Thursday evening December 15

Friday evening
Wednesday evening


Opening response

Favor us, Lord, and deliver us.
Lord, come quickly and help us.

Reveal among us the light of your presence
that we may behold your power and glory.

Prayer of thanksgiving

Blessed are you, Sovereign God,
creator of light and darkness,
to you be glory and praise forever.
As evening falls, you renew your promise
to reveal among us the light of your presence.
May your word be a lantern to our feet
and a light upon our path
that we may behold your coming among us.
Strengthen us in our stumbling weakness
and free our tongues to sing your praise.
Blessed be God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God forever.

That this evening may be holy, good and peaceful,
let us pray with one heart and mind.

Silence is kept.

As our evening prayer rises before you, O God,
so may your mercy come down upon us
to cleanse our hearts
and set us free to sing your praise
now and forever.


Inspirer of the ancient seers

Charles Wesley
Inspirer of the ancient seers
Who wrote from thee the sacred page,
The same through all succeeding years;
To us, in our degenerate age,
The spirit of thy word impart,
And breathe the life into our heart.

While now thine oracles we read
With earnest prayer and strong desire,
O let thy Spirit from thee proceed,
Our souls to awaken and inspire,
Our weakness help, our darkness chase,
And guide us by the light of grace.

Whenever in error’s path we rove,
The living God through sin forsake,
Our conscience by thy word reprove,
Convince and bring the wanderers back,
Deep wounded by thy Spirit’s sword,
And then by Gilead’s balm restored.

The sacred lessons of thy grace,
Transmitted through thy word, repeat,
And train us up in all thy ways
To make us in thy will complete;
Fulfill thy love’s redeeming plan,
And bring us to a perfect man.

Thus furnished from thy treasury,
O may we always ready stand
To help the souls redeemed by thee,
In what their various states demand
To teach, convince, correct, reprove,
And build them up in holiest love!

Confession of sin

Come, Holy Spirit of God,
and search our hearts with the light of Christ.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said:
The first commandment is this:
‘Israel, listen! Our God is the one Lord,
and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your being, with all your mind,
and with all your strength.’

The second is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’
No other commandment is greater than these.
All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.

Amen. Lord, have mercy.

After a period of reflection

Come, let us return to the Lord and say:

Lord our God,
in our sin we have avoided your call.
Our love for you is like a morning cloud,
like the dew that goes away early.
Have mercy on us;
deliver us from judgment;
bind up our wounds and revive us;
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

cf Hosea 6

May almighty God,
who sent his Son into the world to save sinners,
bring us his pardon and peace, now and forever.

The Word of God

Psalm 44

We glory in God at all times.

We have heard it, God, with our own ears;
    our ancestors told us about it:
        about the deeds you did in their days,
        in days long past.
You, by your own hand, removed all the nations,
        but you planted our ancestors.
    You crushed all the peoples,
        but you set our ancestors free.
No, not by their own swords
    did they take possession of the land—
        their own arms didn’t save them.
    No, it was your strong hand, your arm,
    and the light of your face
        because you were pleased with them.
It’s you, God! You who are my king,
    the one who orders salvation for Jacob.
We’ve pushed our foes away by your help;
    we’ve trampled our enemies by your name.
No, I won’t trust in my bow;
    my sword won’t save me
    because it’s you who saved us from our foes,
    you who put those who hate us to shame.
So we glory in God at all times
    and give thanks to your name forever.
But now you’ve rejected and humiliated us.
    You no longer accompany our armies.
You make us retreat from the enemy;
    our adversaries plunder us.
You’ve handed us over like sheep for butchering;
    you’ve scattered us among the nations.
You’ve sold your people for nothing,
    not even bothering to set a decent price.
You’ve made us a joke to all our neighbors;
    we’re mocked and ridiculed by everyone around us.
You’ve made us a bad joke to the nations,
    something to be laughed at by all peoples.
All day long my disgrace confronts me,
    and shame covers my face
    because of the voices of those
    who make fun of me and bad-mouth me,
        because of the enemy who is out for revenge.
All this has come upon us,
    but we haven’t forgotten you
    or broken your covenant.
Our hearts haven’t turned away,
    neither have our steps strayed from your way.
But you’ve crushed us in the place where jackals live,
    covering us with deepest darkness.
If we had forgotten the name of our God
    or spread out our hands to some strange deity,
wouldn’t God have discovered it?
    After all, God knows every secret of the heart.
No, God, it’s because of you that we are getting killed every day—
    it’s because of you that we are considered sheep ready for slaughter.
Wake up! Why are you sleeping, Lord?
    Get up! Don’t reject us forever!
Why are you hiding your face,
    forgetting our suffering and oppression?
Look: we’re going down to the dust;
    our stomachs are flat on the ground!
Stand up! Help us!
    Save us for the sake of your faithful love.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen.

We glory in God at all times.

Psalm prayer

In the darkness of unknowing,
when your love seems absent,
draw near to us, O God,
in Christ forsaken,
in Christ risen,
our Redeemer and our Lord.

Old Testament reading
Zephaniah 1:1-2:3

The Lord’s word that came to Zephaniah, Cushi’s son, Gedaliah’s grandson, Amariah’s great-grandson, and Hezekiah’s great-great-grandson in the days of Judah’s King Josiah, Amon’s son.

I will wipe out everything from the earth, says the Lord.
        I will destroy humanity and the beasts;
        I will destroy the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea.
        I will make the wicked into a heap of ruins;
        I will eliminate humanity from the earth, says the Lord.

I will stretch out my hand against Judah
        and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
I will eliminate what’s left of Baal from this place
        and the names of the priests of foreign gods,
        those bowing down to the forces of heaven on the rooftops,
            those swearing by the Lord along with those swearing by Milcom,
        those turning away from the Lord,
            those who don’t seek the Lord and don’t pursue him.

Hush before the Lord God,
        for the day of the Lord is near!
        The Lord has established a sacrifice;
            he has made holy those he has summoned.
On the day of the Lord’s sacrifice,
        I will punish the princes, the king’s sons,
            and all those wearing foreign clothes.
I will punish the one leaping on the threshold on that day,
            those filling the house of their master with violence and deceit.
On that day—says the Lord—
        an outcry will resound from the Fish Gate,
        wailing from the second quarter,
        a loud crash from the hills.
The ones who grind the grain will wail;
        all the merchants will be silenced.
        I will eliminate all those weighing out silver.
At that time, I will search Jerusalem with lamps;
        I will punish the men growing fat on the sediment in their wine,
            those saying to themselves, The Lord won’t do good or evil.
        Their wealth will be looted and their houses destroyed.
        They will rebuild houses, but not live in them;
        they will plant vineyards, but not drink the wine.
The great day of the Lord is near;
        it is near and coming very quickly.
The sound of the day of the Lord is bitter.
        A warrior screams there.
That day is a day of fury,
        a day of distress and anxiety,
        a day of desolation and devastation,
        a day of darkness and gloominess,
        a day of clouds and deep darkness,
        a day for blowing the trumpet and alarm against their invincible cities
            and against their high towers.
I will make humanity suffer;
            they will walk like the blind
            because they sinned against the Lord.
        Their blood will be poured out like dust
        and their intestines like manure.
Moreover, their silver and their gold won’t be able to deliver them
        on the day of the Lord’s fury.
His jealousy will devour the entire land with fire;
        he will make an end,
            a truly horrible one,
        for all the inhabitants of the land.

Gather together and assemble yourselves, shameless nation,
        before the decision is made—the day vanishes like chaff—
            before the burning anger of the Lord comes against you,
            before the day of the Lord’s anger comes against you.
Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land who practice his justice;
        seek righteousness;
        seek humility.
        Maybe you will be hidden on the day of the Lord’s anger.

Silence may be kept.

New Testament reading
Matthew 17:22-27

When the disciples came together in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Human One is about to be delivered over into human hands. They will kill him. But he will be raised on the third day.” And they were heartbroken.

When they came to Capernaum, the people who collected the half-shekel temple tax came to Peter and said, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?”

“Yes,” he said.

But when they came into the house, Jesus spoke to Peter first.“What do you think, Simon? From whom do earthly kings collect taxes, from their children or from strangers?”

“From strangers,” he said.

Jesus said to him, “Then the children don’t have to pay. But just so we don’t offend them, go to the lake, throw out a fishing line and hook, and take the first fish you catch. When you open its mouth, you will find a shekel coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us.”

Silence may be kept.

Gospel canticle
The Magnificat (The Song of Mary)

Lord Jesus, you are the one who is to come, the one whom we await with longing hearts.

With all my heart I glorify the Lord!
In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior.
He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant.
Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored
because the mighty one has done great things for me.
Holy is his name.
He shows mercy to everyone,
from one generation to the next,
who honors him as God.
He has shown strength with his arm.
He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations.
He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones
and lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty-handed.
He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
remembering his mercy,
just as he promised to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever.

Luke 1:46-55

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen.

Lord Jesus, you are the one who is to come, the one whom we await with longing hearts.

Brief silence.

The Apostle’s Creed

Let us unite in this historic confession of the Christian faith:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.


Thanksgiving and intercession

Thanksgiving may be made for the day.

Intercessions are offered
for peace
for individuals and their needs

Other intercessions and supplications may be offered as the Holy Spirit leads.


Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer.

Silence may be kept.

Collect of the day

O Lord Jesus Christ,
who at your first coming sent your messenger
to prepare your way before you:
grant that the ministers and stewards of your mysteries
may likewise so prepare and make ready your way
by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just,
that at your second coming to judge the world
we may be found an acceptable people in your sight;
for you are alive and reign with the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.          

The Lord’s Prayer

Awaiting his coming in glory,
as our Savior taught us, so we pray

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 forever.


May the Lord, when he comes, find us watching and waiting.