(This is a prayer and exhortation offered in a worship service at Berean Bible Church where I serve as Minister.)
Almighty God and Father of our Lord Jesus, we give Thee glory. We add our feeble voices to the heavenly choirs, and ask that Thou wouldst give us, Thy earthly Church, the leading part in that choir this morning—for the sake of Jesus Christ Thy Son, who makes all our offerings worthy.
Father, from all eternity Thou didst search us out that we might know Thee, and in knowing Thee, come to eternal life. It is Thy good pleasure that we come unto Thee in Jesus’ name, and we do so now. We acknowledge Him as King of kings and Lord of lords. We acknowledge Him as the Redeemer of the sons of men, and the Savior of the world. We rejoice before Thee because of His mighty work of redemption, and we ask that Thou wouldst received our praise now, wrapped in the perfections of Thy Son.
Thou has made the heavens and the earth, and everything that is under the earth. Thou didst speak angels and galaxies, suns and stars, into existence, and they all adore Thee. Thou didst fashion us from the dust of the ground, and didst breathe into us our very life. May we breathe out gratitude. When we had defiled the gift of earthly life, Thou didst extend Thy grace so far as to grant unto us eternal life, purchased at the expense of the blood of Thy Son.
We gather now to worship Him, and through Him, unto Thy glory, through the power of Thy Spirit.
In the strong name of Jesus we offer this prayer. Amen!
Look Unto Me…All the Ends of the Earth…
We are called to come before God. But we are not called to strut. It is not for us to casually saunter into the throne room of the Most High. We are invited to approach Him with boldness and with confidence, but this is not the same thing as presumption and complacency. We approach God with a boldness that trembles; a confidence that bows its head.
Our task here is to worship God; we have no program for the outside world besides this. But though we have no program for the world around us, we find that in the worship of God He has promises for the world around us. As we gather to worship God, and as we gather to worship Him rightly, the world around us can’t but be affected.
So don’t look outside our four walls—not because nothing is happening there, but rather because it will continue to happen to the extent that we gather here to look to Jesus Christ, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.
Our duty, in life and in death, is to look to Christ. Our duty, regardless of how we feel, is to look to Christ. This does not mean that you are to gaze off into the middle distance, or become some kind of transcendental mystic. Look for Him where He told you to look. You are to look to Him through sacraments—He has established His Church for a reason. Look to Him in your prayers, in the preaching of the Word, in the waters of baptism and in the bread and wine, and in the glad singing of psalms and hymns. When we are done, do not forget to look to Him in the table fellowship with one another this afternoon. Taste and see that He is good, for He is in our midst.
Then having done your duty in worship, look around you at the world, in faith. He is there and He is not silent. He is not idle either. The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ.