“My heart shall bloom forever for You with praises new…”
—-Paul Gerhardt, 1653
Preparation for worship
Sit in a relaxed position. Take a slow, deep breath (or 2 or 3 or as many as needed) until you feel your body, mind, and soul begin to relax and rest in the Spirit. Take time to reflect as you move through this time of worship…
Opening Sentences Isaiah 56:1
Maintain justice, and do what is right.
God our Savior is coming soon.
Prayer The Worshipbook, PC(USA), 1970
In Jesus Christ, O God, you were despised and rejected by others. Watch over people who are different, who cannot copy well-worn customs, or put on popular styles of life. If they are left out because narrow people fear different ways, help us to welcome them into the wider love of Jesus Christ, brother of us all. Amen.
Hymn of the Day
Silent Night, by Dinah Washington. Listen and pray.
Reading of the Day Philippians 4:1-9
1 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.
2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Prayers for self and others
Please pray today for those who are being affected by COVID-19 and by its side effects in our world. Pray for the thousands who are still being diagnosed positive in the U.S. each day, for Denie and her husband; for Cindy and Eddye Stelchek; for Susan Smith’s brother-in-law John, who is still hospitalized with the virus after five weeks, and for Susan’s sister, who can’t visit him, for Delphine Zarsky’s niece’s family; for Becky’s friend Vanessa, whose husband died from the virus; and for Gloria Thomas’s granddaughter Lauren and her friend Seth— both diagnosed positive. As we hear of more friends who are directly affected, or who are working in high risk places, we will list them here. Pray today for a real sense of Christ entering our world once again— that you would glimpse the grace, the kindness, and the love around you in daily life. Use this time to lift your joys, concerns, and hopes to God.
May the God of peace make you holy
and the power of the Spirit sustain you
until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Alleluia!
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Becky Downs, pastor of John Knox, started writing daily prayers for the congregation at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, to encourage the congregation in their faith during their time of separation from each other. The daily prayers were posted throughout the year. You might want to choose one a day to read, and modify the specific prayers for self and others to fit your life today.