An Early Christian Evening Prayer Service

What follows is the culmination of study into the evening prayer services of the early church. I have compiled the service using the witness of the Ante-Nicene Fathers and the Apostolic Constitutions. 

This service, in its simplicity and brevity, is ideal for use by individuals, families, Small Groups and churches.

At the beginning of Evening Prayer, everyone shall read or sing the Psalm at the presbyters prompting; the candles being lit upon the Holy Table and incense burning.

Psalm 140
Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men;
preserve me from violent men,
who plan evil things in their heart
and stir up wars continually.
They make their tongue sharp as a serpent's,
and under their lips is the venom of asps. Selah
Guard me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
preserve me from violent men,
who have planned to trip up my feet.
The arrogant have hidden a trap for me,
and with cords they have spread a net;
beside the way they have set snares for me. Selah
I say to the Lord, You are my God;
give ear to the voice of my pleas for mercy, O Lord!
O Lord, my Lord, the strength of my salvation,
you have covered my head in the day of battle.
Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked;
do not further their evil plot, or they will be exalted! Selah
As for the head of those who surround me,
let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!
Let burning coals fall upon them!
Let them be cast into fire,
into miry pits, no more to rise!
Let not the slanderer be established in the land;
let evil hunt down the violent man speedily!
I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted,
and will execute justice for the needy.
Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name;
the upright shall dwell in your presence.
A Hymn is sung.

Opening Prayer
Presbyter: Heavenly Father, we praise you, we sing to you, we bless you, we glorify you, and we worship you, for your great glory; together with Jesus, the Holy Lamb, who takes away the sins of the world, and the Holy Spirit, forever. Grant us peace, according to your mercy, for our eyes have seen salvation as you prepared it for all who come in faith; a light to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel. Amen.

A Hymn is sung.

Presbyter: Let us offer prayers for all those in need, for those seeking God, and for each other.

Deacon asks for prayer requests.

Deacon: All that are faithful, let us pray to the Lord.

A personal prayer is offered for the requests.

A Hymn is sung.

Closing Prayer
Presbyter: Heavenly Father, Creator of the Universe through Christ, You made the day for the works of light, and the night for our rest and refreshment. Day and night are Yours. You created both sun and moon. You, who are the Lover of mankind, the fountain of all good, mercifully accept this our evening thanksgiving. You have blessed us through the day, and brought us to the night, we now ask that you preserve us through Jesus our Lord and Savior.

Bless us with a peaceful evening, and keep us from sin; and account us worthy of eternal life, through Christ; through whom honor, and glory, and worship be to you in 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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