Mid-week Vespers Prayer Service

This is a resource for you to use for prayer this week. It has been updated from last week but remains based on a typical Vespers service on Wednesdays. Of course, this has been 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.

For the season of Lent, our devotionals were to consider prayer and ways of praying. We will continue this week with a lectio divina practice related to the scriptures for the week. Lection divina is simply, 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 the Philippians passage.

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

Chris Aho

 

Gathering Prayer

Merciful God,
your strength and courage pour forth
to sustain the witness of your faithful people.
Awaken in us the humility to serve
wherever creation is broken and in need,
that we may follow in the way of our brother, Jesus,
die as he did to all that separates us from you,
and with him be raised to new life. Amen.

Hymn – O God, Our Help in Ages Past
(Sing alone, together, or pray the lyrics if you do not wish to sing)

 1 O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home.

 2 Under the shadow of thy throne thy saints have dwelt secure; sufficient is your arm alone, and our defense is sure.

3 Before the hills in order stood or earth received her frame, from everlasting you are God, to endless years the same.

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

Caught between joy and despair,
we yearn for the fulfillment of God’s desire
beyond the brokenness and neediness of this life.
We offer thanksgiving for God’s presence with us
and petitions for the transformation
of the church and the world.

(offer prayers for your family, friends, community, and world during a time of silence)

Prayers of the People, concluding with:

Life-giver, Pain-bearer, Love-maker,
day by day you sustain the weary with your word
and gently encourage us to place our trust in you.
Awaken us to the suffering of those around us;
save us from hiding in denials or taunts that deepen the hurt;
give us grace to share one another’s burdens in humble service. Amen.

 

Today’s Prayer Practice
Lectio Divina, Philippians 2.5-11[2]

 This exercise should take no less than 10 minutes. Feel free to allow it to take longer.

 If you are practicing 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 Philippians 2.5-11 several times. Each time we read, we will read slowly and intentionally.

Philippians 2.5-11
5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
7 but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
8   he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.

9 Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

 

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 passage. Maybe write down your thoughts.

Third ReadingReading again, consider how God might be asking you to respond because of this passage. Is there some way you need to act, work, or feel differently because of this 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 – O God, Our Help in Ages Past

4 A thousand ages in your sight are like an evening gone,
short as the watch that ends the night before the rising sun.

 5 O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,
be now our guide while life shall last, and our eternal home.

Sending Off[3]

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. Amen

 

 

[1] https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu//prayers.php?id=29

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

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

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