Prayers for Palm Sunday and Holy Week (March 20-26, 2016)

(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.

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 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 who 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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About Daily Prayers for Moravians

My name is Chris Giesler and I am blessed to be serving as Pastor of the Emmaus Moravian Church in Emmaus, PA. I am also privileged to serve as a Bishop of the world wide Moravian Unity. If you are ever in the area I would invite you to drop by for a visit. Please see our congregation's church web site at www.emmausmoravian.org. I live in Bethlehem, PA with my wife Tina. Our daughter, Martha, is a Moravian College graduate now teaching high school math. She is married to Matt, and now living in Harrisburg, PA. We also love being grand-parents to Addison (an inquisitive 6-year old) and Michael (an active 3-year old) and a new-born, Riley, who belong to our son Andrew, and his wife Amy.
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