A Mid-Week Vespers Practice

This is a resource for you to use for prayer this week. It is based on what we do in Vespers on Wednesdays and is modified for you to do on your own. I hope that by all of us sharing in the same resources, even though we are apart, we can sense some togetherness.  

If you have never been to vespers, every week we:
Share updates about sick in our church and community so we can pray for them
Share in a liturgy of prayer, song, and scripture reading
And we share a devotional experience

For the season of Lent, our devotionals were to consider prayer and ways of praying. On Wednesday night, March 11th, the topic was daily devotional prayer. This week, we share lectio divina, a way of reading scripture as prayer. The instructions are included in the liturgy and sources are footnoted.

 As you approach this liturgy this week, you can use it alone of with your family.
If you are practicing alone, of course just work your way through the prayers and hymns.
If you are practicing with others, alternate lines or paragraphs as you read and sing aloud.
And if you would like to use it more than just once, substitute a different scripture for Psalm 121.

I hope this resource is helpful to you. Feel free to share it as you are able.
Chris Aho

Gathering Prayer

God of amazing compassion,
lover of our wayward race,
you bring to birth a pilgrim people,
and call us to be a blessing for ourselves and all the world.

We pray for grace to take your generous gift
and step with courage on this holy path,
confident in the radiant life that is your plan for us,
made known and given in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Hymn – Amazing Grace
(Sing alone, together, or pray the lyrics if you do not wish to sing)

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed!

Intercessory Prayer[1]
(This is a time when we pray for the concerns of our friends, family and community)

Faithful God of love,
you blessed us with your servant Son
so that we might know how to serve your people
with justice and with mercy.
We gather the needs of ourselves and others,
and offer them to you in faith and love,
seeking to be strengthened to meet them.

Prayers of the People, concluding with:
(offer prayers for your family, friends, community and world in this time of silence)

Shape us and transform us by your grace,
that we may grow in wisdom and in confidence,
never faltering until we have done all that you desire
to bring your realm of shalom to fulfillment. Amen.

Today’s Prayer Practice Lectio Divina, Psalm 121 [1]

 This exercise should take no less than 10 minutes. Feel free to allow it to take longer.
If you practice with others, you can share your answers after a moment of silence but before the next reading begins.
If you are practicing with children (well done!), reframe the questions for their understanding.
Let’s begin. We will read Psalm 121 several times. Each time we read, we will read slowly and intentionally.

Psalm 121

Assurance of God’s Protection
A Song of Ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the hills—

   from where will my help come?

My help comes from the Lord,

   who made heaven and earth.

 He will not let your foot be moved;

   he who keeps you will not slumber.

He who keeps Israel

   will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;

   the Lord is your shade at your right hand.

The sun shall not strike you by day,

   nor the moon by night.

 The Lord will keep you from all evil;

   he will keep your life.

The Lord will keep

   your going out and your coming in

   from this time on and forevermore.

 

 

First ReadingRead aloud if you can. As you read, consider what words or phrases stick out. When you are finished reading, pause and write them down. This reading cycle should take 2-5 minutes.

Second ReadingRead again slowly. Consider what God is saying to us as we read and pray this Psalm. Maybe write down your thoughts.

Third ReadingReading again, consider how God might be asking you to respond because of this Psalm. Is there some way you need to act, work, or feel differently because of this Psalm reading?

Fourth Reading– Read this passage one last time and rest. Sit with the passage. If you can be silent for 10 minutes, let your thoughts turn to what you have heard from the Spirit of God and allow the practice to settle in. When the time of silence is over, move on to the final hymn and prayer.

 

Hymn – Amazing Grace
(Sing alone, together, or pray the lyrics if you do not wish to sing)

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed!

Sending Off [2]

Now go with the Spirit,
from the comfort of this place,
so we may go to bring hope to the world.
Now carry the Light of Christ with you,
we will go into the shadows with this gift.
Now trust in God who is always with you,
we will follow that life called discipleship.

 

_____________

[1] https://bustedhalo.com/ministry-resources/lectio-divina-beginners-guide

[2] http://lectionaryliturgies.blogspot.com/

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