Daily Prayers for December 31

Watch Night

Established in African-American communities on December 31, 1862, Watch Night is a gathering to celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation becoming law. When the clock struck midnight on January 1, 1863, all slaves in the Confederate States were proclaimed free. Since that date 146 years ago, African-Americans have celebrated the good news of freedom in local churches on New Year’s Eve. Like the slaves who first gathered while the Civil War raged on, we proclaim freedom for all captives in -Jesus’ name, knowing that for millions, freedom is not a reality. Our celebration is a commitment to join modern-day slaves and undocumented workers in their struggle for justice.

O Lord, let my soul rise up to meet you

as the day rises to meet the sun.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Come, let us sing to the Lord : let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.

Song “Glory, Glory, Hallelujah”

Shout the glad tidings o’er Egypt’s dark sea : Jehovah has triumphed; his -people are free!

Psalm 150

Hallelujah! Praise God in his holy temple : praise him in the firmament of his power.

Praise him for his mighty acts : praise him for his excellent greatness.

Praise him with the blast of the ram’s horn : praise him with lyre and harp.

Praise him with timbrel and dance : praise him with strings and pipe.

Praise him with resounding cymbals : praise him with loud clanging cymbals.

Let everything that has breath : praise the Lord. Hallelujah!

Shout the glad tidings o’er Egypt’s dark sea : Jehovah has triumphed; his -people are free!

Isaiah 26:1 – 9 John 8:12 – 19

Shout the glad tidings o’er Egypt’s dark sea : Jehovah has triumphed; his -people are free!

Writing about the first Watch Night, Booker T. Washington said, “As the great day grew nearer, there was more singing in the slave quarters than usual. It was bolder, had more ring, and lasted later into the night. True, they had sung those same verses before, but they had been careful to explain that the ‘freedom’ in these songs referred to the next world, and had no connection with life in this world. Now they gradually threw off the mask; and were not afraid to let it be known that the ‘freedom’ in their songs meant freedom of the body in this world.”

Prayers for Others

Our Father

Lord, we know that freedom will prevail because you are already victorious. Help us never lose hope, never stop celebrating your victory, and never stop walking alongside those who struggle to see this freedom come on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you : wherever he may send you;

may he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;

may he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;

may he bring you home rejoicing : once again into our doors.

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