Hours of Prayer

 

These simple services for Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer are based on ancient traditions that originate in the daily prayer of the Jewish community and the early centuries of the church. You may use these prayers at home, or with a small group of friends, or at the beginning or close of meetings in your congregation. Daily psalms and readings can be found in The New Century Psalter, the UCC Calendar of Prayer and the Stillspeaking Daily Devotional.

 

Morning

O God, open my lips
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore me to the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit.

PSALM

The Book of Psalms was the "daily prayer book" for both the ancient Jewish community and the followers of Jesus. They were used as prayers and songs of praise, not as readings. A simple schedule for praying with the psalms is provided in The New Century Psalter. You may wish to read the psalm slowly and meditatively, pausing between verses.

READING FROM THE BIBLE

A short reading reading from the Bible may be followed by silence. Look at our article on Lectio Divina for ideas on how you can read the Bible meditatively.

PRAYERS

This is a good time to pray for your own needs, those of your family and friends, for the community, and for the world. You may sum up your prayers with the Lord's Prayer, in any version you prefer.

PRAYER OF OUR SAVIOR (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.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

O God, I give you hearty thanks for the rest of the past night and for the gift of a new day, with all its opportunities of pleasing you. Grant that I may so pass its hours in the perfect freedom of your service, that at eventide I may again give thanks unto you; through Jesus Christ our Sovereign. Amen.

or this

Almighty and everlasting God, our Sovereign, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day: defend me in the same with your mighty power; and grant that this day I fall into no sin, nor run into any kind of danger, but that all my doings, ordered by your governance, may be righteous in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

Evening

A lamp or candle may be lit. In early Christian worship lamps were lighted as a hymn was sung to Christ, the radiant light. If a lamp or candle is not used, devotions may begin with "O God, come to my aid...."

FOR THE LIGHTING OF LAMPS

Jesus Christ is the light of the world.
The light shines in the deepest night, and the night did not overcome it.
Stay with me now, for it is evening,
and the day is almost over.
Let your light disperse the shadows
and shine within me here.

The following hymn, Phos Hilaron ("Joyous Light"), may be said or sung.

O joyful Light,
glory of the eternal God in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
O joyful Light,
glory of the eternal God in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!

Now as we come to the setting of the sun
and our eyes behold the fading light,
we sing praises to the triune God forever.

O joyful Light,
glory of the eternal God in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!

You are worthy at all times
to be praised by happy voices,
O Child of God, O Giver of life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.

O joyful Light,
glory of the eternal God in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!

O God, come to my aid.
Hear my voice when I cry to you.

PSALM

The Book of Psalms was the "daily prayer book" for both the ancient Jewish community and the followers of Jesus. They were used as prayers and songs of praise, not as readings. A simple schedule for praying with the psalms is provided in The New Century Psalter. You may wish to read the psalm slowly and meditatively, pausing between verses.

READING FROM THE BIBLE

A short reading reading from the Bible may be followed by silence. Look at our article on Lectio Divina for ideas on how you can read the Bible meditatively.

PRAYERS

This is a good time to pray for your own needs, those of your family and friends, for the community, and for the world. The prayers are summed by with the Lord's Prayer, in any version you prefer.

THE PRAYER OF OUR SAVIOR (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.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

O God, support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in your mercy grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last, through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

or this

Most holy God, the source of all good desires, all right judgments, and all just works: Give us us, your servants, that peace which the world cannot give, so that our minds may be fixed on the doing of your will, and that we, being delivered from the fear of all enemies, may live in peace and quietness; through the mercies of Christ Jesus our Savior. Amen.

"Daily Devotions for Individual and Family Use" are from The New Century Psalter, Copyright © 1999 The Pilgrim Press. All rights reserved. Used by permission. To order The New Century Psalter, call United Church Resources at 1-800-537-3394. 

 

 

Art by Dr. He Qi

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