(Prayer and exhortation given during a regular worship service at Berean Bible Church where I serve as minister)
Almighty God and Father of our Lord Jesus, we come before Thee now robed in the gifts and graces of Thy perfect Son, our Savior and our Lord.
We bow before Thee knowing that all the earth keeps silence before Thee. We submit ourselves to Thy lordship, knowing that the heavens obey Thy every word. We sing unto Thee, knowing that Thou art the source of all glory and beauty.
We praise and adore Thy infinite attributes as they were—eternally glorious in Thee before the worlds were made. But we also rejoice in the fact that all created things declare and reveal the perfections which were once locked away in the mystery of Thy eternity.
We acknowledge that the greatest of mountains are tiny before Thee and the stars are dust at Thy feet. We exult in the fact that this creation, as immense and beautiful as it is, reveals that Thou art infinitely greater still. When we see the glory of the universe, let us see it as but the dim shining of Thy own uncreated brightness. Let us not be distracted by the things that are made but through them let us be brought to adore the Maker of all things. The whole of creation sings the wonder of its Triune Lord. We now add our feeble voices to the chorus.
We bless Thee as our Maker, Sustainer, Redeemer, and Father. To this end Thou has taught us to pray,
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen
Flying Sparks and Silver Bells
The book of Job tells us that man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. In other words, affliction is not a rare thing in this troubled world of ours.
Because we believe in the absolute sovereignty of God, we know that all of our afflictions come to us from His loving hand. This, and only this, is the source of our consolation, comfort, and contentment. This is our hope.
God is not the author of sin, but He is the Author of every story, our stories included, in which sin plays a significant and indispensable part. But He is also the Author and Finisher of our faith. So with every burden He also gives us the ability to believe.
But what is it that we are to believe? Our credo is one of joyful trust that says, “I believe that all things work together for my highest good and His highest glory.” Every cancer, every, wayward child, every financial trial, every untimely death, every troubled marriage, every unconverted loved one, every chronic illness, is part of God’s perfect and unshakable counsel.
So as you worship God, set aside the distraction, the worry, and the anxiety. Worry is the opposite of faith. Thank God for His sovereignty, and the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds. Your hearts and minds are not competent to guard the peace of God. The peace of God guards you.
This is how you are to come to worship God in the midst of all your afflictions, both great and small. As one old Puritan put it, a sanctified person is like a silver bell—the harder he is smitten, the better he sounds and the sweeter the music.