Prayers for the Easter Celebration (April 21-26, 2019)

(Portions of this Prayer are adapted from the Moravian Book of Worship Liturgy for Easter.  Used by permission of the Interprovincial Board of Communication)

The watchword for the week:
Why do you look for the living among the dead? Jesus is not here, but has risen. Luke 24:5

The Lord is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed!
Hail all hail victorious Lord and Savior
You have burst the bonds of death.
Joyful, we with one accord
Hail you as our risen Lord.

Psalm 118:1-2,14-24

1 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
14 The Lord is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.
15 There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;
16 the right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.”
17 I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.
18 The Lord has punished me severely, but he did not give me over to death.
19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it.
21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By God’s great mercy we are given new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.
Praise, honor, glory, and power to the One seated on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!
Jesus was handed over to death for our sins,
And was raised to new life for our justification.
Then what can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or hardship? Can persecution, hunger, nakedness, peril, or sword?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Christ, who loved us.
For we are convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor powers, nor heights, nor depths, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Now is a time for the reading of a scripture passage.  If you have a copy of the Moravian Daily Texts take time to read today’s texts now, but don’t rush over them as a task to be completed. These are the words that God would have you to cherish for this day. These are words that could transform your life if you allow them to.  So read slowly and deliberately.  Pause at words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit, for these are places where God might be speaking to you. When you have finished reading scriptures, take time to pray for the needs that you present toda:, for the needs of those you love, and for the needs of a hurting world.  May your time of prayer help you to clarify where God would want you to focus your energy. When you are ready continue with this prayer as follows:

As you taught your disciples to pray, so we pray together:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,
Your will be done, on earth as it is 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 forever. Amen.

What we are saying brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.
Nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
What is sown as perishable,
Is raised imperishable;
What is sown in dishonor,
Is raised in glory,
What is sown in weakness,
Is raised in power;
What is sown a physical body,
Is raised a spiritual body.
Then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: Death has been swallowed up in victory. Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,
Make us complete in everything good so that we may do your will, working among us all that is pleasing in your sight; through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

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Prayers for the Palm Sunday and Holy Week (April 14-20, 2019)

(Portions of this prayer are adapted from the Palm Sunday Liturgy in the Moravian Book of Worship)
We read the watchword for the week:
The Lord is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation. Psalm 118:14

We praise you, the Lord God of Israel! You came to the help of your people and have set them free.
You have shown the mercy promised to our ancestors and have remembered your holy covenant.
By your tender mercy you cause the bright dawn of salvation to rise on us,
To give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Psalm 118: 1-2, 19-29
O give thanks to God, for God is good;
God’s steadfast love endures forever!
Let Israel say,
    “God’s steadfast love endures forever.”
Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them  and give thanks to God.
This is the gate of God;
the righteous shall enter through it.
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 God’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that God has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we beseech you, O God!
   O God, we beseech you, give us success!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God.
We bless you from the house of God.
The Sovereign is God,
and God has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches,
up to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God, I will extol you.
O give thanks to God, for God is good,
for God’s steadfast love endures forever.

Confession of Sin

The voice of the messenger echoes from the desert, calling us to prepare the way of the Lord and make a straight path on which he may come. Let us confess our sins, so that our crooked ways will be made straight and the rough ways smooth.
Our sovereign Redeemer, we join with the people of Jerusalem offering our own shouts of praise and celebration at your coming. Although we often welcome you as did the multitude on Palm Sunday, we also have not always understood what that meant. We confess as well that we have stood with the condemning crowd on Good Friday with our thoughts, words, and actions crying “Crucify!” And like Peter we have, at times, denied our relationship with you through our silence. We turn to you for help and forgiveness, gracious Savior, not because we deserve it, but because you are forgiving. Save us from our sinful ways, and restore us to a life of loyalty to you. Amen. 

A silence is observed, giving each penitent the opportunity to reflect on their own particular shortcomings, and upon the gift of God’s grace.

Through John the Baptizer, we hear the Lord’s promise: Turn away from your sins, and God will forgive your sins.
Amen.

Now is a time for the reading of a scripture passage.  If you have a copy of the Moravian Daily Texts take time to read today’s texts now, but don’t rush over them as a task to be completed. These are the words that God would have you to cherish for this day. These are words that could transform your life if you allow them to.  So read slowly and deliberately.  Pause at words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit, for these are places where God might be speaking to you. When you have finished with your reading of scriptures, take time to pray for the needs that you present today, for the needs of those you love, and for the needs of a hurting world.  May your time of prayer help you to clarify where God would want you to focus your energy. When you are ready continue with this prayer as follows:

As you taught your disciples to pray, so we pray together:

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.

Almighty God, we are continually amazed at the way you turn the world upside down. For a Savior of the world we would have chosen a powerful prince,
But you chose a carpenter’s son born under questionable circumstances.
For disciples to help Jesus through his ministry we would have chosen well connected wealthy people of the upper class to bank roll the operation,
But you chose fishermen, a tax collector, and other such outcasts.
For a grand entrance into Jerusalem, we would have chosen a white Stallion,
But you chose a donkey.
When riding high in the polls on Palm Sunday we would have chosen to stay there as long as we could,
But you chose to clear the temple.
For a place of coronation we would have chosen a palace with a wonderfully decorated royal throne,
But you chose a cross.
For those whom we would want to have included in the kingdom of God we would have chosen those who look and sound like we do,
But you chose the world.
For people to show the love and grace extended to us in Jesus Christ we would have chosen somebody else,
But you chose each of us. Use us today. Amen.

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Prayers for the 5th Sunday in Lent (April 7-13, 2019)

The Watchword for the Week (from the Moravian Daily Texts)

Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

Loving God, from the busyness of this day,
Call us into your presence.
From the distractions of our lives,
Call us into your presence.
From the slumber into which our faith can fall,
Call us into your presence.
From the temptation of being trapped by the memories of yesterday,
Call us into your presence.

Psalm 126
When God restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
    and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
“God has done great things for them.”
God has done great things for us,
and we rejoiced.
Restore our fortunes, O God,
    like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing, 
shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves. 

Confession of Sin

In order that our hearts might be cleansed, we need to lift to God the sins which keep us from reaching the goal of a full relationship with God. Together, let us confess our sins:

Your ways are marvelous, O God. Your law is perfect, and your grace is boundless. We humbly ask for your forgiveness for the times when we have ignored your good intentions for us and instead have followed a short-sighted and misguided way of living. Forgive us for allowing the wistful memories of yesterday to cloud our vision for your work among us today. Give us courage then to set our faces toward the future. We ask that you create in us a clean heart, O God. Renew within us a true and right spirit with which we can stand before you without guilt or shame. Do not cast us away as we might deserve, but restore unto us the comforting presence of your Holy Spirit. Give us joyful hearts with which to serve our brothers and sisters, and your Church. 

Christ came into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world might be save through Him. We are forgiven and we have the promise of eternal life. Rejoice and give God praise.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen.

This now is a time for the reading of a scripture passage.  If you have a copy of the Moravian Daily Texts take time to read today’s texts now, but don’t rush over them as a task to be completed. These are the words that God would have you to cherish for this day. These are words that could transform your life if you allow them to.  So read slowly and deliberately.  Pause at words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit, for these are places where God might be speaking to you. When you have finished with your reading of scriptures, take time to pray for the needs that you present today, for the needs of those you love, and for the needs of a hurting world.  May your time of prayer help you to clarify where God would want you to focus your energy. When you are ready continue with this prayer as follows:

With one voice, we pray together:

Creator of all humanity, we call you Holy, and seek to worship you all the days of our lives. We pray that the ways of your heavenly kingdom may be made real in the world that surrounds us. May the bread that we need for today be made available for us and all who are hungry; and may you forgive us, just as we are able to forgive those who have sinned against us. In the time of moral testing, may we listen first for your voice calling to us, instead of the call of the world; take from us the self-centeredness of our society. This world, and all that is in it, always has been and always will be yours, Amen. 

Lord awaken us,
To see your presence with us in each moment.
Lord open our hearts,
To see the suffering of others.
Lord open our eyes,
To see the ways in which we can serve you this day.
Lord help us,
To see the value that we have in your great kingdom on earth.
Lord open our souls,
To accept the grace that you have already extended to us.
Lord make us aware,
Of how we can share your grace with those around us.
Lord awaken us,
To see the places that you are even now taking us.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
And whatever we do in word or deed, may we do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. AMEN.

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Prayers for the 4th Sunday in Lent (March 31-April 6, 2019)

The watchword for the week:
If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 2 Corinthians 5:17

This is the day the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
From the rising to the setting of the sun,
The name of the Lord be praised. 

Psalm 32
Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
Happy are those to whom God imputes no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
While I kept silence, my body wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not hide my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to God,”
and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you;
at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them.
You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.
I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not stay near you.
Many are the torments of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in God.
Be glad in God and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

Confession of Sin

Loving God, even though we have placed our trust in you, we have often betrayed this sacred relationship by living in such a way that has caused us to be separated from you and caused pain in the lives of others. Hear now our confessions as we seek to present ourselves honestly to you.

Almighty and most merciful Father, we have often wandered from you like lost sheep. More than we care to admit, we have followed the desires of our own hearts. We have ignored your will for us as well as your holy laws. As a result, the good that we know to do, we have not always done, and those things that we ought not to have done, we have done. We are truly sorry, and we humbly repent. Today we humbly ask that you create in us a clean heart, O God. Renew within us a true and right spirit with which we can stand before you without guilt or shame. Do not cast us away as we might deserve, but restore unto us the comforting presence of your Holy Spirit. Give us joyful hearts with which to serve our brothers and sisters, and your Church. 

A silence is observed, giving each penitent the opportunity to reflect on their own particular shortcomings, and upon the gift of God’s grace.

Christ died for our sins. We are forgiven and we have the promise of new life now and of eternal life in the world to come. Thanks be to God.
Amen.

This now is a time for the reading of a scripture passage.  If you have a copy of the Moravian Daily Texts take time to read today’s texts now, but don’t rush over them as a task to be completed. These are the words that God would have you to cherish for this day. These are words that could transform your life if you allow them to.  So read slowly and deliberately.  Pause at words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit, for these are places where God might be speaking to you. When you have finished with your reading of scriptures, take time to pray for the needs that you present today, for the needs of those you love, and for the needs of a hurting world.  May your time of prayer help you to clarify where God would want you to focus your energy. When you are ready continue with this prayer as follows:

As you taught your disciples to pray, so we pray together:

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.

Almighty God, we give you humble thanks for all your goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all whom you have made.
We thank you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your grace which gives us the gift of re-creation.
Loving God, come and make us new.
May we then respond with acts of loving kindness that might bring about social justice and new life for all. Amen.

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Prayers for the 3rd Sunday of Lent (March 24-30, 2019)

The watchword for the week:
Seek the Lord while he may be found,
call upon him while he is near. Isaiah 55:6

Christ invites us to come and worship
To rest from the things that are troubling us
To pray for the needs of those close us as well as for the needs of the world
To realize what we can offer to others
And so to return into the world to serve
Let us worship God.

Psalm 63:1-8
O God, you are my God,
   I seek you, my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
   I will lift up my hands and call on your name.
My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,
   and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
when I think of you on my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me. 

Confession of Sin
(from the Liturgy for Lent II in the Moravian Book of Worship, pages 78-79. Used by permission of the Interprovincial Board of Communication)

Lord Jesus, we come before you in humble confession. Help us conform our lives to you as the model for holy and righteous living.
Forgive us for our desire for personal greatness, for our attempts to make gods of ourselves, for our willingness to exalt ourselves at the expense of others, and for our resistance to serving one another as you have served us.
Forgive us for making light of your obedience and sacrifice on the cross by living an undisciplined and indifferent Christian witness; forgive us for yielding to fear rather than relying on your strength to take the risks of discipleship.
Forgive us, dear Jesus, for times we have not looked to you as our Lord, and for allowing the clamoring distractions of the world to become higher priorities than you. Forgive us for yielding more to the temptations of this world than being transformed by your lordship over our lives.
May the Holy Spirit empower us to accept the grace that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ offers to us today. Hear the words of our Lord, “Your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more.”
Let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, since as members of one body we were called to peace. And let us be thankful. 

Now is a time for the reading of a scripture passage.  If you have a copy of the Moravian Daily Texts take time to read today’s texts now, but don’t rush over them as a task to be completed. These are the words that God would have you to cherish for this day. These are words that could transform your life if you allow them to.  So read slowly and deliberately.  Pause at words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit, for these are places where God might be speaking to you. When you have finished with your reading of scriptures, take time to pray for the needs that you present today, for the needs of those you love, and for the needs of a hurting world.  May your time of prayer help you to clarify where God would want you to focus your energy. When you are ready continue with this prayer as follows:

As you taught your disciples to pray, so we pray together:
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.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours.
Now and for ever. Amen

And now, most merciful God, we ask you to continue extending your grace and favor towards us;
May we take time each day to seek you with our whole heart.
Let your truth abide and be established among us forever.
Help our unbelief, increase our faith, give us hearts to consider your many gifts to us.
In faith clothe us with Christ, that he may live in us,
And your name may be glorified in us, in the sight of all the world.
Christ, and him crucified,
Remain our confession of faith. Amen.

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Prayers for the 2nd Week in Lent (March 17-23, 2019)

The Watchword for the Week:  The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? Psalm 27:1

Incline your ear to the Lord and come to him. Listen that you may live.
Today let us seek after the Lord.
Let us put aside our busy lives for just this moment,
And let us return to the Lord that he may have mercy on us, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Psalm 27
God is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
God is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh—
my adversaries and foes— they shall stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear.
Though war rise up against me,
yet I will be confident.
One thing I asked of God, that will I seek after:
to live in the house of God all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of God, and to inquire in God’s temple.
For God will hide me in God’s shelter in the day of trouble;
God will conceal me under the cover of God’s tent;
God will set me high on a rock.
Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around meand I will offer in God’s tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to God.
Hear, O God, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me!
“Come,” my heart says, “seek God’s face!”
Your face, O God, do I seek.
Do not hide your face from me.
Do not turn your servant away in anger,
you who have been my help.
Do not cast me off, do not forsake me,
   O God of my salvation!
If my father and mother forsake me,
God will take me up. Teach me your way, O God,
and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.
Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries,
   for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they are breathing out violence.
I believe that I shall see the goodness of God
in the land of the living.
Wait for God; be strong, let your heart take courage;
wait for God!

Confession of Sin
(Adapted from the Liturgy for Lent I in the Moravian Book of Worship.  Used with permission of the IBOC)

Lord Jesus, we come before you in humble confession. Help us conform our lives to you as the model for holy and righteous living.

Forgive us Lord
From the sin of unbelief. (pause)
Forgive us Lord
From all defilement of the body and spirit. (pause)
Forgive us Lord
From all self-righteousness. (pause)
Forgive us Lord
From every neglect of our duty. (pause)
Forgive us Lord
From ingratitude and selfishness.
Forgive us Lord
From lukewarmness. (pause)
Forgive us Lord
From all indifference to your meritorious life and death. (pause) 

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Joel 2:12-12
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. AMEN. 

This is a time for the reading of a scripture passage.  If you have a copy of the Moravian Daily Texts take time to read today’s texts now, but don’t rush over them as a task to be completed. These are the words that God would have you to cherish for this day. These are words that could transform your life if you allow them to.  So read slowly and deliberately.  Pause at words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit, for these are places where God might be speaking to you. When you have finished with your reading of scriptures, take time to pray for the needs that you present today, for the needs of those you love, and for the needs of a hurting world.  May your time of prayer help you to clarify where God would want you to focus your energy. When you are ready continue with this prayer as follows:

As you taught your disciples to pray, so we pray together:

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.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours.
Now and for ever. Amen

Be a light unto our paths gracious God.
Guide our steps, our hearts, and the decisions of our daily lives.
Christ, and him crucified,
Remain our confession of faith. Amen.

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Prayers for the 1st Sunday in Lent (March 10-16, 2019)

Watchword for the Week:
No one who believes in Christ will be put to shame. Romans 10:11

In this Lenten season, Loving God, you call us to a time of reflection and contemplation.
This is a time to ponder where our wandering steps have separated us from you.
This is a time to consider all of who we are, and where you want us to be.
This is a time to establish a proper relationship with you.
O Lord, we want to be upright in heart.
May your comforting spirit allow us to unburden our souls. 

Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16
You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to God,
“My refuge and my fortress;
   my God, in whom I trust.”
Because you have made the Lord your refuge,
the Most High your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.
For God will command God’s angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
   so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder,
the young lion and the serpent
you will trample under foot.
Those who love me, I will deliver;
   I will protect those who know my name.
When they call to me, I will answer them;
   I will be with them in trouble,
I will rescue them and honor them.
With long life I will satisfy them,
and show them my salvation.

Confession of Sin

If we confess our sins God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. In full assurance of faith, let us confess our sins.

Gracious God, this season of Holy Lent calls us home to you. As we have wandered in our spiritual lives we now hear your invitation to return to you. As such, Lent challenges us to look within ourselves and examine the priorities in our lives, as well as the ways in which those priorities have influenced our choices. Loving God, we easily see that our ways are not your ways, and for that we are sorry and we seek to repent. Your ways are loving and gracious, yet we nurse selfish attitudes and practice only a selective distribution of grace.  We seek to have you know us, so that we in turn, might know our true selves. We trust, O Lord, in your steadfast love. 

The good news in Christ is that when we face ourselves and God with the awareness of our need we are given grace to grow and courage to continue the journey.
Friends, believe the good news of the Gospel.
In Jesus Christ we are forgiven! Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. AMEN. 

This a time for the reading of a scripture passage.  If you have a copy of the Moravian Daily Texts take time to read today’s texts now, but don’t rush over them as a task to be completed. These are the words that God would have you to cherish for this day. These are words that could transform your life if you allow them to.  So read slowly and deliberately.  Pause at words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit, for these are places where God might be speaking to you. When you have finished with your reading of scriptures, take time to pray for the needs that you present today, for the needs of those you love, and for the needs of a hurting world.  May your time of prayer help you to clarify where God would want you to focus your energy. When you are ready continue with this prayer as follows:

Let us pray together:

Our Father in heaven, holy is 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 forever. Amen. 

Throughout this Lenten journey, let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. 

We thank you, Lord Jesus, not only for the privilege of believing in you, but of suffering for you as well, so that we may also be glorified with you.

Let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, since as members of the body we were called to peace. And let us be thankful.

Let the word of Christ dwell in us richly as we teach and admonish one another with all wisdom. Whatever we do, therefore, whether in word or deed, let us do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Amen.

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