Our father in Heaven, grant to us today the joy of Thy salvation. Grant to us the assurance that our sins have been forgiven and we are Thy children. Lord, our confidence is in Thy word. Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Our confidence is not merely in our experience, certainly not in our feelings which come and go, and not in the words of men that can be true today and false tomorrow. Our confidence is in the word spoken by Christ and recorded in the Holy Scriptures. Men come and go. Churches come and go. Movements come and go. But the word of God is forever.
Lord, we rejoice today in the good news that not only did Christ die for us according to the Scriptures, but that he also rose from the grave on the third day according to the Scriptures. Today, we come to rejoice in that resurrection.
Lord, increase the reach of Thy Kingdom. Lord, there are many in the world today who are lonely. Lord, many suffer without husband or wife. Many suffer without friends. Some sit in their homes all day long without a phone call or a knock on the door. Some come home to an empty house. Lord, show them to us that we might share with them the love of Christ.
Lord, increase the reach of Thy Kingdom. There are many who have chosen a destructive path in life. They have ignored the laws of God and now they are in trouble. The consequences of their sin have caught up with them. They are broken and cast down. They are filled with guilt. They are confused and troubled. Sin has trapped them and they are caught. Lord, show them to us, that we might speak about Christ. Forgiveness and new life is as close as the breath they breathe.
Lord, increase the reach of Thy Kingdom. Some suffer the maladies of the flesh. Disease and affliction have conquered their bodies. Every day is filled with the battle of fighting off discouragement, dejection and despair. Sometimes, hope seems only as a fleeting dream. Lord, show them to us that we might share with them the One who knows us better than we know ourselves and Who has the words of comfort that even trials can be turned into times of victory.
Lord, remind us that Jesus did not come to condemn, but to save. His heart was turned toward healing, not toward judging. The word will judge us, yes, but help us to be like Jesus. May we be known not as judges, but as servants and those who bring with us the balm of Gilead. When people see us, may they see one who finds joy in relieving pain, and who is interested only in their gain. May they see in us one who is looking for the lost, whatever may be the cost. May they see in us not a judge who condemns, but a loving friend who commends.
Our Father, let not anyone here today feel as if they have nothing to offer Thy Church. Surely, being here is an encouragement to us all. Surely, a simple greeting or a friendly smile tells us that they care. We need each other. We were not called to fight alone. We were not called without overseers. We were not called without those who minister mercy. Lord, to lose one sheep is like losing all the sheep. One absent is like a hundred absent. Grant the joy of worshiping together and the encouragement of hearing the voices of God's people make a joyful noise to the Lord.
Lord, in a world set against Christ, make us more than conquerors. We are not to hide in the caves. We are not to be afraid. The Lord is on our side, therefore whom shall we fear. We have drifted as a nation from the first principles. We are arrogant and boastful because we do not recognize God's sovereignty over all things. Not a flower can rise from the ground without the power of God. Not a tree can spread its branches without the power of God. Not a nation can stand on its own without the power of God. Lord, if we ignore Thee, we do so at our own peril. We need more than the mention of God in our prayers. We need the power of the living God dwelling among us. We need zeal for God's law. We need to be reminded that if we break God's law, it will break us.
Lord, bless our worship as we sing, as we break the word of the Book and as we break the bread and drink the wine. May the Spirit cause Christ to overwhelm us with his presence here today. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.