Table of Contents

close

The Opening

The Psalms

The Lessons

The Commemoration

The Creed

The Prayers

The Ending

Calendar

Home

Top

close

Thursday
Morning Prayer
The Holy Innocents

The Opening

Opening Sentence

Their sound has gone out into all lands, and their message to the ends of the world. Psalm 19:4

Hymn: The God of Abraham Praise

The God of Abraham praise,
Who reigns enthroned above;
Ancient of Everlasting Days, and God of Love;
Jehovah, great I AM! by earth and heaven confessed;
I bow and bless the sacred Name
forever blessed.
He by Himself hath sworn,
we on His oath depend,
We shall, on eagles' wings upborne, to heaven ascend;
We shall behold His face,
we shall His power adore
And sing the wonders of His grace
forevermore.
There dwells the Lord, our King,
The Lord, our Righteouness,
triumphant o'er the world and sin,
the Prince of Peace;
on Zion's sacred height his kingdom he maintains,
and, glorious with his saints in light,
forever reigns.
The God who reigns on high
the great archangels sing,
and "Holy, holy, holy" cry, "Almighty King!
"Who was, and is, the same, and evermore shall be:
"eternal Father, great I AM, we workship thee."
The whole triumphant host
give thanks to God on high;
"Hail, Father, Son and Holy Ghost" they ever cry;
hail, Abraham's Lord divine!
With heaven our songs we raise;
all might and majesty are thine,
and endless praise. Amen.

Music: Ein feste Burg | Martin Luther (16thC) | Words: Martin Luther (16thC)

Confession

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.

Versicle and Response

Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
Alleluia. The Lord is glorious in his saints::
Come let us adore him. Alleluia.

Invitatory Psalm

Come let us sing to the Lord;*
let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving*
and raise a loud shout to him with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God,*
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the caverns of the earth,*
and the heights of the hills are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,*
and his hands have molded the dry land.
Come, let us bow down, and bend the knee,*
and 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.*
Oh, that today you would hearken to his voice!

Antiphon

Alleluia. The Lord is glorious in his saints::
Come let us adore him. Alleluia.

The Psalms

Psalm 2
or Coverdale

1Why are the nations in an uproar? *
Why do the peoples mutter empty threats?
2Why do the kings of the earth rise up in revolt,
and the princes plot together,*
against the LORD and against his Anointed?
3"Let us break their yoke," they say;*
"let us cast off their bonds from us."
4He whose throne is in heaven is laughing; *
the Lord has them in derision.
5Then he speaks to them in his wrath,*
and his rage fills them with terror.
6"I myself have set my king *
upon my holy hill of Zion."
7Let me announce the decree of the LORD: *
he said to me, "You are my Son;
this day have I begotten you.
8Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance *
and the ends of the earth for your possession.
9You shall crush them with an iron rod *
and shatter them like a piece of pottery."
10And now, you kings, be wise;*
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11Submit to the LORD with fear,*
and with trembling bow before him;
12Lest he be angry and you perish;*
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
13Happy are they all *
who take refuge in him!

Psalm 26
or Coverdale

1Give judgment for me, O LORD,
for I have lived with integrity;*
I have trusted in the Lord and have not faltered.
2Test me, O LORD, and try me;*
examine my heart and my mind.
3For your love is before my eyes;*
I have walked faithfully with you.
4I have not sat with the worthless,*
nor do I consort with the deceitful.
5I have hated the company of evildoers;*
I will not sit down with the wicked.
6I will wash my hands in innocence, O LORD, *
that I may go in procession round your altar,
7Singing aloud a song of thanksgiving *
and recounting all your wonderful deeds.
8LORD, I love the house in which you dwell *
and the place where your glory abides.
9Do not sweep me away with sinners,*
nor my life with those who thirst for blood,
10Whose hands are full of evil plots,*
and their right hand full of bribes.
11As for me, I will live with integrity;*
redeem me, O LORD, and have pity on me.
12My foot stands on level ground;*
in the full assembly I will bless the LORD.

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. Amen.

The Lessons

Old Testament Lesson

Isaiah 49:13-23

13 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 suffering ones. 14But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me." 15Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. 16See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. 17Your builders outdo your destroyers, and those who laid you waste go away from you.

18 Lift up your eyes all around and see; they all gather, they come to you. As I live, says the LORD, you shall put all of them on like an ornament, and like a bride you shall bind them on. 19Surely your waste and your desolate places and your devastated land- surely now you will be too crowded for your inhabitants, and those who swallowed you up will be far away. 20The children born in the time of your bereavement will yet say in your hearing: "The place is too crowded for me; make room for me to settle." 21Then you will say in your heart, "Who has borne me these? I was bereaved and barren, exiled and put away- so who has reared these? I was left all alone- where then have these come from?" 22Thus says the Lord GOD: I will soon lift up my hand to the nations, and raise my signal to the peoples; and they shall bring your sons in their bosom, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders. 23Kings shall be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you, and lick the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Canticle 8 The Song of Moses Exodus 15:1-6, 11-13, 17-18
Cantemus Domino

I will sing to the Lord, for he is lofty and uplifted;*
the horse and its rider has he hurled into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my refuge;*
the Lord has become my Savior.
This is my God and I will praise him,*
the God of my people and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a mighty warrior;*
Yahweh is his Name.
The chariots of Pharaoh and his army has he hurled into the sea;*
the finest of those who bear armor have been
drowned in the Red Sea.
The fathomless deep has overwhelmed them;*
they sank into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, O Lord, is glorious in might;*
your right hand, O Lord, has overthrown the enemy.
Who can be compared with you, O Lord, among the gods? *
who is like you, glorious in holiness,
awesome in renown, and worker of wonders?
You stretched forth your right hand;*
the earth swallowed them up.
With your constant love you led the people you redeemed;*
with your might you brought them in safety to
your holy dwelling.
You will bring them in and plant them *
on the mount of your possession,
The resting-place you have made for yourself, O Lord,*
the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hand has established.
The Lord shall reign *
for ever and for ever.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

The Gospel

Matthew 18:1-14

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, 'Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?' 2He called a child, whom he put among them, 3and said, 'Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. 6'If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea.

7 Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes! 8'If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and to be thrown into the eternal fire. 9And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into the hell of fire 10'Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven 12What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14So it is not the will of yourc Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Canticle 20 Glory to God
Gloria in excelsis

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

The Commemoration

We read in Matthew 2 that when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, King Herod, fearing for his throne, ordered that all the male infants of Bethlehem be killed. These children are regarded as martyrs for the Gospel -- "martyrs in fact though not in will." Augustine called them "buds, killed by the frost of persecution the moment they showed themselves." For a discussion of the historical background of the episode, consult the Web page http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/CHRISTIA/library/infancy2.html

(NOTE: Ignore what the file says about the Assumption of Moses.)

written by James Kiefer

The Creed

The Apostle's Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Prayers

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those
who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.

Suffrages

Show us your mercy, O Lord;

And grant us your salvation.

Clothe your ministers with righteousness;

Let your people sing with joy.

Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;

For only in you can we live in safety.

Lord, keep this nation under your care;

And guide us in the way of justice and truth.

Let your way be known upon earth;

Your saving health among all nations.

Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;

Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.

Create in us clean hearts, O God;

And sustain us with your Holy Spirit.

Collect of the Day: The Holy Innocents

We remember today, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by King Herod. Receive, we pray, into the arms of your mercy all innocent victims; and by your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

For Mission

O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you; bring the nations into your fold; pour out your Spirit upon all flesh, and hasten the coming of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

World Cycle of Prayer

We pray for the people of Ethiopia.

Ecumenical Cycle of Prayer

We pray for our sisters and brothers members of the Evangelical Free Baptist Church.

A Collect for the Renewal of Life

O God, the King eternal, who divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Hymn: To my humble supplication

To my humble supplication
Lord, give ear and acceptation
Save thy servant, that hath none
Help nor hope but Thee alone. Amen.

Prayers and Intercessions

Let us pray now for our own needs and those of others.

Birthdays

Anniversaries

For Recovery from Sickness

For Travelers

For a Person in Trouble or Bereavement

For Those to be Baptized

For the Departed

Full list of prayers

For Peace Among Nations

Almighty God our heavenly Father, guide the nations of the world into the way of justice and truth, and establish among them that peace which is the fruit of righteousness, that they may become the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

For Those in the Armed Forces of Our Country

Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Conservation of Natural Resources

Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth, you made us fellow workers in your creation: Give us wisdom and reverence so to use the resources of nature, that no one may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Hymn: Lead me, Lord

Lead me, Lord,
lead me in Thy righteousness,
make Thy way plain before my face.

Lead me, Lord,
lead me in Thy righteousness,
make Thy way plain before my face.

For it is Thou, Lord,
Thou, Lord, only,
that makest me dwell in safety.

For it is Thou, Lord,
Thou, Lord, only,
that makest me dwell in safety.

Music and lyrics: Samuel Sebastian Wesley | Singers: The Choir of Somerville College, Oxford

A Prayer of Self-Dedication

Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated unto you; and then use us, we pray you, as you will, and always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

General Thanksgiving

Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks for all your goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all whom you have made. We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

A Prayer of St. Chrysostom

Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplication to you; and you have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his Name you will be in the midst of them: Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. Amen.

The Ending

Benediction

Let us bless the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to him from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20,21

Hymn: God Be With You

God be with you till we meet again;
By his counsels guide, uphold you;
With his sheep securely fold you.
God be with you till we meet again.
Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus' feet,
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.

return to the December calendar

return to the Home Page