Morning Prayer for the First Thursday of Lent

First, a Few Notes

The title of this liturgy may be confusing, since Lent began last week on Ash Wednesday. However, for ease of following along, I’m counting the days based on full weeks beginning on Sundays.

**For some thoughts on how to use this liturgy well, go here. 

♰ indicates an invitation to make the sign of the cross

✙ indicates an invitation to make the sign of the cross, followed by bow

☦ indicates an invitation to make the sign of the cross, followed by a prostration

Words that are in italic font are addressed to saints and others who Scripture tells us are in the heavenly throne room with the Triune God, most often Mary (the Theotokos). Our communion with them is real, and addressing them is no worse than pausing one’s prayer to talk to another person. If anything, it’s better. Nevertheless, I know some still have scruples concerning this practice, and so the use of italic font makes passing over these prayers easier for those wanting to do so.

Let Us Pray

Remembrance of Baptism

♰ In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Glory to You, our God. Glory to You.

We Call Upon Our Lord

In you, O Lord, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
incline your ear to me and save me.
Be to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of the unjust and cruel.
For you, O Lord, are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, from my youth.

Trisagion Prayers

✙ Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal! Have mercy on us.
✙ Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal! Have mercy on us.
✙ Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal! Have mercy on us.

♰ Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us!
O Lord, cleanse us from our sins!
O Master, pardon our transgressions
O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Your Name’s sake.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

♰ Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

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 sins, as we forgive those who sin against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

For Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory,
of the ♰ Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

We are Called to Worship

Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites;
for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners,
so that they may be seen by others.
Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.
But whenever you pray, go into your room
and shut the door
and pray to your Father who is in secret;
and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Hymn – Martin Luther, 16th century.

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

♰ Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Trisagion Prayers

✙ Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal! Have mercy on us.
✙ Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal! Have mercy on us.
✙ Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal! Have mercy on us.

♰ Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us!
O Lord, cleanse us from our sins!
O Master, pardon our transgressions
O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Your Name’s sake.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

♰ Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

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 sins, as we forgive those who sin against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

For Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory,
of the ♰ Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Remembrance of the Holy and Life-giving Cross

O Lord, save Your people and bless Your inheritance.
Grant victory unto faithful Christians over their enemies,
and by the power of Your Cross preserve Your commonwealth.

♰ Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

O You Who was lifted up willingly upon the Cross,
bestow Your mercies upon the new community named after You, O Christ God;
gladden with Your power all faithful Christians,
granting them victory over enemies;
may they have as Your help the weapon of peace, the invincible trophy.

Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

O Awesome intercession that cannot be put to shame,
O good one,
disdain not our prayer;
O all-hymned Theotokos,
establish the commonwealth of the Church,
save the faithful Christians,
and grant unto them victory from heaven,
for you did bring forth God, O only blessed one.

Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.

♰ Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Do not remember against us the iniquities of our ancestors;
Let your compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low.
Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name;
Deliver us, and forgive our sins, for your name’s sake.

Morning Psalm – Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked advance against me
to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.

One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.

Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.

Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, I will seek.
Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
God my Savior.
Though my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will receive me.
Teach me your way, Lord;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
spouting malicious accusations.

I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.

♰ Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.

♰ Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Encountering the Risen Christ

God is the Lord and has revealed Himself to us!
Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and His steadfast love endures forever.
God is the Lord and has revealed Himself to us!
Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!

All nations surrounded me; in the Name of the Lord, I withstood them.
God is the Lord and has revealed Himself to us!
Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!

I shall not die, but live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.
God is the Lord and has revealed Himself to us!
Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!

The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing and is marvelous in marvelous in our eyes.
God is the Lord and has revealed Himself to us!
Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!

Remembrance of the Day: Thursday – The Holy Apostles

O holy Apostles,
Intercede with our merciful God
To grant our souls forgiveness of our sins!

We know the Word of the Father, even Christ our God, to be incarnate of you, O virgin

Theotokos, O only pure one, O only blessed one. Wherefore, we magnify you, praising you unceasingly.

(Additional Psalms May be Read Here)

Short Verse Thursday (From Psalm 19)

Their proclamation has gone out into all the earth and their words to the end of the uni- verse!
The heavens are telling the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims His handiwork.

Preparing to Read the Scriptures

Take away, O Lord, the veil of my heart while I read the scriptures.

Old Testament Reading

Deuteronomy 9:23-10:5

Epistle Reading

Hebrews 4:1-10

Gospel Reading

John 3:16-21

Prayer of Penitence: Psalm 51

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.

Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which You have broken may rejoice.

Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with Your generous Spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.

Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise.

For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart –– these, O God, You will not despise,

Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; build the walls of Jerusalem.

Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and

whole burnt offering; then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.

♰ Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Exhortation to Continue Our Lenten Disciplines

Receive Lent with gladness, O people!
The beginning of spiritual warfare arrives.
Forsake the indulgences of your flesh
that the gifts of the Spirit may abound in you.
Embrace your share of suffering, O soldiers of Christ!
Prove yourselves to be children of God!
The Holy Spirit will abide in you
and your souls will be filled with light.

(At this point, time may be taken to remember saints of the Church or to read other devotional material.)

Honoring her with hymns, Let us magnify the Theotokos, the Mother of Light:
More honorable than the cherubim
And more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim!
Without corruption you gave birth to God the Word.
True Theotokos, we magnify you!

We Sing with Mary

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.

For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with His arm;
he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent away empty.

He has helped His servant Israel,
in remembrance of His mercy,
as He spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his seed forever.

Psalm of Praise: Psalm 147:12-20

Extol the Lord, Jerusalem;
praise your God, Zion.

He strengthens the bars of your gates
and blesses your people within you.
He grants peace to your borders
and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.

He sends his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
He spreads the snow like wool
and scatters the frost like ashes.
He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
Who can withstand his icy blast?
He sends his word and melts them;
he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.

He has revealed his word to Jacob,
his laws and decrees to Israel.
He has done this for no other nation;
they do not know his laws.

Praise the Lord.

♰ Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Canticle: The Lesser Doxology

Glory to God, Who has shown us the Light!

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men!

We praise You! We bless You! We worship You!
We glorify You and give thanks to You for Your great glory!
O Lord God, Heavenly King, God the Father Almighty!

O Lord, the Only-Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit!
O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Fa- ther, Who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us!
You, Who take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer!
You, Who sit on the right hand of God the Father, have mercy on us!

For You alone are holy, and You alone are Lord. You alone, O Lord Jesus Christ, are most high in the glory of God the Father! Amen!

I will give thanks to You every day and praise Your Name forever and ever.
Lord, You have been our refuge from generation to generation!
I said, “Lord, have mercy on me. Heal my Soul, for I have sinned against You!”
Lord, I flee to You. Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. For with You is the fountain of Life, and In Your light shall we see light. Continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You.

Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin.
Blessed are You, O Lord, the God of our fathers, and praised and glorified is Your Name for ever. Amen.

Let Your mercy be upon us, O Lord, even as we have set our hope on You.
Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes.
Blessed are You, O Master; make me to understand Your commandments.
Blessed are You, O Holy One; enlighten me with Your precepts.
Your mercy endures for ever, O Lord! Do not despise the works of Your hands!
To You belongs worship, to You belongs praise, to You belongs glory: to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life,
Keep from me the spirit if indifference
And discouragement,
Lust of power, and idle chatter.

Instead, grant to me, Your servant,
The spirit of wholeness of being,
Humble-mindedness, patience, and love.

O Lord and King,
Grant me the grace to be aware of my sins
And not to judge my brother and sister,
For You are blessed,
Now and ever and forever. Amen.

Dismissal

Confirm, O God, the holy Christian Faith unto ages of ages! Amen.
Glory to You, O Christ, our God and our hope, glory to You!

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

In your loving kindness,
Lord, look favorably on the devotion of your people.
Grant that, as by abstaining from food they impoverish their bodies,
so by abounding in good works they may enrich their souls.
Amen.

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