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Generations of worshipping congregations have included set prayers within the opening section of their weekly services. These generally cover the themes of adoration, thanksgiving and confession. And somehow that seems just right. Why is that? We begin our worship by reminding ourselves of how awesome our God is. We then thank him for what he has done for us, and this inevitably reminds us that we really do not deserve his mercy and grace. Which leads us to confession and accepting by faith the forgiveness that God offers to those who humbly come to him and acknowledge their faults. Below are two sets of opening prayers. More will be available soon as an ebook entitled 'The Worship Leader's Little Helper' - watch this space, or contact me for updates! Opening Prayers 1- Theme 'I will exalt you'
Consider these words from Psalm 145 „I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever‟ (A moment of silence ) Creator God, we glimpse your beauty in setting sun, mountain top, eagle‟s wing. We sense your power in thunder crash, lightning flash and ocean‟s roar. Creator God we praise you Precious Jesus, we see your love stretched out upon a cruel cross. We stand in awe at your sacrifice, pure love poured out for humankind. Precious Jesus we praise you Holy Spirit, we see your power in lives transformed, hearts on fire. We listen for your still, small voice, comforting, guiding, calling. Holy Spirit we praise you To my words „Every day I will praise you‟ would you respond ‘And extol your name for ever’ From the moment we awake to face the day ahead, you are with us, through good times and bad, Your presence enough for our needs. Every day I will praise you
And extol your name for ever Through the hours of the day, in our travels and work, you are with us; in decisions we must make, Your wisdom enough for our needs. Every day I will praise you And extol your name for ever As we lay down to rest at the end of the day, you are with us, as we lay our fears at your feet, Your peace enough for our needs. Every day I will praise you And extol your name for ever A prayer of confession Lord God, your love for humankind present in the beginning of all things, extends throughout history and touches even my life. Your love sees failings and forgives. Your love feels pain and wipes away our tears. Your love knows grief and comforts the sorrowful. Your love sees sin and still loves the sinner. Forgive us when we fail to live lives that reflect your love. Forgive us the many times when we take for granted all that you have done for us. Transform us, through your Spirit, and empower us to serve you, this day and all days Amen
Let us join together in the words that Jesus taught his disciples.. Our Father……….. Opening Prayers 2 – Theme 'God of all ages'
Listen to these words from Psalm 40
“I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry... He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” To my words „God of all ages‟ would you respond ‘Accept our sacrifice of praise.’ Eternal God, it was your Spirit, hovering over the waters at the dawning of that first day. It was your voice echoing through the darkness, that brought forth light. God of all ages Accept our sacrifice of praise Eternal God, it was your love that birthed humankind, and placed them in a garden. It was your hand that helped them to their feet, each time they fell. God of all ages Accept our sacrifice of praise Eternal God, it was your prophets who spoke forth your word, to a rebellious generation. It was your Son who showed the depth of love that will not let us go. God of all ages Accept our sacrifice of praise
God of life, whose love enfolds us, and spirit fills us, we praise your holy name. God of joy, whose sunrise wakes us, and sunset amazes us, we praise your holy name. God of hope, whose promise sustains us, and power upholds us, we praise your holy name. God of love, whose patience humbles us, and touch can heal us, we praise your holy name.
God of peace, who breaks down barriers, and walls that divide us, we praise your holy name. God of eternity, who has always loved us, and by grace has saved us, we praise your holy name Spend a moment thinking about all that God is and has done for us, and consider your individual response to his grace. God of all ages, who from generation to generation has heard the cries of your children humbly seeking forgiveness, and has welcomed sinners back into your embrace, hear the thoughts of our hearts, examine our motives, forgive us our faults, of word and action. We ask this through your Son, who died that we might know the true cost of forgiveness. AMEN Let us join together in the words that Jesus taught his disciples.. Our Father………..
Opening Prayers 3 – A Celtic Theme Listen to the words of the Psalmist “The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic.” Psalm 29:3-4
To my words „The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad „would you respond ‘And the distant shores rejoice’
The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad And distant shores rejoice You who spoke this world in motion,
breathed life into each creature, painted landscapes in colourful hues, you are our God. The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad And distant shores rejoice You who bring to us each season light and warmth, rain and sunshine, and within the seed a spark of life, you are our God. The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad And distant shores rejoice You whose love is beyond measure and stretches throughout time, from a garden in Eden, to Gethsemene and beyond, you are our God The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad And distant shores rejoice By By By By By By the the the the the the word of our Lord the heavens were made spirit of our Lord was life begun wisdom of our Lord his laws were laid love of our Lord was born his Son grace of our Lord mankind was saved power of our Lord the victory was won
A prayer of confession
Creator God, forgive our moments of ingratitude, the spiritual blindness that prevents us from appreciating the wonder that is this world, the endless cycle of nature, of life and death and rebirth. Forgive us for taking without giving, reaping without sowing. Open our eyes to see, our lips to praise, our hands to share. May our feet tread lightly on the path we tread, and our footsteps be worthy of following, for they lead to you. Let us join together in the words of the Lord‟s Prayer Our Father……….
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Opening Prayer Loving heavenly Father we come to you this hour asking for your blessing and help as we are gathered together. We pray for guidance in the matters at hand and ask that you would clearly show us how to conduct our work with a spirit of joy and enthusiasm. Give us the desire to find ways to excel in our work. Help us to work together and encourage each other to excellence. We ask that we would challenge each other to reach higher and farther to be the best we can be. We ask this in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen Closing Prayer Heavenly Father as we come to the end of our time together we thank you for what has been accomplished here today. May the matters discussed serve as a catalyst to move us forward and cause us to advance and see growth in all areas of our lives. May we leave here recognizing You are the God of all wisdom and You are willing to lead us forward. This we pray in the name of the Lord Jesus. Amen Adoration To show adoration to God is to worship, praise, honor and exalt Him. In other words, respect Him, be in awe of Him, and say wonderful things about Him. Psalm 103 and 145 are good examples of adoring the Lord. Confession When we begin to acknowledge how great, perfect and awesome our God is, we can’t help but recognize our weaknesses and sins. Admitting and confessing our sins (1 John 1:9) and knowing He has forgiven our past, present and future sin is vital to our prayer life. God is a Holy God, so we need to come to Him with a clean heart. “He would not have listened if I had not confessed my sins” (Psalm 66:18). Thanksgiving Giving thanks expresses our faith, and it is faith that pleases God. In Hebrews 11:6 we read, “And without faith it is impossible to please God.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 states, “In all things give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ concerning you.” We don’t necessarily give thanks for the difficult circumstances, but give thanks for His total provision during good - and painful ones. Supplication Asking seems to come naturally to children. As God’s children, we can freely talk to Him and ask Him for anything. And like any caring parent, He will say, “Yes” to some of our requests, “No” some of the time and at times, He will say, “Wait.”
You can remember this outline for prayer through the acronym ACTS - Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. Each component is a necessary for an effective prayer life. There are also many other aspects of prayer, which I may write about another day, but if you are new to praying, I encourage you to begin practicing these four elements when you pray.
Father, I am awed by fact that among the six billion people on earth, I am heard by You, and You actually delight in my prayers. Thank You so much. Teach us how to pray. Amen.
To enter the sheepfolds of the Middle East, a shepherd's sheep had to pass under his rod for him to inspect their condition up close. The shepherd would tend to any obvious needs one by one. Then when all the sheep were in the fold, he lay down across the opening with his own body. Through the 23rd Psalm we better understand our Good Shepherd in a personal way. Ask God to show you about himself in this classic psalm, which unfortunately is so familiar that we can recite it without receiving its revelation deep in our spirits. Listen for what God wants you to know about who he is, what he does, and what you have in your Shepherd. As you cultivate your personal communion with God in prayer, let him lead you to pray this psalm for others.
The Lord is my Shepherd.
Jehovah-Rohi: God my Shepherd Jesus said, "I am the Good Shepherd who knows my own sheep by name (John 10:11)." The Lord of the universe knows you personally! Thank Him for your relationship with Him. Pray it for others: Jesus is the great Shepherd of all His sheep. Pray for someone who is discouraged and thinks God has forgotten them. Pray for them to know God as their Shepherd.
I shall lack nothing.
Jehovah-Jireh: the Lord my Provider If God provided so much in Jesus to meet your spiritual needs, will He not also take care of your daily practical needs? Pray, "Give us this day our daily bread (Mat. 6: 11)," and name specific needs you are trusting him for. Thank him he is your provider. Pray for others: Pray for those who have real financial needs and for those who are discontent with what they have. Pray they will know Jehovah-Jireh.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters.
Jehovah-Shalom: God my Peace Pray about anything that is disquieting your peace. Affirm that God is your peace. Pray about God's leading in His work and decisions. Pray for others. Ask God how to pray for someone in a hard place. Pray for Him to calm all fear, doubt, worry, inadequacy, and anxiety with the Prince of peace in their heart.
He restores my soul.
Jehovah-Rapha: The Lord my Healer Where do you need the healing and restoration of Jesus the Healer? Pray for others: Pray for God to heal the hurts, bitterness, control, judgments, differences, separation, wrong priorities, apathy, etc., of someone else.
He guides me in paths of righteousness...
Jehovah-Tsidkenu: The Lord my Righteousness Pray for God's guidance as you dedicate yourself to follow Him as Lord. Pray for someone else: Jesus declares us to be righteous, not for what we have done, but because of his perfect righteousness. Pray for salvation for somebody who has not received Jesus as God's perfect sacrifice for their sin.
For His name's sake.
Jehovah-M'Kaddesh God's name is holy. He says, "I the Lord alone am holy, and I make you holy because you are called by my holy name." Pray that you will not dishonor his name. Pray for others: Pray that someone away from God will desire to bring glory and honor to his name.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.
Jehovah-Shammah: God who is there Jesus promised his disciples, "I have all authority, and I am always there for you (Mat. 28:19, 20)." Affirm his presence with you that dispels fears and unbelief. Pray for others: God promised his presence in Exodus 3:12 for leading the children of Israel out of Egypt. In Exodus 33:14 reaffirmed his presence to finish what he began. Ask God to reveal himself to your family and friends in powerful new ways.
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You can depend on the rod of His protection and the staff of His correction and rescue. Receive the protection and correction of your Good Shepherd. Pray for others: His comfort is as warm and tender as that of a mother for her child (Isa. 66:13, 49:13, 52:9). Who needs you to pray God's comfort for them?
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
Jehovah-Nissi: The Lord my Banner of victory Praise God that He gives victory over your enemies and sins, as you depend on the authority of your crucified, resurrected, victorious Redeemer. Pray for others: Pray the same prayer for your family and friends.
You anoint my head with oil.
Oil was used for medicine, sanctification, appointment to office, and as a sign of fellowship. Oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit, who is all these things. Thank God for the power of the Holy Spirit to heal, restore, soothe, cleanse, appoint to His work, and give a sign of your fellowship with the Father and his Son. Pray for others: Pray that your family and friends will walk in the Spirit.
My cup overflows.
Exercise your attitude of gratitude. Pray for others: Pray that your family and friends will praise God continually as their Source.
Surely goodness and love with follow me all the days of my life.
Thank God for a specific evidence of His goodness and love He has shown you daily. Pray for others: Thank God for people who have shown His goodness and love to you. Tell them so at your first opportunity. Pray that they will see God's goodness to them.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Ask God to show you how to practice His presence with you continually. Pray for others: Ask God for the body of Christ to worship Him with their whole heart and be committed to living in His pr
„I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever‟ Psalm 145: 1-2 Lord we thank you for your unfailing love and great compassion to mankind. We do give the honor glory and praise to your goodness and mercy. Lord Jesus, Lord God, we thank you from the moment we awake to face the day ahead, you are with us. Through good times and bad, your presence is enough for our needs. Forgive us when we fail to live lives that reflect your love. Forgive us the many times when we take for granted all that you have done for us. Transform us, through your Spirit, and empower us to serve you, this day and all days. Lord, we give thanks to your abundant provisions to all our spiritual and practical needs. We do give thanks to you Lord God for you lovingly watch us and protect us from any bad elements around us and guide us to righteousness. The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. Loving heavenly Father we come to you asking for your blessing and help – to ELT up to Noel (people in our office) to open their hearts to you Lord and seek for the kingdom of God. We pray for guidance and strength to be able to be of service to you Lord, as we are your living testimony. Show us how to conduct our work with a spirit of joy and enthusiasm. Give us the desire and help us to work together and encourage each other to excellence. We ask this in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
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