Night Prayer 1

You have multiplied, O God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you.
We give thanks to you, O God and tell of your wondrous deeds.
we give thanks; your name is near.

              Pause to reflect on what we have seen of God in the past day.

Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace:
your word has been fulfilled.
My own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people;
A light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.

                            ELLC Nunc Dimittis.
Hallowed be your name Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit:
As in the beginning; so now; and forever. Amen.

                           

Let us pray
              … pause to recall, and perhaps to share, particular concerns before God.

(the words to the following may be sung to the tune ‘Te Lucis’ -traditional compline hymn)
O God with you we rest our cares
bring good of them in all affairs
And as the world turns on its round
may justice, peace and hope abound.

And as we pause to take our sleep
bring comfort to all those who weep
and work into to the wide world’s life
the grace that ends ungodly strife.

O God bring good news to the poor
and make your peacely rule more sure
tread underfoot all ill and woe
So right and health and goodness grow

We lie down and sleep; we wake again, for the Lord sustains us.
Save us, O Lord, while waking, and guard us while sleeping, that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep we may rest in peace.

Search me out, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my restless thoughts.
Look well whether there be any wickedness in me.
              Pause to recognise wrongness in our lives today; both what we’ve caused and what we need to forgive.
Holy God,
holy and strong,
holy and immortal:
have mercy on us.

Let us attend: God breathes forgiveness on those who confess their sins.
From the darkness of our sins we walk.

lead us in the way that is everlasting.
Let us hear of your loving-kindness in the morning,
for in you we put our trust;
show us the way we should walk in,
for we lift up our soul to you.
                            [from Psalm 143]

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Ascension

Ascensiontide is the time between Ascension day and Pentecost Sunday. It recalls Christ’s Ascension (see Acts 1) and the theme of waiting on God’s Spirit. This order shares some material with the order for Pentecost.

Together with all in Christ, we wait
Come Holy Spirit; soak into our deepest being
We pray together with all your people
Come Holy Spirit; breeze through our staleness.

We will hear the scriptures together
Come Holy Spirit; fire up our imaginations for good

Glorious Father, give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we may know you better. Open the eyes of our heart that we may know the hope to which you have called us, the riches of your glorious inheritance and your incomparably great power for us.
[from Ephesians 1]
Psalm[s] and reading[s] are announced and read. When all have been read …
Reader: God has sent forth the word
May it not return empty.
There may be a time of quiet and/or shared reflection. A framework for reflection, using the pattern of the Lord’s prayer may be used.
Together we say:
We will receive power
when the Holy Spirit comes upon us;
the same mighty strength
that raised Christ from the dead
and seated him at God’s right hand
in the heavenly realms,
far above all rule and authority,
power and dominion,
and every name that is invoked
in the present age and in the one to come.
And we will be Jesus’ witnesses
to the ends of the earth

[Acts 1.8 and Ephesians 1.20ff]

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
You have blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ
to the praise of your glorious grace,
which you have freely given us in the Beloved
…Prayers and/or songs of praise and thanks may be shared here…
And now we give you thanks because In Christ you take human life to yourself, and do not leave us orphaned but give gifts by the Holy Spirit, Our God In heaven, in love you adopted us through Jesus Christ:
Hallowed be your name!

God, send your Spirit: mend your creation, fulfil your promises and inspire your people for good.
Send forth your Spirit:
And renew the face of the earth
May your desires and values spring up and prosper throughout the world, your peace, wholeness and goodness come on earth
Send forth your Spirit:
And renew the face of the earth.
Work righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
Send forth your Spirit:
And renew the face of the earth.
Through the church, may the manifold wisdom of God be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.
Send forth your Spirit:
And renew the face of the earth.
We ask that all the Lord’s holy people have power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God
…Other prayers or biddings may be voiced here the leader ending with:
Send forth your Spirit:
And renew the face of the earth.
Let love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other
Send forth your Spirit:
And renew the face of the earth.

Be the wind in the sails of our lives and as we are blown forward by your Spirit may we know your comfort and provision
…prayers or biddings asking for God’s provision may be added here the leader ending with
Send forth your Spirit:
And renew the face of our lives.

We have quenched your Spirit in our self-serving or grudge-bearing

Forgive us and renew us:
To know and to offer joyful forgiveness.

Blow upon us the breath of life:
And renew the face of our lives.
Make our hearts clean, O God
And reform a right spirit within us.
Let us attend; Christ breathes upon us the peace and forgiveness of God.
A moment for quiet reflection on our forgiveness.

As we seek to walk in the Spirit let us pause before the likely events and involvements and the unpredictable happenings that face us.
Pause for reflection
Since we live by the Spirit,
let us keep in step with the Spirit.
[Gal 5:25 ]
Now to you who by the power at work within us are able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to you be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

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Eastertide

Eastertide lasts until the celebration of Christ’s Ascension, ten days before Pentecost.The prayers for this time reflect Christ’s rising from death and its implications.

Alleluia, Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Our hopes are raised
Life emerges from death
Right is wrested from wrong
The uprising of Love has begun!

Draw alongside us, Lord Jesus,
Open up the scriptures to us by your Spirit,
so our hearts might be lit with fresh understanding
and fired up by your presence.
Psalm[s] and reading[s]. The reader or service leader, after the readings may say:
Here ends the reading.
Here begins its outworking.
There may be a time of quiet and/or shared reflection. A framework for reflection, using the pattern of the Lord’s prayer may be used.
Jesus said: ‘Do not doubt but trust.’ With Thomas we respond,
‘My Lord and my God!’
Let us hear for ourselves what Jesus replied,
‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to trust.’

We have these words so that we may come to believe and trust:
Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God,
we have life in his name.
[ based on John 20:19ff ]

We set God always before us:
who is at our right hand; we shall not fall.
Our hearts are glad
and our spirits rejoice;
Our flesh shall also rest secure.
For you will not abandon our souls to Death,
nor let your faithful know the Pit.
You will show us the path of life;
in your presence is the fullness of joy
and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore
[ From Psalm 16 ]
Further appreciation of God may be voiced
O God, roll away the stone from our hearts, and brighten our imaginations with the dayspring of new life. In Christ you spoke into the unmaking void of death,raising your Life from death and enfolding us in that victory.
God of new creation:
Hallowed be your name

We ask for God’s eternal-life-giving to be known in our world, saying:
Living God:
glorify your name
Concerns for the world and its people are brought before God, either at this point closing with the series of one-line responses below,or after that series or using each one-liner to prompt further prayers.
In our world’s global community, in our world’s living systems;
Living God:
glorify your name.
In your church as we proclaim your new life in thought and word and deed;
Living God:
glorify your name.
Among all whose lives our lives touch, friends, colleagues and families;
Living God:
glorify your name.
In this world of sin and death, and yet of blessings and common grace;
Living God:
glorify your name.
[rewritten from a prayer in Patterns of Worship, 1995]

In our needs and weakness in our provision and supply;
Living God:
glorify your name.
We consider what we need to continue living in Christ
The risen Jesus makes common table with us.
As we make common cause with Christ:
Give us each day our daily bread.

Full-lively God, we come to you in sorrow for our sins, and confess to you our weaknesses and unbelief.
Recollection of what we need to confess.
We have fallen back into the law of sin and death, and failed to live the new life of the risen Christ.
Merciful God, forgive us.
And restore us to life.
We have laid others in the tomb of our unforgiveness,
enshrouding them in our contempt and withholding the word of life.
Forgive us, Merciful God
And restore us to life-giving.
Let us attend; Christ breathes upon us the peace and forgiveness of God.
A moment for quiet reflection on our forgiveness.
Who will rescue us from this body of death?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
As we seek to forge a new future living the life of Christ let us pause before the likely events and involvements and the unpredictable happenings that face us.

A collect prayer may be said.
In our laughter, and tears, in our fear and our hope;
Living God:
Glorify your name.

Jesus comes to us and says,
‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’
He breathes on us and says; ‘Receive the Holy Spirit….
Pause to reflect on Christ’s risen presence and call before we return to the rest of our lives.
Let us bless the Lord:
Thanks be to God
Who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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A commentary on this order of prayer can be found here.

Passiontide and Holy Week

Passiontide begins on the Sunday before Palm Sunday and takes us up to Easter Sunday. The focus is on the passion and crucifixion of Christ. During this time our prayers reflect the suffering and death of Christ.

Our hearts tell of your Word, O God, “Seek my face”.
Your face, Lord, will we seek
[Ps.27 ]
What is it that we seek?
We seek God’s heart and holiness.
Let’s seek with all our reflecting
Amen. God be our wisdom.
Let’s seek with all our attentiveness
Amen. God be our centre.
Let’s seek with all our valuing
Amen. God be our vision.
Let’s seek with all our efforts
Amen. God be our strength and refuge.

On the cross, Jesus framed fracturing-life’s ebb with words from scripture,
May we frame our lives’ flow primed by God’s lore. Let us attend!
Psalm[s] and reading[s]. There may be a time of quiet and/or shared reflection. A framework for reflection, using the pattern of the Lord’s prayer may be used.
Jesus call us to take up our cross and follow him.
…. pause for consideration
Lord, we believe,
help us in our unbelief.

The Canticle below, or some other, may be said.
The message of the cross
is foolishness to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved
it is the power of God.
For since, in the wisdom of God,
the world did not know God through wisdom,
God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation,
to save those who believe.
For some demand signs and others desire wisdom,
but we proclaim Christ crucified,
a stumbling-block to some and foolishness to others.
But to those who are the called,
Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom,
and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

[From 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 ]

O God, you so loved us, that you gave your only begotten so that we might not perish but have eternal life:
long-suffering God, slow to anger, unlimited in grace and infinite in mercy, for the joy you set before him, Jesus endured; endured betrayal, crowd-pleasing, the little collusions and small infidelities that set you at cross purposes to the system,
Father in heaven
Hallowed be your name.
Thanks and praise may be shared…

As we dare to intercede for a breaking world, we fear that our human agendas and earth-framed ideas fall short of true wisdom. So we ask not for our will but yours to be done.
For the misled and the disregarded
Not our will
but your will be done.
For the elites and powerful,
Not our will
but your will be done.
For the exploiters of others,
Not our will
but your will be done.
For the fearful and weak,
Not our will
but your will be done.
For the cynical and world-weary,
Not our will
but your will be done.
For the blindly pious and the users of religion,
Not our will
but your will be done.
For those just doing their jobs,
Not our will
but your will be done.
For the helpless and the hopeless,
Not our will
but your will be done.
For the despairing and crushed in spirit
Not our will
but your will be done.
and we ask in hope that our prayerful imaginings may grow into God’s, as we consider the forces in our times still arrayed for woe and for ill.
Your Kingdom come,
Your will be done on earth as in heaven.

There is bread enough to be broken for all to share though our sharing is flawed and misdirected, we ask that all may be the haves, and none the have-nots.

Your kingdom come, your will be done:
Give us each day our morrowly bread.
Prayers for needs may be voiced….
Seeking first your kingdom & righteousness
May all things needful be added to us.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting
[Ps.139:23-4 ]

We confess with sorrow that we have collaborated with the fallen powers of this world knowingly or unwittingly deliberately or from fearful weakness.
We are mortified.
We repent in dust and ashes.
We turn afresh to the way of Christ,
the way of the cross
the way of life-giving wisdom.
Heal us and we shall be healed.
Save us and we shall be saved.
We hear with hope Jesus’ words: ‘Forgive them’.

Make us instruments of your peace:
and let your glory be over all the earth.
…pause to reflect on the coming day…
Tempted to resign ourselves to the way of the world:
Give us fresh vision and graciousness.
Pressured towards unwise compromise:
Strengthen our resolve.
Trialled by the grind of human frailties:
Teach us to remember our own.

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Lent

During Lent we reflect on our need for God’s grace and mercy and we commit ourselves to growth in holiness and wisdom.

Remembering we are dust and to dust we shall return, we turn from our waywardness to cultivate Christwardness.
What is it that we seek?
We seek God’s way in the wilderness.
Let’s seek with all our deciding
Amen. God be our wisdom.
Let’s seek with all our affections
Amen. God be our centre
Let’s seek with all our attitudes
Amen. God be our vision.
Let’s seek with all our resources
Amen. God be our mainstay.

Tested and tempted in the desert, scripture revealed and steered Jesus’ resistance and direction. May we learn and inwardly digest the Wisdom of God we hear.
Let us attend!
Psalm[s] and reading[s]. There may be a time of quiet and/or shared reflection. A framework for reflection, using the pattern of the Lord’s prayer may be used.
Jesus call us to faith in Him.
….pause for reflection
Lord, we believe,
help us in our unbelief.

The Song of Christ’s Glory (or some other canticle can be chosen)
Though in the form of God,
Christ did not regard equality with God
as something to be held.
He emptied himself,
taking on the form of a slave.
Jesus was born in human likeness;
and found in human form.
He humbled himself
and was obedient into death—
even death on a cross.
Therefore God highly exalted him
giving him the name above every name.
So at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

[From Philippians 2]

We will give God thanks:
You are our help and our God.
You are gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast faithful love. You seek us out in the darkness of our sin, and exchange beauty of reconciliation for the ashes of our rebellion.
…other appreciations of God may be added.
Our God in heaven, father and mother to us;
Hallowed be your name.

We have been led into deserts of dried-up meaning and conflicting desires. We petition for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, that they may be filled
God fulfil your purpose for us:
Send from heaven and save us.
We find ourselves in a world of precarity and danger, we cry out for the vulnerable and marginalised that they may find respite and dignity.
God fulfil your purpose for us:
Send from heaven and save us.
In a world replete with prideful powers and vaunting ambition, we remember before God those who make decisions affecting the lives of others that they may grow in wisdom and compassion.
God fulfil your purpose for us:
Send from heaven and save us.
In a world needing the ministry of angels in many guises, some unawares, we lay out the needs and concerns known to us.
Further concerns may be voiced here.
God fulfil your purpose for us:
Send from heaven and save us.
In a world where there is bread enough for all, we bring before you those who do not have and pray for the will and means of supply, globally and locally
God fulfil your purpose for us:
Send from heaven and save us.

Seeking first your kingdom & righteousness may all things needful be added to us.
Prayers for needs may be voiced….
You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
We recognise ourselves in the fractured and frail failures of the stories of God’s people. and we pause to reorient ourselves towards love of God and neighbour.
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.
Our love has been as the morning mist, as the dew that goes early away.
God be gracious;
Lord, have mercy
Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth
Our love has been as the morning mist, as the dew that goes early away.
God be gracious;
Lord, have mercy
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Our love has been as the morning mist, as the dew that goes early away.
God be gracious;
Lord, have mercy.
[Cf. 1 Cor 13:4-7; Hosea 13:3)
O Soul be joyful; our merciful God stretches out a loving hand to you.

Make us instruments of your peace:
and let your glory be over all the earth.
…pause to reflect on the coming day…
Tempted to breaden stones:
May your Word give us life.
Tested by intimations of invincibility:
Make us wise in your ways.
Trialled by the seductions of power:
Keep us true to you.

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There is a commentary on this order and its contents.

Principles and guidelines

There are two or three guiding principles for constructing these offices. One has been to make use of the prayer that Jesus gave to his first disciples in response to the request ‘Teach us to pray’. We now usually call that prayer “The Lord’s Prayer” though it has also been known as the “Our Father” (or the Latin “Paternoster”). There are slightly different versions of it in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke. Putting these together to compare them, we find that there are five topics or movements of prayer covered. Given that there is some variation it is reasonable to suppose that the point is not the exact words but the kinds of things we are being asked to make part of our regular praying.

The second principle informing the shape of these offices has been to include the reading of scripture. For many Christians reading or hearing the Bible regularly is an important discipline, and so it seems important to give room for that in a structure for regular prayer such as this. It seems best to have this component at the start of a time of prayer, perhaps this is because it is the way so many offices and prayer-time advice recommend. In many traditional offices the liturgy around the readings doesn’t particularly support the scriptural component -at least not explicitly in the prayers. In these offices, the prayers before and after the readings are intended to prepare us for hearing the scriptures and give us forms to respond to them, if only briefly. There is also a framework for reflection offered. This might be particularly useful if you wanted to to use the scripture-centred part of the office separately from the prayer-based second part. One scenario for doing it like that might be to have two times of prayer during the day using one part in each prayer time.

A further principle has been to enable people to pray these offices together as well as singly. The offices are designed with a small group praying them in mind but also so that a person on their own could pray them -in fact for me that is the usual way it happens. It does act as a reminder, though, that prayer is considered to be a communal activity at heart. After all, the Lord’s Prayer itself supposes a community of praying people: “Our Father … give us … as we forgive…” etc. All of this means that many of the prayers are composed for two or more voices in dialogue. The default is that one voice would say one part of those prayers and the rest of the voices (whether one or more) would say the other part. Obviously, who says the first part could vary, and the ‘lead’ in that sense could rotate between participants. If you pray this physically alone, simply take both parts yourself. It works out fine,

Navigating the variety

You’ll see when you look at the contents that this site has daily prayer offices for different days and different seasons of the year. It’s not compulsory to use them but many people do find it helpful to change forms every so often and this is one way to do this. Many people also find it good to pray along with the seasons of the church year and so there are forms to help you to do that which use imagery and phrases resonant with some of the themes of that season. You’ll see that each day has a theme which references a different part of the church’s year and there are similarities between these and the seasonal prayers themselves to a greater or lesser extent. There is also an order for ‘Everyday’ which is intended to be used anytime as an alternative to any of the others.

In addition to what you would expect in terms of seasons of the church year (Advent, Lent, Easter etc), there are some additional orders of prayer for times and seasons and themes which don’t often appear -Transfiguration is one and also what I have called ‘Magnificat’ times when we might be reminded of Mary the mother of Jesus -as the name suggestsi the words of Mary in Luke 1:46ff form a central place in that office. You can also find a ‘Pauline Office’ which uses words from Paul’s letters to help us to pray. Creationtide is a new, developing, season in September up to 4 October. There is an office for “Dark Seasons” which was compiled with winter in higher latitudes in mind when darkness is a bigger part of everyday experience and it uses imagery of dark and light to draw on that experience as we pray.

i"Magnificat" is thefirst word in Latin of Mary's song in Luke chapter 1. It means 'magnifies' or 'proclaims greatness' as in "My soul magnifies the Lord" or "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord".