Welcome to Morning Prayer

Welcome! Consider this your invitation to join our on-line morning prayer group. We gather every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m. Central Time.

If you would like to join us, simply  go to our Zoom hangout at 8:30 am (Central Time) on Tuesday or Thursday. (You will have to download something the first time you use Zoom.) We are currently using the Morning Prayer Liturgy below.

For more information about me, please see my primary blog, Spacious Faith.

Thanks for stopping by,
Joanna

Morning Prayer Liturgy: January 2020

Call to Worship (from Psalm 96)

O sing to God a new song; sing to the Holy One, all the earth.
For great is our God and greatly to be praised.

 Glory be to the Creator, and to the Christ, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.

Opening Psalm (Psalm 40:1-3, 8-11)

I waited patiently for Yahweh,
who inclined to me and heard my cry;
Who drew me up from the desolate pit,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure;
Who put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in God.

I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”
I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
see, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O God.
I have not hidden your saving help within my heart,
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.
Do not, O Lord, withhold
your mercy from me;
let your steadfast love and your faithfulness
keep me safe forever.

Collect (by Bosco Peters)

Dancing God, you exult over us with joy;
as we celebrate what has past, renew us by your love
that we may face the future with hope and joy;
through our Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God now and forever. Amen.

Scripture: Micah 6:1-8

Hear what the Lord says: Rise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice. 2Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the Lord, and you enduring foundations of the earth; for the Lord has a controversy with his people, and he will contend with Israel. 3“O my people, what have I done to you? In what have I wearied you? Answer me! 4For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and redeemed you from the house of slavery; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. 5O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised, what Balaam son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the saving acts of the Lord.”

6“With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” 8He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Silent and/or Spoken Reflections

Meditation

Small Kindnesses

By Danusha Laméris

I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead — you first,” “I like your hat.”

Offering Our Prayers (God, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer.)

Concluding Affirmation (from the New Zealand Prayer Book)

You, O God, are supreme and holy.
You create our world and give us life.
Your purpose overarches everything we do.
You have always been with us.
You are God.

You, O God, are infinitely generous,
good beyond all measure.
You came to us before we came to you.
You have revealed and proved
your love for us in Jesus Christ,
who lived and died and rose again.
You are with us now.
You are God.

You, O God, are Holy Spirit.
You empower us to be your gospel in the world.
You reconcile and heal; you overcome death.
You are our God. We worship you.

Benediction 

May the blessing of the God of Abraham and Sarah, and of Jesus Christ born of our sister Mary, and of the Holy Spirit, who broods over the world as a mother over her children, be upon you and remain with you always. Amen.

Morning Prayer Liturgy: December 2019

Call to Worship

Hark, the glad sound! the Savior comes, / The Savior promised long;
Let every heart prepare a room, / And every voice a song.

 Glory be to the Creator, and to the Christ, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.

Opening Psalm (Psalm 146)

Praise God! Praise God, O my soul!
I will praise the Holy One as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God all my life long.
Do not put your trust in rulers, in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish.
Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in Yahweh their God,
who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry.
God sets the prisoners free and opens the eyes of the blind.
God lifts up those who are bowed down and loves the righteous.
God watches over the strangers and upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked God brings to ruin.
Our God will reign forever, for all generations. Praise God!

Collect

Holy One on whom we wait and who is already with us,
Let us know contentment in this season of anticipation,
Be our still center in the midst of our busyness,
Give us grace to hear your voice even as we know you hear our prayers this morning.
Amen

Scripture: Isaiah 7:10-16

Again God spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of  your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put God to the test. Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore God will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.

Silent and/or Spoken Reflections

Meditation:

Advent isn’t an escape. It’s an encounter with the time that’s deeper than our time, a time we call eternal life. It’s a discovery of a longing that’s deeper than our longing, the longing we call God’s waiting for us. It’s an experience deep down and through the bottom of our experience, a place where grief is no longer isolating but companionable, where alienating hurt becomes tender wisdom, where unfulfilled longing becomes the sculpting of a greater hole for grace.

Samuel Wells

Offering Our Prayers (God, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer.)

Canticle: Magnificat (Luke 1: 46-55)

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for you have looked with favor on the lowliness of your servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for you, O Mighty One, have done great things for me,
and holy is your name.
Your mercy is for those who fear you
from generation to generation.
You have shown strength with your arm;
you have scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
You have brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
you have filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
You have helped your servant Israel,
in remembrance of your mercy,
according to the promise you made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and Hagar and Sarah and to their descendants forever.

Benediction 

In this new day, may we breathe the Holy breath deeply and live Christ’s justice boldly.
In the long night to come, may we rest in God’s peace and protection.
Amen.

Morning Prayer Liturgy: November 2019

Call to Worship

We give you thanks, O God, we give you thanks, calling upon your Name and declaring all your wonderful deeds. (Psalm 75:1)

  Glory be to the Creator, and to the Christ, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.

Opening Psalm (Psalm 100)

Make a joyful noise to Yahweh, all the earth.
    Worship God with gladness;
come into the divine presence with singing.

Know that Yahweh is God.
It is God who made us, and we are God’s;[a]
we are God’s people, and the sheep of the holy pasture.

Enter God’s gates with thanksgiving,
and the divine courts with praise.
Give thanks to God, bless the holy name.

For Yahweh is good;
God’s steadfast love endures forever,
and God’s faithfulness to all generations.

Collect (Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love)

God, of your goodness, give me yourself; you are enough for me, and anything less that I could ask for would not do you full honor. And if I ask anything that is less, I shall always lack something, but in you alone I have everything.

Scripture: Matthew 6:16-24

And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Parent who is in secret; and your Parent who sees in secret will reward you.

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; 23 but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

Silent and/or Spoken Reflections

Meditation:

“What makes the temptation of power so seemingly irresistible?  Maybe it is that power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love.  It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life.”

–Henri Nouwen, In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership, pg. 77

Offering Our Prayers (God, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer.)

Concluding Prayer (Miriam Therese Winter, WomanWord: A Feminist Lectionary and Psalter, p. 153)

You call us into discipleship,
O One Who Bears All Burdens,
making a way through the wilderness,
hovering near in pillar and cloud,
revealing bits of Your glory
when all seems hopeless and courage fails.
Carry us on the wingtips of Your
never-failing promise,
through moments of discouragement
as we push against the tide.
You are my friends,
You told us all,
my friends and my disciples.
Be with us always,
be with us now
as we seek Your way.
Amen.

Benediction (Celtic)

God’s Blessing be with us, Christ’s peace be with us, the Spirit’s outpouring be with us, now and always. Amen.

 

Morning Prayer Liturgy: October 2019

Call to Worship

This is the day that our God has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Glory be to the Creator, and to the Christ, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.

Opening Psalm (Psalm 143: 1,5-11)

Hear my prayer, O God;
give ear to my supplications in your faithfulness;
answer me in your righteousness. . . .
I think about all your deeds,
I meditate on the works of your hands.
 I stretch out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.
  Answer me quickly, O God;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me,
or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
 Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,
for in you I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
 Save me, O God, from my enemies;
I have fled to you for refuge.
 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
Let your good spirit lead me
on a level path.
 For your name’s sake, O God, preserve my life.
In your righteousness bring me out of trouble.

Collect

Holy Wisdom, in your loving kindness you created and restored us when we were lost: inspire us with your truth, that we may love you with our whole minds and run to you with open hearts, through Christ our Savior. Amen. (source: Alcuin of York, Mass of Wisdom)

Scripture: Matthew 5:27-37

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.

31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to God.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is God’s footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Silent and/or Spoken Reflections

Meditation

“All Souls’ Day” by Barbara Crooker

Say November woods.
Say the colors of earth:  ocher, sienna, umber,
a hearth where the fire’s gone out.
Wind scours trees to their bones.
A chevron of geese cuts a wedge in the sky.
Imagine a hawk the color of winter.
On the day of the dead, he seeks a thermal
and soars.  The dead rise, too,
will-o-the-wisps of mist & haze,
tobacco smoke from Indian pipes,
the plumes of tall grasses.
They are always with us,
tangible as breath,
fill the interstices of then and now.
In the November woods, cold air
settles like a blanket.
The sky tucks itself in.
Everywhere, the silence of all the folded wings.

Offering Our Prayers (God, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer.)

Canticle: Benedictus (The Song of Zechariah, Luke 1:68-79)

Blessed are you, God of Israel,
For you have come to your people and set them free.
You have raised up for us a mighty Savior,
Born of the house of your servant David.
Through your holy prophets you promised of old
To save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us,
To show mercy to our forebears, and to remember your holy covenant.
This was the oath you swore to our ancestors:
To set us free from the hands of our enemies,
Free to worship you without fear, holy and righteous before you,
All the days of our life.
And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
For you will go before God to prepare the way,
To give God’s people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God
The dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
And to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Benediction (From John 14:27)

Jesus says to us: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

Morning Prayer Liturgy: September 2019

Call to Worship

We give you thanks, O God, we give you thanks, calling upon your Name and declaring all your wonderful deeds. (Psalm 75:1)

 Glory be to the Creator, and to the Christ, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.

 Opening Psalm (Psalm 139:1-10)

O God, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.

 Even before a word is on my tongue,
O God, you know it completely.
 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.

 Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
 If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
 If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.

Collect

Loving Jesus: Protect and sustain us with your hand. Open the door of your love that, sealed with your wisdom, we may be free to serve you with joy. Amen. (a prayer of St. Gertrude)

Scripture: Matthew 4:1-11

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,

‘One does not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,

‘He will command his angels concerning you,’
    and ‘On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written,

‘Worship the Lord your God,
    and serve only him.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.

Silent and/or Spoken Reflections

Meditation

“I am deeply convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in the world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self. . . . The great message that we have to carry, as ministers of God’s Word and followers of Jesus, is that God loves us not because of what we do or accomplish, but because God has created and redeemed us in love and has chosen to proclaim that love as the true source of all human life. . . . The leaders of the future will be those who dare to claim their irrelevance in the contemporary world as divine vocation that allows them to enter into a deep solidarity with the anguish underlying all the glitter of success, and to bring the life of Jesus there.”

-Henri Nouwen (writing about the second temptation of Jesus)

Offering Our Prayers (God, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer.)

Canticle: A Song of Christ’s Goodness (Anselm of Canterbury)

Jesus, as a mother you gather your people to you;
you are gentle with us as a mother with her children.
Often you weep over our sins and our pride,
tenderly you draw us from hatred and judgment.
You comfort us in sorrow and bind up our wounds,
in sickness you nurse us and with pure milk you feed us.
Jesus, by your dying, we are born to new life;
by your anguish and labor we come forth in joy.
Despair turns to hope through your sweet goodness;
through your gentleness, we find comfort in fear.
Your warmth gives life to the dead,
your touch makes sinners righteous.
Lord Jesus, in your mercy, heal us;
in your love and tenderness, remake us.
In your compassion, bring grace and forgiveness,
for the beauty of heaven, may your love prepare us.

Benediction (From Ephesians 3:17-19)

I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may have power together with all the saints
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge,
that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Amen.

Morning Prayer Liturgy

Call to Worship

O God, let us hear of your steadfast love in the morning
for in you we put our trust.
Teach us the way we should go,
for to you we lift up our souls.

 Glory be to the Creator, and to the Christ, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.

Opening Psalm (63:1-8)

O God, you are my God; eagerly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you,
as in a barren and dry land where there is no water.
Therefore I have gazed upon you in your holy place,
that I might behold your power and your glory.
For your loving-kindness is better than life itself;
my lips shall give you praise.
So will I bless you as long as I live
and lift up my hands in your Name.
My soul is content, as with marrow and fatness,
and my mouth praises you with joyful lips,
When I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the night watches.
For you have been my helper,
and under the shadow of your wings I will rejoice.
My soul clings to you; your right hand holds me fast.

Collect

God our rock and refuge: keep us safe in your care and strengthen us with your grace, that we may pray to you faithfully and love one another boldly, following the example of Jesus, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives for ever and ever. Amen.
(source: Veronese Sacramentary)

Scripture

Matthew 2:13-18

13 Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”

16 When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men.17 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
    wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
    she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”

 

Silent and/or Spoken Reflections

 

Meditation

“Then came the march past the victims. The two men were no longer alive. . . . But the third rope was still moving: the child, too light, was still breathing…

Behind me, I heard the . . . man asking:
“For God’s sake, where is God?”
And from within me, I heard a voice answer:
“Where [God] is? This is where–hanging here from this gallows…”

― Elie Wiesel, Night


Offering Our Prayers (God, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer.)

Canticle: Magnificat (Luke 1: 46-55)

My soul magnifies the Lord,
 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for you have looked with favor on the lowliness of your servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for you, O Mighty One, have done great things for me,
and holy is your name.
Your mercy is for those who fear you
from generation to generation.
You have shown strength with your arm;
you have scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
You have brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
you have filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
You have helped your servant Israel,
in remembrance of your mercy,
according to the promise you made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and Hagar and Sarah and to their descendants forever.

Benediction (source: from Saint Clare)

Live without fear: your Creator has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Go in peace to follow the good road and may God’s blessing be with you always. Amen.

 

Morning Prayer Outline

Morning prayer liturgy parts taken from “God Our Mother: An Inclusive Morning Prayer Liturgy” by Christena Cleveland.

 

PRAISE

O God, let our mouth proclaim your praise.
And your glory all the day long.

Praise to the holy and undivided Trinity, one God: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

The Holy One is in our midst.
O come let us worship.

SCRIPTURE

Reading from the week’s Lectionary scriptures

Time for silent and/or spoken reflection

PRAYER

Prayer offered by participant

Hear our cry, O God.
And listen to our prayer.
Let us pray.

PEOPLE OFFER THEIR OWN PRAYERS, SILENTLY OR ALOUD.
~Conclude spoken prayer with: God, in your mercy,
~We will respond: Hear our prayer.

CONCLUDING PRAYER:

Holy and everliving God,
by your power we are created
and by your love we are redeemed;
guide and strengthen us by your Spirit,
that we may give ourselves to your service
and live this day in love to one another and to you;
through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Amen.