A Beautiful Prayer of the Early Christians

I first heard this prayer one day while visiting a local Orthodox church in Waco, Saint Nicholas, for a vespers service. I had become good friends with the woman who assisted the priest with the chanting during the service. I thought that she chanted the prayers so beautifully!

But the words of this ancient Trinitarian hymn, a lamp-lighting prayer, at the end of the service captivated my ears and my heart:

O Gladsome Light of the holy glory, of the immortal Father:
Heavenly blessed, Jesus Christ.
Now, that we have come to the setting of the sun,
And we behold the light of the evening.
We praise the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;
It is right, at all times, to worship Thee with songs of praise:
O Son of God, and giver of life.
Therefore, all the world glorifies Thee.

I later wrote this musical setting, and we have used it for many services around our beloved university and our community many times. I hope that you will listen in the hope of Christ, the Light of the World.

And that our God will illuminate our imaginations with the expectation that we shall gather again in a not too distant future; and we shall praise Father, Son, and Holy Spirit together!

By the way… I am married now to the cantor I mentioned at the beginning of this note: my sweet wife, Susan. And, this is a prayer dear to our family.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!

Evening Prayers for April 21, 2020

Resurrection Icon
Chris is Risen!

Opening Prayer (to meditate in silence and prepare your heart for prayer)

“O God, come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me.”

Call to Worship and Invocation Prayer – Psalm 96: 1-13

Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord all the earth.

Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations; his deeds among the people. Great is the Lord and worthy of praise; the Lord made the heavens. Let the heavens rejoice; let the earth be glad.

Let the sea resound, and all that is in it.

Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.

Then the trees will sing for joy; They will sing before the Lord. Ascribe to the Lord glory. Worship the Lord in splendor.

Holy God, speak to us,

That we might hear the good news,

And trust our lives into your hands and keeping.

May we be present now, even as you are present to us.

Eternal Friend, this is our prayer. Amen.

Song– “We Will Feast In House of Zion” by Sandra McCracken

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujVBV3lNSbQ

“We will feast in the house of Zion.

We will sing with our hearts restored.

He has done great things, we will say together;

We will feast and weep no more.”

Prayer of Confession

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. 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.

Words of Assurance: Isaiah 43: 25

“I, even I, am the one who blots out your transgressions…and remembers your sins no more.”

New Testament Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:12-20 NRSV

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. 17 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. 19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.

Prayer – Silent Prayers of Intercession (please meditate on this prayer)

Trusting that that God is the God of all.

The Light that enlightens all.

The One in whom we all live and move and have our being, We pray…

for those who are in need of physical healing and comfort.

for those who struggle emotionally and spiritually.

for those who are sacrificing for the sake of the gospel.

for those who face decisions.

for those who are difficult to love.

for those whom God has laid upon our hearts.

We remember all these into God’s care. Holy and Gracious God, Hear, oh Lord, our prayers. Amen.

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 trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,

for ever and ever. Amen.

Benediction: Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand…in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Prayers for Thursday, April 16

cropped-chalchuapa

Morning Prayers – Thursday, April 16, 2020

Opening Verses – Psalm 16

Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” 

As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble, in whom is all my delight. Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names upon my lips.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage. 

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure.

For you do not give me up to Sheol, or let your faithful one see the Pit. You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Call to Worship

O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Song – Future/Past  

 

You hold the reins on the sun and the moon

Like horses driven by kings

You cover the mountains, the valleys below

With the breadth of Your mighty wings…

New Testament Reading – John 20:24-29

Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

For Reflection from Teilhard de Chardin

To adore… That means to lose oneself in the unfathomable, to plunge into the inexhaustible, to find peace in the incorruptible, to be absorbed in defined immensity, to offer oneself to the fire and the transparency, and to give of one’s deepest to that whose depth has no end.

Prayer of St. Chrysostom

Almighty God, who has given us at this time with one accord to make our common prayer to you; and does promise that when two or three are gathered together in your name you will grant their request: fulfill now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of your servants, as may be most expedient for them; granting us in this world knowledge of thy truth; and in the world to come life everlasting. Amen.

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 trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,

for ever and ever. Amen.

 Benediction

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.  
—2 Corinthians 13:14
–

 

Evening Prayers – Thursday, April 15, 2020

Opening Prayer (to meditate in silence and prepare your heart for prayer)

“O God, come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me.”

Call to Worship and Invocation Prayer

Psalm 118

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Let God’s people say: “His love endures forever.”

Let those who reverence God say: “His love endures forever.”

When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.

I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;

The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.

You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Holy God, speak to us,

That we might hear the good news,

And trust our lives into your hands and keeping.

May we be present now, even as you are present to us.

Eternal Friend, this is our prayer. Amen.

Hymn:

(singing)Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.

Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.

Break me, melt me, mold me, fill me.

Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.

Prayer of Confession 

Holy and infinite God, we confess our need for you. We have sinned and need your forgiveness. We are lost and need your guidance. We are broken and need your healing touch.

Hear our prayers, O Lord. (silent confession)

Words of Assurance Psalm 3:8-12

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;

He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 

Gospel Reading   Luke 24:13-27 NRSV

13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” 19 He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22 Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23 and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” 25 Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

 Prayer

Intercessions for Those Beyond our Community

Holy God, hear our prayers. God, we trust in you…

And to you we pray together…Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy.

We remember now to you those places and people far from our influence (spoken petitions).

And to you we pray together…Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy.

We remember now to you those with whom we live and work and study (spoken petitions).

And to you we pray together…Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy.

We remember now to you our loved ones (spoken petitions).

And to you we pray together…Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy.

And we remember now to you our own needs (spoken petitions).

And to you we pray together…Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy.

The Lord’s Prayer 

Benediction Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand…in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

 

Prayers for Wednesday, April 15

Morning Prayers 

Opening Verse- Psalm 118:1-2, 21-24 (to meditate in preparation for prayer)

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever! Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.

The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.

This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; let          us rejoice and be glad in it.

Call to Worship

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 forever. Amen.

Song – Give Me Jesus 

In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus

Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus
You can have all this world
But give me Jesus

And when I am alone
Oh, and when I am alone
And when I am alone, give me Jesus

Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus

You can have all this world
But give me Jesus

And when I come to die
Oh, and when I come to die
And when I come to die, give me Jesus

Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus
You can have all this world
You can have all this world
You can have all this world
But give me Jesus 

New Testament Reading – Matthew 28:1-10

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

For Reflection from Thomas Merton

This act of total surrender is not merely a fantastic intellectual and mystical gamble; it is something much more serious. It is an act of love for this unseen person, who, in the very gift of love by which we surrender ourselves to this reality also makes his presence known to us.

Prayer of St. Benedict

 Gracious and holy Father, give me wisdom to perceive you, intelligence to fathom you, patience to wait for you, eyes to behold you, a heart to meditate upon you, and a life to proclaim you, through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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 trespasses,

    as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

    but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,

    for ever and ever. Amen.

Benediction

May the Lord send out thy his light and his truth; let them lead you, let them bring you to God’s  holy hill and to God’s dwelling!
— from Psalm 43:3—

 

(evening prayers continue below)

 

Evening Prayers

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Opening Prayer (to meditate in silence and prepare your heart for prayer)

“O God, come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me.”

Call to Worship and Invocation Prayer

     Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;

We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name. For the LORD is good; His loving     kindness is everlasting, And His faithfulness is to all generations. Psalm 100

Holy God, speak to us,

That we might hear the good news,

And trust our lives into your hands and keeping.

May we be present now, even as you are present to us.

Eternal Friend, this is our prayer. Amen.

Doxology

(singing) Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures, here below.
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

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. 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.

Words of Assurance: Psalm 34:18, 22

God is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. Those who take refuge in God will not know condemnation.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 28:8-15

8 So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

11 While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 After the priests[a] had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 telling them, “You must say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story is still told among the Jews to this day.

Prayer: Intercession Prayer

Merciful God, source of all life and healing, hear our prayers this day for all who suffer. Use our prayers for all who suffer. (silent prayers)

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 trespasses,

    as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

    but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,

    for ever and ever. Amen.

Benediction: Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand… in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

 

Chapel Prayers

Christ is risen!

I hope you can engage in the singing, and also praying the Lord’s prayer together.

 

Here’s the sermon excerpt by St.  John Chrysostom I read toward the end:

“Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness. let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions.

It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered,for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory?Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.”