“For Thy church that evermore lifteth holy hands above, offering up on every shore her pure sacrifice of love.…”
—Folliott Sandford Pierpoint, 1864
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 Romans 10:8, 13
The word of God is near to us.
Call on the Lord and you will be saved.
Prayer Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali, 450-505
Praise be to him who alone is to be praised. Praise him for his grace and favor. Praise him for his power and goodness. Praise him whose knowledge encompasses all things.
O God, grant me light in my heart and light in my tomb, light in my hearing and light in my seeing, light in my flesh, light in my blood and light in my bones.
Light before me, light behind me, light to the right of me, light to the left of me, light above me, light beneath me.
O God, increase my light and give me the greatest light of all. Of thy mercy grant me light, O thou most merciful.
Hymn of the Day
Shalom, by Dan Forest, sung by National Avenue Christian Church. Listen and pray.
Reading of the Day Mark 1:9-15
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
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, and of course for all those who have been affected by the devastating winter storms. Please continue to pray for Marcy Szeliga and for Mark Sabala, both working as nurses with Covid patients. Pray for medical examiners, that they would have patience and diligence in working through the backlog of cases. Pray for the family of Mary James, who died of Covid and other health problems; Mary was Mark Downs’ boss and the owner of Essential Hospice. As we hear of more friends who are directly affected, or who are working in high risk places, we will list them here. Use this time to lift your joys, concerns, and hopes to God.
May the Spirit of the triune God
strengthen and sustain you,
all throughout these forty days
and into the life that is to come. Amen.
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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.