Morning Prayer, 4th Sunday in Lent
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you
THE CALL TO WORSHIP
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, Jesus said to them,
“If anyone would come after me,
let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)
Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Let us worship God.
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
For his steadfast love endures forever!
Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.
Let me worship your name with an undivided heart.
I will give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever. (Psalm 86:11, 12)
THE GLORIA PATRI
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. AMEN.
THE CALL TO CONFESSION
To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.(Daniel 9:9-10)
THE PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
Let us humbly confess our sins unto Almighty God:
Most holy and merciful Father, we acknowledge and confess before you our sinful nature, which is prone to evil and slothful in good; and all our shortcomings and offenses. You alone know how often we have sinned in wandering from your ways, in wasting your gifts, in forgetting your love. Lord, we beseech you: have mercy upon us, who are ashamed and sorry for all that we have done to displease you. Teach us to hate our errors; cleanse us from our secret faults; and forgive our sins, for the sake of your dear Son, our Lord Jesus. And, most holy and loving Father, help us from now on to live in your light and walk in your ways, according to the commandments of Jesus Christ our Lord…
A time of Silent Confession
Almighty God, you have been the hope and confidence of your people in all ages: mercifully regard, we beseech you, the prayer with which we cry unto you out of the depths, and stretch forth the right hand of your majesty for our salvation and defense. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. AMEN.
THE ASSURANCE OF PARDON
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:8-12)
To all those who truly repent as we have prayed and turn in faith to Jesus Christ for their salvation, I declare the forgiveness of their sins, made in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. So be it; AMEN.
THE MORNING PSALM
A Psalm of David.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
THE PSALM PRAYER
Eternal and everlasting Father, fountain of all goodness and mercy, we give you praise and thanks that you have made known to us our Shepherd and Defender, Jesus Christ, who will deliver us, the children whom you have adopted, from the power of all our enemies. Grant that we, casting away all fear and terror, even of death itself, may embrace and confess your truth, which it has pleased you to reveal to us in your Son, our Lord and Sovereign Master, Jesus Christ. AMEN.
THE OLD TESTAMENT LESSON
A reading from Isaiah, chapter 49:8-13
Thus says the Lord:
“In a time of favor I have answered you;
in a day of salvation I have helped you;
I will keep you and give you
as a covenant to the people,
to establish the land,
to apportion the desolate heritages,
saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’
to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’
They shall feed along the ways;
on all bare heights shall be their pasture;
they shall not hunger or thirst,
neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them,
for he who has pity on them will lead them,
and by springs of water will guide them.
And I will make all my mountains a road,
and my highways shall be raised up.
Behold, these shall come from afar,
and behold, these from the north and from the west,
and these from the land of Syene.”
Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;
break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the Lord has comforted his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted.
HABAKKUK’S SONG OF REJOICING
Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places. (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
THE EPISTLE LESSON
A reading from Ephesians 5:1-17
Be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
THE PRAYER FOR HOLINESS
Father, form the minds of your faithful people according to the mind of Christ our Lord: Make us to love what you command and desire what you promise, so that, amid all the changes of this present evil age, we may be faithful, and our hearts fixed where true joy is found. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.
THE GOSPEL LESSON
A reading from John, chapter 9:1-41
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”
They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.” The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age.He will speak for himself.” (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.
Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.”
THE PRAYER FOR GRACE
Let your Gospel, O Lord, come to us, not in word only, but in power and in much assurance, and in your Holy Spirit, that we may be guided into all truth and strengthened to all obedience and doing of your will with joy. And grant that, abounding in the work of faith, the labor of love, and the patience of hope, we may finally have our inheritance with all the saints in glory. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.
THE MORNING PRAYERS
O Holy Spirit, help us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought. Intercede for us with sighs too deep for words according to the will of God.
Father in heaven, let our prayers be counted as incense before you; hear our poor prayers, not according to our skill or our zeal, but according to your steadfast love, which endures forever.
You are holy, O God of majesty, and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. He took upon himself the weight of our sin and carried the burden of our guilt. He shared our life in every way, and, though he was tempted as we are, he remained was sinless to the end. Baptized as your own, he went willingly to his death and by your power was raised to new life. In his dying and rising, you gave birth to your church, delivered us from slavery to sin and death and made with us a new covenant by water and the Spirit.
For this inestimable gift, Father, we give you thanks and praise.
The Prayers for Grace
O God our King, by the resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ on the first day of the week, you conquered sin, put death to flight, and gave us the hope of everlasting life: Redeem all our days by this victory; forgive our sins, banish our fears, make us bold to praise you and to do your will; and steel us to wait for the consummation of your kingdom on the last great Day, when Jesus shall return on the clouds in power and great glory.
Lord, save us from being self-centered in our prayers; teach us to remember to pray for others. Grant that we may be so bound up in love with those for whom we pray that we may feel their needs as acutely as our own and intercede for them with sensitivity, with understanding, and with imagination. We ask this in Christ’s name.
Increase, O God, the spirit of neighborliness among us, that in peril we may uphold one another, in suffering tend to one another, and in homelessness, loneliness, or exile befriend one another. Grant us brave and enduring hearts that we may strengthen one another, until the disciplines and testing of these days are ended, and you again give peace in our time; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Lord our Lord, whose glory fills all the world: We commend this Nation, to your merciful care, that we may be guided by your providence, and dwell secure in your peace. Grant to the President, the Governor, and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do your will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them continually mindful of their calling to serve this people in reverent obedience to you. Guide and bless the Congress and our state Legislature, that they may enact laws that are according to your truth, pleasing to you, and good for the people. Give our judges at every level a spirit of wisdom and understanding, and grant that they may discern the truth and administer the law without fear or favor.
Father, your truth endures from age to age: Direct in these times, we pray, those who speak where many listen and write what many read; that they may speak your truth to make the heart of this people wise, its mind discerning, and its will righteous; to the honor of Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Lord our heavenly Father, your blessed Son came not to be served, but to serve: We ask you to bless all those who, following in his steps, give themselves to the service of others in all sorts of ways; give them wisdom, patience, and courage, that they may strengthen the weak and raise up those who fall, and, being inspired by your love, may worthily minister to the suffering, the friendless, and the needy; for the sake of him who laid down his life for us, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ.
Almighty God, our Lord Jesus went about continually doing good, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among people: Continue, we pray, this his gracious work among those who suffer illness in every place. Cheer, heal, and sanctify the sick and the wounded; grant to physicians, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, and all the host of dedicated men and women who assist them—grant to them all wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience; and send down your blessing on all who labor to prevent suffering and to forward your purposes of love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Holy and mighty Lord, who turned back the angel of the plague from the dwellings of your people: We beseech you to hear our cry for those who are suffering and dying under the visitation of disease. Mercifully bless the means which are used to stay the spread of sickness, support those who are in pain and distress, speedily restore those who have been brought low, and unto all who are beyond healing, grant your heavenly consolation and your saving grace, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Personal Thanksgivings and Intercessions
Hear us now, Father, as in the name of Christ, we offer our own thanksgivings and intercessions for those in sickness, grief, persecution, bondage, fear, or loneliness…
Feel free to pause the service for your personal prayers and thanksgivings for yourself, the Church, your officers, and others.
Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. And gathering all our prayers in to one, hear us as together in faith we pray as our Savior taught us:
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. AMEN.
THE CONFESSION OF OUR FAITH
I believe in God the Father
Maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost;
Born of the Virgin Mary;
Suffered under Pontius Pilate;
Was crucified, dead, and buried;
He descended into hell;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven;
And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
The holy catholic Church;
The communion of saints;
The forgiveness of sins;
The resurrection of the body;
And the life everlasting.
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
For his steadfast love endures forever!
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. And may the God of hope full you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may about in hope, till the day breaks and all these shadows flee away. AMEN.