, in the tent,” said Abraham.

Then the Lord said, “I will certainly return to you about this time a year from now. At that time your wife Sarah will have a son.”

Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were very old. Since Sarah was past the age when women normally have children, she laughed to herself, “My husband and I are too old to have a baby.”

Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘I am too old to have a baby’? Is anything too hard for the Lord? No! I will return to you at the right time a year from now, and Sarah will have a son.”

Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I didn’t laugh.”

But the Lord said, “No. You did laugh.”

Then the men got up to leave and started out toward Sodom. Abraham walked along with them a short time to send them on their way.

Abraham’s Bargain with God

The Lord said, “Should I tell Abraham what I am going to do now? Abraham’s children will certainly become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. I have chosen him so he would command his children and his descendants to live the way the Lord wants them to, to live right and be fair. Then I, the Lord, will give Abraham what I promised him.”

Then the Lord said, “I have heard many complaints against the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. They are very evil. I will go down and see if they are as bad as I have heard. If not, I will know.”

So the men turned and went toward Sodom, but Abraham stood there before the Lord. Then Abraham approached him and asked, “Do you plan to destroy the good people along with the evil ones? What if there are fifty good people in that city? Will you still destroy it? Surely you will save the city for the fifty good people living there. Surely you will not destroy the good people along with the evil ones; then they would be treated the same. You are the judge of all the earth. Won’t you do what is right?”

The Lord said, “If I find fifty good people in the city of Sodom, I will save the whole city because of them.”

Then Abraham said, “Though I am only dust and ashes, I have been brave to speak to the Lord. What if there are only forty-five good people in the city? Will you destroy the whole city for the lack of five good people?”

The Lord said, “If I find forty-five there, I will not destroy the city.”

Again Abraham said to him, “If you find only forty good people there, will you destroy the city?”

The Lord said, “If I find forty, I will not destroy it.”

Then Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me, but let me ask you this. If you find only thirty good people in the city, will you destroy it?”

He said, “If I find thirty good people there, I will not destroy the city.”

Then Abraham said, “I have been brave to speak to the Lord. But what if there are twenty good people in the city?”

He answered, “If I find twenty there, I will not destroy the city.”

Then Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me, but let me bother you this one last time. What if you find ten there?”

He said, “If I find ten there, I will not destroy it.”

When the Lord finished speaking to Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

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


Pause for Reflection……


PRAYER

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

Reader:

Holy Spirit, guide us through the rest of our day.
May we know your wisdom in our hearts,
Your strength in our bodies,
And your peace in our lives. Amen

 

GRACE (Optional)

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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Year V: Week of Prayer for Unity

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

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


AFTERNOON PSALM

Psalm 13

For the choir director: A psalm of David.

O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?
    How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
    with sorrow in my heart every day?
    How long will my enemy have the upper hand?

Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
    Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.
Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!”
    Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.

But I trust in your unfailing love.
    I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the Lord
    because he is good to me.

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

Genesis 17:1-27

Proof of the Agreement

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty. Obey me and do what is right. I will make an agreement between us, and I will make you the ancestor of many people.”

Then Abram bowed facedown on the ground. God said to him, “I am making my agreement with you: I will make you the father of many nations. I am changing your name from Abram to Abraham because I am making you a father of many nations. I will give you many descendants. New nations will be born from you, and kings will come from you. And I will make an agreement between me and you and all your descendants from now on: I will be your God and the God of all your descendants. You live in the land of Canaan now as a stranger, but I will give you and your descendants all this land forever. And I will be the God of your descendants.”

Then God said to Abraham, “You and your descendants must keep this agreement from now on. This is my agreement with you and all your descendants, which you must obey: Every male among you must be circumcised. Cut away your foreskin to show that you are prepared to follow the agreement between me and you. From now on when a baby boy is eight days old, you will circumcise him. This includes any boy born among your people or any who is your slave, who is not one of your descendants. Circumcise every baby boy whether he is born in your family or bought as a slave. Your bodies will be marked to show that you are part of my agreement that lasts forever. Any male who is not circumcised will be cut off from his people, because he has broken my agreement.”

Isaac—the Promised Son

God said to Abraham, “I will change the name of Sarai, your wife, to Sarah. I will bless her and give her a son, and you will be the father. She will be the mother of many nations. Kings of nations will come from her.”

Abraham bowed facedown on the ground and laughed. He said to himself, “Can a man have a child when he is a hundred years old? Can Sarah give birth to a child when she is ninety?” Then Abraham said to God, “Please let Ishmael be the son you promised.”

God said, “No, Sarah your wife will have a son, and you will name him Isaac. I will make my agreement with him to be an agreement that continues forever with all his descendants.

“As for Ishmael, I have heard you. I will bless him and give him many descendants. And I will cause their numbers to grow greatly. He will be the father of twelve great leaders, and I will make him into a great nation. But I will make my agreement with Isaac, the son whom Sarah will have at this same time next year.” After God finished talking with Abraham, God rose and left him.

Then Abraham gathered Ishmael, all the males born in his camp, and the slaves he had bought. So that day Abraham circumcised every man and boy in his camp as God had told him to do. Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised. And Ishmael, his son, was thirteen years old when he was circumcised. Abraham and his son were circumcised on the same day. Also on that day all the men in Abraham’s camp were circumcised, including all those born in his camp and all the slaves he had bought from other nations.

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, you worked with your hands as a carpenter.
May we who labour upon the earth never cease to give you praise,
And know your loving presence with us.
We ask this for your glory. Amen

 

GRACE (Optional)

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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