Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Lent Is Here & Needed | Compline Prayer in the Darkness

Most remarkable and profound are the ancient Church’s evening (ex. compline) prayers that when our eyes are closed in sleep God may nevertheless keep our hearts awake. It is the prayer that God may dwell with us and in us even though we are unconscious of His presence, that He may keep our hearts pure and holy in spite of all the cares and temptations of the night, to make our hearts ever alert to hear His call and, like the boy Samuel, answer Him even in the night: 'Speak, Lord; for Thy servant heareth' (1 Samuel 3:9). + Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

Compline means "to complete;" to close the day with worship, quiet, and a posture of receiving. Below is what a 15-minute time of prayer and reflection for Lent can be like during the evenings based on historic Church compline liturgies featuring Psalm 4, 91, and/or 134. There will be quiet, call and response, a song and blessings, as well as some time of intercession as we ask Jesus to come as the Light in our darkness. 


The leader will light three candles. If you would like to, please also light three candles or a single candle at home.

One: We light a light in the name of the Maker, who lit the world and breathed the breath of life in us. We light a light in the name of the Son who saved the world and stretched out His hand to us. We light a light in the name of the Spirit who encompasses the world and blesses our souls with longing. We will light three lights for the Trinity of Love ...
All: God above us, God beside us, God beneath us, the beginning, the end. The everlasting One. Amen.

One: The LORD almighty grant us a peaceful night and a healing end to this day. Our help is in the name of the LORD who made heaven and earth.
All: Come, Lord Jesus. Come.

Exaltation Hymn
Sing 2nd Verse of Doxology by Thomas Ken, 1659 A.D.

Glory to Thee my God this night 
For all the blessings of the Light. 
Keep me, O, keep me King of kings 
Under the shadow of Thy wings.

One: Calm us, O Lord, as You stilled the storm. Still us, O Lord, keep us from harm. Let all the tumult within us cease.
All: Enfold us, Lord, in Your peace.

We repent of the wrongs we have done: 
Period of Silent Confession

One: We have wounded Your love.
All: O God, heal us.

One: We stumble in the darkness.
All: Light of the world, transfigure us.

One: We forget that You are our home.
All: Spirit of God, dwell in us.

One: Most merciful God, we confess to You, before the whole company of heaven and one another, that we have sinned in thought, word and deed. 
All: Forgive us our sins, heal us by Your Spirit and raise us to new life in Christ. Amen.

One: O God, make speed to save us. O Lord, make haste to help us.
All: Glory to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever. Amen.

Psalmody: 4, 91 or 134

Psalm 4:1 Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness; You set me at liberty when I was in trouble; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

2 How long will you nobles dishonour my glory; how long will you love vain things and seek after falsehood?

3 But know that the LORD has shown me His marvelous kindness; when I call upon the Lord, He will hear me.

4 Stand in awe, and sin not; commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.

5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness and put your trust in the LORD.

6 There are many that say, ‘Who will show us any good?’ Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.

7 You have put gladness in my heart, more than when their corn and wine and oil increase.

8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for it is You LORD, only, who make me dwell in safety. 
All: Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever. Amen.


Psalm 91:1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High and abides under the shadow of the Almighty,

2 Shall say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my stronghold, my God, in whom I put my trust.’

3 For He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.

4 He shall cover you with His wings and you shall be safe under His feathers; His faithfulness shall be your shield and buckler.

5 You shall not be afraid of any terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day;

6 Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor of the sickness that destroys at noonday.

7 Though a thousand fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, yet it shall not come near you.

8 Your eyes have only to behold to see the reward of the wicked.

9 Because you have made the LORD your refuge and the Most High your stronghold,

10 There shall no evil happen to you, neither shall any plague come near your tent.

11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.

12 They shall bear you in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone.

13 You shall tread upon the lion and adder; the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 Because they have set their love upon Me, therefore will I deliver them; I will lift them up, because they know My name.

15 They will call upon Me and I will answer them; I am with them in trouble, I will deliver them and bring them to honour.

16 With long life will I satisfy them and show them My salvation. 
All: Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever. Amen.

Psalm 134: 1 Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, you that by night stand in the house of the LORD.

2 Lift up your hands towards the sanctuary and bless the Lord.

3 The LORD who made heaven and earth give you blessing out of Zion.

All: Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever. Amen.

One: Almighty God, You have created us out of the dust of the earth: May this Lenten season be a reminder of our mortality, humility, and need. Help us always remember that it is only by Your gracious gift that we are given everlasting life through Jesus Christ our Savior. 
All: While we remember that we are dust, and to dust we shall return, may we also consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ! Amen!

Prayers of Intercession Open to All ...

Closing Poem + Benediction

Will You Meet Us?
Jan Richardson

Will You meet us
in the ashes,
will You meet us
in the ache
and show Your face
within our sorrow
and offer us
Your word of grace:

that You are life
within the dying,
that You abide
within the dust,
that You are what
survives the burning,
that You arise
to make us new.

And in our aching,
You are breathing;
and in our weeping,
You are here

within the hands
that bear Your blessing
enfolding us
within Your love.

One: Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. 
All: Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for Your love's sake. Amen.

One: Keep us, O God, as the apple of Your eye; hide us under the shadow of Your wings.
All: Preserve us, O God, while waking, and guard us while sleeping, that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep may rest in Your peace.

One: Into Your hands, O LORD, I commend my spirit for You have redeemed me, LORD God of Truth.
All: Into Your hands, O LORD, we commend our spirits.

One: The Lord bless us and watch over us; the Lord make His face shine upon us and be gracious to us; the Lord look kindly on us and give us peace. All: Amen.

Here are some additional resources for Lent:

Christ is all,

Rev. Mike "Sully" Sullivan

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