Tag Archives: Prayer

Sermon Manuscript for Lord’s Day 9/12/2021

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Order of Worship—John 17.1-5

Prelude

Welcome and Announcements

Call to Worship

(Ps. 145:1-13) I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.  2 Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever.  3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.  4 One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.  5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.  6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness.  7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.  8 The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  9 The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.  10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you!  11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power,  12 to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.  13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations.

Hymn No. 28 To God be the Glory

Pastoral Prayer

Indeed, Lord, you have done great things! We ask, please pull back the veil of familiarity that we might behold your glory afresh, today. May we have eyes to see and ears to hear. May the thought of your amazing grace move us to genuine worship as we sing of your glory…as we hear your word…stir our hearts to praise.

Lord we also want to remember those who lost their lives 20 years ago. Please, Father, have mercy on the families and friends of those who lost loved ones. Help them through this tragedy. May they know the perfect peace that is only found in you. Woo them to the greatest act of love in all of history in the sacrifice and resurrection of your beloved Son. There will be tragedy and death in this life, but what we do with Jesus is the most important thing in our lives. Make yourself, known Lord!

For truly, you are holy, as we are about to sing. You are God and there is no other. No one is like. You are set apart from all other things. You are transcendent…above all things! You are perfect in all your ways. You are light and in you there is no darkness. May we have fellowship with you through the perfect work of your son.

Give us faith! We cannot please you any other way! We love, you Lord. Make much of your Son today in this service. Do with us as you please. We are yours. Glorify your name!

Hymn No. 68 Holy, Holy, Holy

(Heb. 9:22-28)  22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.  23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.  24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.  25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own,  26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.  27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,  28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Hymn No. 252 Down at the Cross

Sermon—John 17:1-5

Hymn No. 438 Jesus, I my Cross Have Taken

Benediction

(Num. 6:24-26) 24 The LORD bless you and keep you;  25 the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;  26 the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Next Week’s text: John 17:6-19


Sermon Manuscript for Lord’s Day 7/18/2021

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Order of Worship—John 14.12-17

Prelude

Announcements and Welcome

Call to worship

(Ps. 20:1-5) May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!  2 May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion!  3 May he remember all your offerings and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah  4 May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!  5 May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!

Hymn No. 1 “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty”

Pastoral Prayer

Hymn No. 122 “O God, Our Help in Ages Past”

(Jn. 14:15) 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

Hymn No. 500 “Trust and Obey”

Sermon John 14:12-17

Hymn No. 534 “Take My Life, and Let it Be Consecrated”

Benediction

(Acts 2:17-21)  17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;  18 even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.  19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;  20 the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.  21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’


Praying and Doing

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I’ve thought about how prayer and our responsibility work together for a long time. I first noticed this in the story of David fleeing Jerusalem when Absalom had stole the hearts of the men of Israel. One of the conspirators was Ahithophel, one of David’s wise counselors. As David flees the city, he gets word from someone that Ahithophel is in on this. David immediately prays in (2 Sam. 15:31), “O LORD, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.”

I suppose our understanding of prayer stops right there. That’s enough, right? The only addition we might make is to continue to pray the same thing. Certainly being persistent in prayer is right and good and sometimes there’s really nothing else we can do. But when something can be done, is that interfering with prayer? It could be but not always.

Soon after David prays for the counsel of Ahithophel to become foolishness, he meets another one of his wise counselors, Hushi. Here’s what he says to him: (2 Sam. 15:32-34) 32 While David was coming to the summit, where God was worshiped, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat torn and dirt on his head. 33 David said to him, “If you go on with me, you will be a burden to me. 34 But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king; as I have been your father’s servant in time past, so now I will be your servant,’ then you will defeat for me the counsel of Ahithophel.

At the end of 2 Samuel 16, we hear Absalom seeking counsel from Ahithophel. He advises him on how to defeat David the King. Absalom, though hesitant, allows Hushi to be his counselor as well. He asks Hushi what he should do concerning David the King. Here’s how they respond to the two options: (2 Sam. 17:14) 14 And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.”

Why did they choose Hushi’s counsel over Ahithophel’s? Was it because David had prayed? Or was something else going on? Here’s what it says: For the LORD had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the LORD might bring harm upon Absalom (2 Sam. 17:14b). So what’s the right answer? I think the prayer, the sending of Hushi and what the Lord had ordained work together.

There is some mystery here. There are some ways to answer this. But we know that James says that we do not have because we do not ask. And sometimes we ask for the wrong things. (Jas. 4:2-3) You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

I guess the point is, praying and waiting are not always the right response. We might ask if David’s prayer was answered and did God accomplish his ordained purpose in this? Here’s the answer: (2 Sam. 17:23) 23 When Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey and went off home to his own city. He set his house in order and hanged himself, and he died and was buried in the tomb of his father.

What about Absalom? I assume you know how his life ended. But who gets their hair caught in a tree? That seems very ironic. (2 Sam. 18:9) 9 And Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak, and his head caught fast in the oak, and he was suspended between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on.

As you know, Absalom was struck down and David was restored to the throne. Just consider that prayer and what God ordains are not opposed to one another (though they could be). In this story, they work together. And I’m aware that some will say that God ordained that David pray that way. Sure. I’m on board with that. But it’s not that obvious when David is fleeing the city and life is happening. I don’t think we have to say that. I don’t think David paused in the middle of all of that and acknowledged that God ordained that prayer. I don’t think he knew that at the time. He seems to hold out the possibility that God might do something else. I mean, why did he flee at all if he was certain of Absalom’s defeat?

I think this is how David thought about it: (2 Sam. 15:25-26) 25 Then the king said to Zadok, “Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me back and let me see both it and his dwelling place. 26 But if he says, ‘I have no pleasure in you,’ behold, here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him.”

Pray and respond. Trust the Lord to do what is right and good. And sometimes that means we participate in that process that was ordained by the Lord.