Season of Lent
As you enter into this Evening Prayer, remember that God is with you and ready to speak to you because he loves you. Enjoy the presence of your Lord and Savior. Pray as you are able: use the entire email or for a shorter time of prayer, be led through all five sections but focus on one element in each of the sections.
- Calling -
Let my prayer be set forth in your sight as the incense, and let the lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice. (Psalm 141:2)
- Confession -
Prayer of Repentance
O Spirit of God, help our weakness and unbelief. If you see in us any wrong thing encouraged, any evil desire cherished, any delight that is not your delight, any habit that grieves you, any nest of sin in our heart, then grant us the kiss of forgiveness, and teach our feet to walk the way of your commandments. Help us to walk the holy life with firm and brave steps, and to wrestle successfully against self-centeredness. Teach us to praise, adore, and magnify you, and make us a perfume of praiseful gratitude to you. We do not crouch at your feet as a slave before a tyrant, but exult before you as children with a father. Give us power to live as your children, and root our hope in Christ.
(Pause for a time of silent confession)
Words of Assurance - Psalm 103:11-13
Leader: “For as the heavens are high 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 he removes our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion for his children, so the LORD has compassion for those who fear him.”
(An invitation to praise God after confession and prior to the daily Psalm(s) and Lessons)
O 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 full of compassion and mercy: Come let us adore him.
Hymn for Evening Prayer - O Gracious Light
O gracious Light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of life,
and to be glorified though all the worlds.
- Constitution -
Evening Psalm(s) - Psalm 27
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.
One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in his temple.
For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.
And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the LORD.
Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, LORD, do I seek.”
Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!
For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
but the LORD will take me in.
Teach me your way, O LORD,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they breathe out violence.
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living!
Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD!
The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God.
Gospel - Romans 8:1–11
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,
“As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’”
although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this passage he said,
“They shall not enter my rest.”
Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”
For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.
Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God.
Slowly read one or more of the lessons again... did a word or phrase catch your eye or move your heart...mediate on it and pray your thoughts, desires, needs, and feelings.
A Song of Response - Nunc Dimittis (Luke 2:29-32)
Lord, now let your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
For mine eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared before the face of all people,
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles,
and to be the glory of your people Israel.
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.
- Communion -
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. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
Prayers of Thanksgiving & Petitions
Take this time to offer personal prayers.
Where have you seen the Lord faithfully at work this past week?
Where do you hope to see the Lord's help and healing this coming week?
What prayers can you offer for our church, neighborhood, nation, and world?
A Collect for Holy Saturday
O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
- Commission -
The 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. 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.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you, and remain with you always. Amen.
Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
- Family Devotion-
If you have children, below are two suggestions to help your family create a daily habit of prayer and Bible reading, meditation, and application. Use these suggestions as guides for your specific family situation and the ages of each of your children. Corporate times around the table (like breakfast or dinner) or during bedtime routines may be good times for your family.
For a family devotion follow the Calling - Commission flow:
Calling - Remind your children that God loves them and is with them.
Cleansing - Together and/or individually pray your own prayer of repentance or use the corporate prayer of repentance. Remind them that Jesus died on the cross for their sins and rose from the dead, that their sins are forgiven and Jesus now reigns as their king.
Constitution - Read one or more of the appointed readings. Then ask them some follow up questions like: (Read) What does this passage say? (Think) What does this passage mean? (Live) How does this passage apply to us today? In addition to an appointed reading, you can also read a children's Bible, like The Jesus Storybook Bible.
Communion - Then pray thanksgivings & petitions and/or The Lord's Prayer.
Commission - Close by saying the Blessing over your children.
For those families going through the 10-minute family devotional Old Story New, this week we are on Week 29, Pages 203-210.
Close your time with prayers of repentance, thanksgiving, petitions, and/or The Lord's Prayer.