Category Archives: Worship

Worship for 08-02-15 ~ Amazing God

Good morning and a blessed Lord’s Day to you all. This morning the text for preaching is Mark 12:1-12 with an emphasis on verses 10-11:
Have you not read this Scripture: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” This is God’s Amazing Grace. The sermon will focus on these verses as I quote and use the 7 verses of “Amazing Grace”. And so the prayers have that theme.

For the Confession/Absolution I am using words from the hymn “Lord Jesus, Think on Me” from the Evangelical Lutheran Worship book. For the Benediction I am using words from the hymn “Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing”. I like to connect things to hymns we are singing to help people think more about the words they are singing instead of just flying through them.

May God be praised in your worship and may the Word of the Lord dwell in you richly.

Opening Prayer
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound indeed, holy God, for it has saved a wretch like us. For we were once lost but now through faith in Jesus, we are found. We were once blind but now we see. And it is because of this amazing grace that we gather to worship you. We unleash the joy within us and pour it out as a fragrant offering to you. And as that sweet aroma rises to you, may you fill us with Your Holy Spirit; filling us more through adding joy unto joy. May we see and feel and know the presence of Your love and may our joy spill out for others to enjoy and know. To You be glory and honor as we lift our praises to You, holy God, through Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.

Confession and Absolution
All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.
All have sinned and failed to keep God’s commandments.
All have sinned and have hurt our neighbors.
All have sinned and have failed to honor God as He is worthy.
And so we gather together as a church to lift our prayers and confessions to God. Let us pray…

(ELW #599, “Lord Jesus, Think on Me”)
Lord Jesus, think on me, and purge away my sin; from selfish passions set me free and make me pure within.
Lord Jesus, think on me, by anxious thoughts oppressed; let me your loving servant be and taste Your promised rest.
Lord Jesus, think on me, nor let me go astray; through darkness and perplexity, point out your chosen way.
Lord Jesus, think on me, that when the flood is past; I may the eternal brightness see and share Your joy at last.
Lord Jesus hear our prayers and confessions…

[PAUSE]

Lord Jesus, You are awesome. You are love. You are grace. Through faith in you renew our strength and keep us on the narrow way.

In the mercy of almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us and for his sake God forgives us all our sins. So as a called and ordained minister of the church of Christ and by His authority, I therefore boldly and confidently announce the complete forgiveness of all your sins; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Prayer before Preaching
Amazing and awesome God, we have spilled out our joy through worship because of Your grace and now it is our pleasure to hear a word from You; for You have the words of eternal life. These are not mere words of man, spoken to make people feel better, but these are holy words spoken to create, build, maintain and/or strengthen faith. These words have power not because of me but because of Your Holy Spirit. These words are awesome, not because I formulated, crafted and organized these words but because they are inspired by You. So may the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to You, amazing God, through Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.

Post-Communion Blessing
May the body and blood of Jesus Christ give you a greater appetite for him, a stronger desire to proclaim his life-saving love, and the boldness to speak into the darkness of this world. Let us pray…

Post-Communion Prayer
Loving Father, You have fed us with a holy food, Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Strengthen our faith and send us out to proclaim this life saving word through our words and deed, that people may run to glorify You. Through Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

Benediction
Now may your tongues sing our great Redeemer’s praise, the glories of our amazing God and the triumphs of his grace. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

The Church being the Church

This pastor experienced a first yesterday, during worship, that reaffirmed how proud and thankful I am to be part of this ministry; watching the church be the church.

[I didn’t witness any of this but am relaying on second hand accounts]

During the scripture readings our back-up organist started not feeling well. Some guys in the balcony noticed that she laid her head on the organ a couple times and kept dabbing her forehead. That prompted those guys to get up and head downstairs to keep an eye on her; alerting the ushers. Eventually she got up from her organ bench and laid down on the floor up front. That’s when I heard some thundering foot steps come from behind me and a rush of people (including 3 nurses) running to help Linda. My wife was included in that group of nurses (who was also holding our 9 month old son). Kevin, who also responded, grabbed Malachi so Connie could help and then Kevin’s wife, Emily, came down from the balcony to watch our children. Someone then called 911 and helped arrived in minutes. Linda walked out of the sanctuary being escorted by her entourage and was eventually taken to the ER as a precaution.

(NOTE: Linda was later discharged and is now home, doing fine).

After the scripture reading, while people were still attending to Linda, I lead the congregation in prayer and then continued with the Gospel reading and then the sermon. We never missed a beat. Following the sermon, Sharon got up to play piano for the final couple songs.

I think those who were involved would say that they didn’t do anything usual but rather just responded to someone who needed help. As the pastor I was proud to see people jump into action and fill in the voids so that worship could continue and Linda could be cared for. A couple times I caught myself tearing up in concern for Linda but also in pride at watching the church be the church. People knew their parts. It didn’t seem that anyone had to question what to do or who should do what.

They just did it.

That’s the Church in action; responding in faith in such a way that it is as natural as breathing. And I never really questioned that people would respond in such a way, but it was nice to see it first hand, even though I could do without the ambulance visit.

Father God, I an thankful that You were watching out for Linda and that Your Spirit was in action through the Church to provide care in so many ways. May You continue to bring healing to Linda and may the Church continue to be the Church; all to Your glory. In Jesus name, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Worship prayers for 07-26-15 ~ Awesome God

Good morning and a blessed Lord’s Day to you all. I commend these worship prayers to you as you prepare to worship our awesome God. May this day be filled with praise and holy wonder as you glorify God through your life.

Opening Prayer
Holy God, to worship You is our honor and joy for You are awesome and worthy. We long to see the beauty of Your face and long for the peace that surpasses all understanding. We also long for the faith to turn away from the temptations of this world and long for the strength to run away from the Father of lies. Holy Father, we long for life in You and for that perfect fellowship with Your son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Receive our praise, hear our prayers and change our hearts that the world may see our worship and run to glorify You. Through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray, Amen.

Prayer before Preaching
Mighty King, Sovereign Lord, by the power of Your Word Your created the heavens and the earth. Through Your infinite wisdom You created life. And through Your awesome grace Your redeemed all of creation through the death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ. And now He lives and reigns over all creation. This and this alone should be enough to draw all people to you in endless worship, but yet we continue to look for other authorities in our lives. We think we know what we want but we really have no clue. We think we can save ourselves but we are sorely mistaken. We think there is something better than you but nothing ever comes close. Through Your compassion continue to draw us back to you that we may see Your awesomeness. And may we ever be fixated on Your beauty. It is through Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

Prayers of Intercession
As finite creatures, created out of Your awesome love, we do not know how we ought to pray. We do not see the whole picture and therefore we do not know what to ask for that would bring You glory. But we boldly come before You with these prayers asking that You may give to us according to Your will and that we may have the faith to receive from Your gracious hand. Lord in Your mercy…“Hear our prayer”.

For those affected by violence in someway, please show Your love and peace. May they find healing through Your Son, Jesus Christ and may they know a peace that surpasses anything this world can promise. Lord in Your mercy…“Hear our prayer”.

For Christians around the world who deal with persecution, torture and death because of their faith. Grant them strength to cling to Your Word and grant them Your Spirit to speak Words of hope to those who would try to silence them. Lord in Your mercy…“Hear our prayer”.

All these petitions and anything else You see that we need, we commend to You through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen

Offering Prayer
Through the depths of Your love You have given us Jesus. Through the richness of Your mercy You have offered forgiveness through his death and resurrection. Through the wideness of Your grace you have given us salvation. Now may these gifts given here be blessed, multiplied and used that we may share this Good News to others. We pray this through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen

Benediction
May the One, in whom we have redemption through the blood of Jesus; the forgiveness of sins in accordance with the riches of His grace, lavish on you all wisdom and understanding,
so that you might keep your heart on the right path.
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

The First Love

God bless you as you prepare to worship tomorrow. May you enter His gates with thanksgiving and praise.

My preaching text for Sunday, July 19 is Mark 11:15-19; Jesus cleansing the temple. The sermon focus deals with Church returning/keeping focus on it’s “first love” (Revelation 2, the letter to the Church in Ephesus).

May you, too, remember and keep your eyes focused on your first love, Jesus Christ.

Opening Prayer
Father God, our faith in Jesus Christ leads us to worship You, for it is our joy to lift our praises to You. You sent Your son to save a rebellious bride, the Church, and to sanctify her; washing her clean through the blood of the Lamb.
Oh God, we praise Thee and worship Thee.
Oh God, we thank Thee and adore Thee.
Oh God, we come before Thee, humbled and thankful.
Receive our worship and send Your Spirit. Fill our hearts with praise and may we spill that praise throughout our lives. It’s in Jesus most holy and awesome name we pray, Amen.

Prayer before Preaching [the words of Charles Spurgeon in bold]
Holy Father, do not let any of us lose our first love. Let not our church grow cold and dead. We are not, we fear, what once we were. Lord revive us! All our help must come from Thee. Give back to the church its love, its confidence, its holy daring, its consecration, its holiness. Give back all it ever had and give it much more. Take every member and wash their feet, Sweet Lord, most tenderly, and set us with clean feet on a clean road, with a clean heart to guide us, and do Thou bless us unto your glory. And so, Lord God, I ask that Your Holy Spirit may guide my Words that we may hear Good News and receive encouragement and faith to be Your hands and feet. It’s in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Prayer following the Sermon
Holy God, may we not be founding lacking. May we not be found clinging to other loves in this world, but may we be found clinging to our first love, Jesus Christ. Strengthen our faith through Your Holy Spirit; revealing to us, over and over, the truth of the Gospel and the hope of the resurrection. It’s in Jesus’ name that I pray, Amen.

Offering Prayer
Receive these gifts here this morning, oh God, as an expression of our thanks and worship. Though our offerings don’t even come close to what You have done for us, may this offering be multiplied according to Your wisdom and will for the advancement of Your most glorious Kingdom. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Worship Prayers ~ Majestic God

It feels good to be back at it and writing again even though I enjoyed some quality time with my children as my wife volunteered at Shetek Lutheran Ministries (Slayton, MN) this past week.

Below are my worship preparations this week (July 12). The opening prayer is something I have done before (taken from Psalm 8). I just love these words from the psalmist as they give words to my heart as some of the many reasons I worship God. So feel free to use these in whatever way brings glory to God.

May this Lord’s Day be one filled with joy as you worship this awesome and majestic God of ours. Let’s pray…

Opening Prayer
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which YOU have set in place, what are we that you are mindful of us; that you care for us? Yet you have made us a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned us with glory and honor. You have given us dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under our feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
And that is why we worship You, oh God; Your majestic and glorious name. No other god has done or can do what You do. No other god loves us as You do. No other god has given their son that we may live. No other god is majestic or glorious or worthy of worship. And so we come praising You and seeking Your Word. Receive our worship.
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
In Jesus most holy and majestic name we pray, Amen.

Prayers of Intercession
Holy God, majestic and wonderful, compassionate and merciful, in Your abundant mercy we ask that You may hear our prayers and give to us not according to our will but may Your will be done. May our spirits be rightly aligned with You and may our desires be wholly focused on You. May we seek You with our whole hearts and grant us to receive from most Your gracious hand.
Lord in Your mercy…“Hear our prayer”

For those caught in the cycle of poverty or homelessness or under-employment, grant relief through Your children as we live out our faith. May we see the world around us as a mission field; to share Your love and to show mercy through acts of kindness. Lord in Your mercy…“Hear our prayer”

For the Church, oh Lord. We are not just an organization that meets together but we are Your hands and feet; the body of Christ. So may we not sit idle as hurts and injustices abound. May we not turn away from our calling. May we seek to know Your holy Word better. May leaders be faithful and disciples be raised up to follow You. And may Your Gospel be boldly proclaimed. Lord in Your mercy…“Hear our prayer”

Holy God, majestic and wonderful, compassionate and merciful, receive these petitions and may we be faithful to continue to seek You day in and day out. May our lives be ones of worship, so much so, that those around us are drawn to You, not to us. All glory and honor and praise and worship be to You, oh God, through Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.

Post-Communion Blessing
May the body and blood of Jesus Christ which brings forgiveness of sins, excite and stir you to forgive others as you have been forgiven; seeking to bring praise to God and to restore relationships for the sake of the Gospel, let us pray…

Post-Communion Prayer
Bring healing to troubled souls, oh God, as we bask in the joy that Jesus Christ was given for us. Bring hope to the hopeless, life to the lifeless, purpose to the lost and joy to the downtrodden. May this holy meal drive us to long for the Great Banquet that You have prepared for all believers. Through Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

Benediction
The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you.
The Lord look upon you with favor and grant you peace.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Worship prayers for 06/28/15 ~ Spiritual blindness

Good morning and happy Lord’s Day.

The sermon text for this morning is Mark 10:46-52. This is Jesus’ encounter with blind Bartimaeus on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem. This is the last healing story of this Gospel as we head into chapter 11 with the Triumphal entry into Jerusalem (what we call Holy Week). My focus will be on spiritual blindness and the Church’s call to seek the blind with the Gospel of Jesus Christ; for when one calls out to Jesus in faith, he will stop, as he did for Bartimaeus. So the prayers are written with that theme in mind.

May your Lord’s Day be blessed as you worship our awesome God.

Let’s pray…

Opening Prayer
God of Hope, in a world filled with spiritual blindness, we come looking for Your guiding hand; seeking Your forgiveness; seeking Your Truth. For You are God almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
You are our King.
You are our Life.
You are our Light.
And so we plead with the words of the blind Bartimaeus, Lord, have mercy on us. We humbly beseech You to stop and turn to us as Jesus did on that Jericho road.
Receive our worship.
Receive our praise.
Receive our thanks.
Restore our sight.
For You are worthy and thus we are worthy of judgment, but have mercy upon us as You heal our blindness and make us so bold that our way becomes the way of Jesus. So here we are. May our worship be pleasing to Your ears, in the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Prayer before Preaching
Mighty God, our great Physician, You are the opener of eyes, the healer of faith and the giver of hope. Through Jesus Christ You heard the call of the blind man and did for him what he had asked through faith, that You may be glorified. You then sent him on his way; healed and redeemed. And so we gather here on this dusty road of life as blind beggars; seeking Your Word and healing touch. May all who hear Your Word cast off all that would hinder their coming to You and may they run with haste to get a taste of Your glorious Word. So I humbly ask that You would send Your Holy Spirit to open our eyes that we may proclaim the glories of Your awesome name. Heal all the ails us, not according to our will but may Your will be done. Drive away despair. Bury our sin. Grant us hope through Jesus Christ our risen Savior, Amen.

Offering Prayer
Holy Father; giver of life, nothing we give compares to what You have done for us through Jesus Christ, but it is not about trying to out give you but rather express our thanks through our worship. So receive these gifts collected this morning as our worship to You for the advancement of Your Kingdom, and in turn, may You continue to bless us that we may bless others; for this ministry is not ours but Yours. Let our lives be a living worship service unto Your glory as we serve our neighbors in love. Through Christ Jesus our Lord we pray, Amen.

Benediction
As Jesus opened the eyes of the blind,
may your eyes be opened to the love and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
May you see your lives as fleeting in this world but held secure in the arms of God.
May you see the plight of your neighbor and reach out with the love of our Lord.
May you see the strength of our awesome God as your strength.
May you see the spiritual blindness in this world as your calling to live boldly for God.
And may you see the way of Jesus as your way.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen

Worship prayers for 6/21/15 ~ Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to fathers of all kinds as God, our heavenly Father, continues to bless and use you for His glory.

I also pray for those affected by the tragedy in Charleston, SC. On Father’s Day (or any day for that matter) we shouldn’t have to deal with something like this hanging over us. But I praise God that Jesus was found hanging on a cross for sinners that His Kingdom may be established, and thus sin and evil ultimately stamped out. So on this Father’s Day, cling to that hope as we praise and worship our heavenly Father.

So with that I commend to you these worship prayers/blessings prepared for today. May God be glorified.

Opening Prayer
Holy God, mighty King, loving Father, we come before You in holy awe; for there is no other response that is close to being worthy. We also come before You in fear and grief and sadness and confusion and anger and a myriad of other emotions we dare not name; but ones You know very well. We hold close to our hearts those who died in the Charleston shooting along with their friends and family members and others who are intimately connected to this tragedy. And today we especially remember those who are mourning the death of a father. We struggle to make sense of things; why in a house of prayer did this happen; why these people; why this event; why, oh God, why? There are so many questions; so many conflicting emotions. But You are a God of peace in a world that is anything but peaceful. So I ask that Your peace may be what wins the day. Grant faith to make us witnesses of Your love in this world and may our lives be a living worship service that brings You glory each and everyday. Bring healing. Build hope. Erase hate. Ignite Revival. Draw people together as Your bring Your glorious Kingdom. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Prayers of Intercession
…For The City of Charleston, SC as they mourn. It’s hard to imagine the feelings these people are experiencing. So instead of us trying to imagine and thus minimizing their grief, grant us empathy that we may mourn with our brothers and sisters in Christ and then work to be grace-filled witnesses in this world that Your Spirit may affect a world-wide, heart-changing revival. Lord in Your mercy…

Father’s Day prayer (based on Tweets from my colleague @rev_david)
We give thanks for loving wonderful fathers, who have given their children so many invaluable gifts.
We pray for all those whose fathers have died, who grieve on this day; celebrating their father in his absence.
We pray for fathers who have made the difficult and loving decision to give a child up for adoption.
We pray for those who were given abuse and heartbreak by the very ones called to love them.
We pray for all who are spending this Father’s Day in a hospital bed or at a hospital bedside.
We pray for the fathers of children with special needs and chronic illness, who know anxiety and exhaustion better than most.
We pray for those who struggle with infertility, whose desire to share parental love is met with frustration.
We weep with fathers who have born the silent grief of stillbirth or miscarriage.
We weep with every father who has had to bear the unimaginable burden of burying a child.
For men who choose to remain without biological children, sharing love with the world, we give thanks.
For far too often overlooked stepfathers, we give much needed thanks.
For uncles and godfathers and neighbors, who share fatherly love with so many children, we give thanks.
We give thanks for those who have answered the call to fatherhood through adoption and foster parenting, who model the adoptive love of God.
We pray for new fathers, with bleary eyes and hope for the future, welcoming new life into the world.
We pray for all men; for showing fatherly love to children of all ages; serving as an example of Your Fatherly love, oh God.
Lord in Your mercy…

Offering Prayer
Father God, You offered Your life that we may live. We therefore offer these meager gifts in response to the enormous gift of eternal life that we have through faith in Jesus Christ; knowing that we can never give enough to match Your gracious love. So may we continue to offer You our lives in faithful witness to others that our living offerings may bring You glory. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Benediction
May you be blessed to be a blessing to others.
May you be strengthened that you may strengthen others.
May you know God through Christ Jesus so well that others see Him in you.
May your light shine bright that others are blinded by His love.
May you show grace and mercy and love that hate and racism are stamped out.
And may the peace that surpasses all understanding sustain you through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen.

The Pastor -|—