Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Paleo-Orthodoxy: An Early Christian Morning Prayer Service

The following is a reconstruction of an early Christian morning prayer service (Prime) gleaned from the Apostolic Constitutions. I have added the singing of hymns to make the service more fully functional and inclusive of the congregation. The prescribed prayers could, if the presbyter prefers, be replaced with the offering of personal prayer. Prime should ideally be observed during the First Hour; that is, 6 a.m. However, it may be observed as late as 8 a.m. At the beginning of Prime (Morning Prayer), everyone shall read the Psalm at the presbyters prompting; the candles being lit upon the Holy Table and incense burning. The presbyter then begins the service with the recitation of the following Psalm.

Psalm 62
For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
How long will all of you attack a man
to batter him,
like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths,
but inwardly they curse. Selah
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah
Those of low estate are but a breath;
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.
Put no trust in extortion;
set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, set not your heart on them.
Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man
according to his work.

A Hymn is sung.

Opening Prayer (The presbyter may also ask for prayer requests and offer a personal prayer for each. Then he should offer the following corporate prayer.)
Presbyter: Glory be to God in the highest; and upon earth, peace and goodwill among men. We praise you, we sing to you, we bless you, we glorify you, and we worship you, through Jesus Christ; you who are the true God, the one God, the Almighty. Hear our prayers, you who are enthroned above the Cherubim and who takes away the sins of the world. You we worship, Heavenly Father, together with Jesus our Savior, and the Holy Spirit, forever. Amen.

A Hymn is sung.

Closing Prayer (A personal closing prayer may  be offered if preferred.)
Presbyter: Heavenly Father, Creator of the universe, who has given the sun to rule over day, and the moon and stars to rule over the night; we ask you to look upon us with eyes of mercy, and be blessed in our morning thanksgiving; for we do not accept false gods, but stretch out our hands to you alone, the Eternal God; who has given us Life through Christ, and our well-being through Him. May all glory, and honor and worship be to you, through Him, and to the Holy Spirit, forever. Amen.

Deacon: Let us kneel, bowing our heads for the blessing.

The Blessing
Presbyter: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. -Numbers 6:24-26

Deacon: Depart in peace.

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