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Advent Services and Evening Prayer

This may be useful for pastors planning Advent or Lent midweek services; I translated this, such as I could, from the hymnal of our sister church in Germany.  I liked some of the differences in the SELK vespers service, as well as the rubrics, and thought the suggestions about Advent worship were helpful.

(SELK Gesangbuch p. 262-264)


Advent and Lent Worship

 1.         The midweek (Wochengottesdienste) services in Advent and Lent can be held according to the order of Vespers.

For the Psalmody in Advent Psalms 19, 24, 25, 80, and 85 are suggested (in conjunction with the antiphons 664-667).  In Lent Psalms 22, 32, 38, 43, 51, and 130. 


The Responsory can be done according to the usual form, but also in the form for festival seasons (p. 295).  In place of this also a hymn stanza can be sung: in Advent, “Ach, mache du mich Armen” (Gesangbuch 9:4)(LSB 354 st. 4) and in Lent “Ehre sei dir, Christe” (Gesangbuch 57:7) .


Another prayer can be spoken in place of the preces.


The song of praise (Magnificat or Nunc Dimittis) is dropped when the litany (Ges. Nr. 138) is sung in place of the Kyrie Eleison.  In this case, the Lord’s Prayer, silent prayer, and Prayer of the day follows the litany.


In the Vespers at the hour of the Lord’s death and on Holy Saturday, the Entrance is dropped.


2.        The midweek services in Advent and Lent can also be held in a simple form of devotion/meditation, for instance in the following way: Hymn- Votum (?)- Entrance Prayer, Scripture Readings interspersed with hymns or hymn stanzas [In Lent: Hymn “Lamb of God, Pure and Holy”]-Sermon-[In Lent: Luther’s Explanation to the Second Article from the Small Catechism-Hymn-Closing Prayer, Lord’s Prayer, Blessing, Hymn Stanza.

3.       As Scripture readings for the Advent Services, the Messianic prophecies are considered (for instance Zech. 9: 9-10, Zeph. 3:14-17, Mal. 3:19-24; Is. 35:3-10; 40:1-11; 45:1-8; 63, 15-64; 26:1-12), Sections from the Revelation of John (1:4-8; 19:6-16; 3:14-22, or 22:1-13, 20), as well as from the Gospels (Matt. 21:1-9, Luke 21:25-33 or Mark 13:5-13; Matt. 11:2-10 or Luke 1:5-25; John 1:19-28 or Luke 1:26-38).


In Lent, besides texts from the Old Testament (for instance, selections from Gen. 1:1-3; Exodus 12:1-14; Genesis 22:1-13; Jeremiah 15:15-21; selections from Isaiah 59; Selections from Isaiah 45 and Isaiah 53: 4-12), before all will sections of the Passion History of the Lord be read, (Matt. 26-27, Mark 14-15, Luke 22-23 or John 11:46-57, 12:1-11, 13:1-38; 18-19).


(274 f.)


Vespers (Evening Prayer)


[Hymn of the Congregation]


The congregation rises.


If no compline will be held, the confession of sins with the foregoing “Our help is in the name of the Lord” can be spoken here.



Liturgist:  Lord, hear my voice, when I call;

C: be gracious to me and hear me.

L: Make haste, O God, to deliver me,

C: Make haste to help me, O Lord.

L: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

C: As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever and ever.  Amen.  Hallelujah.


In place of the Hallelujah from Septuagesima Sunday till the evening of Holy Saturday:

Praise be to You, Lord, King of eternal glory.


The Congregation sits.


Praying the Psalms (Psalmody)

A psalm or (and) a psalm-hymn, or instead of this on feast days and during festival seasons also a hymn appropriate to the time or season.



More readings may follow.

After the (last) reading, the following responsory is sung



Cantor: Your word is a lamp to my feet…

Especially on feast days and festival seasons, the responsory on p. 295 may be sung.


Where no responsory will be sung, the reading will close with the following sung or spoken versicle:


Cantor (L): But You, Lord, have mercy upon us.

C: Thanks be to God in eternity.


[Interpretation or Reading from the Church Fathers]




The congregation sings [responsively with the choir] an evening hymn, or the Hymn of the Week, or a hymn for the season.


Song of Praise/Canticle

The Magnificat


If there will be no compline, the Nunc Dimittis can be sung instead of the Magnificat.


Where circumstances demand it, the singing of the canticle can be omitted completely.  The canticle is also dropped when instead of the Kyrie Eleison the Litany will be sung.  In this case the Litany is followed by the Lord’s Prayer, the silent prayer, and the prayer of the day.


The Congregation rises.



The Kyrie, Our Father, Preces, and Prayer of the day can also be spoken.



L: Kyrie eleison.  C. Christe Eleison.  Kyrie Eleison.


Our Father



Responsive Prayer (Preces) Or one of the responsive prayers (1-5) on pages (296-305)


L: Lord, be gracious to me,

C: Heal my soul, for I have sinned against you.

L: Lord, show us your grace

C: And help us.

L: Let your kindness, Lord, be upon us

C:as we have hoped in you.

L: Let us pray for the Holy Church of God:

C: Remember, Lord, Your congregation, which you have purchased from of old.

L: Let us pray for our shepherds and teachers:

C. Lord, take not from their mouths the Word of Truth.

L: Send the messengers/heralds of salvation to the ends of the earth

C.  and convert the hearts of the unbelieving.

L.  Spread your goodness over those who know You

C: and Your righteousness over the godly.

L: Let us pray for all who are ordered to us/commanded to us/ commended to us [for spouses, parents, children, and our whole household]: 

C: Help, my God, Your servants, who depend on you

L: Lord God of Sabaoth, comfort us,

C: Let the light of Your countenance rest upon us.

L: Rouse Yourself, Christ, and help us

C: and redeem us for the sake of your goodness.

L: Lord, hear my prayer,

C: and let my cry come to you.

L: Let us pray.


Silent Prayer


In times of need or distress in the Church, or in other particular circumstances, a definite request can be named during the silence of prayer by the cantor, lector, or a member of the congregation.


Prayer of the Day


The prayer-leader prays one of the following prayers of the day or a general prayer or the collect of the previous Sunday or feast day.  (On Saturday evening and on the day before a feast day he prays the collect for the following day.)


Monday Evening.

Lord God, dear Father in heaven: we pray You, purify us from all sins of this day, and let Your patience with us have no end, that we after the work of the day may find quiet for the weary body and peace for our souls, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.


Here an evening hymn can be sung if one has not already been sung above.






The almighty  and merciful God, the +Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, bless and preserve us (you).





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