We had a wonderful night of fellowship and worship to renew our hearts as we head into the fall. Stephen Gordon led us in singing, and we reflected on God’s story of redemption through scripture. Megan Houston and Lori Shamblin shared how God has been at work in their lives this year, especially through community found with other women. Preston Adair led us in a prayer of thanksgiving that helped us all to pause and see God’s gifts in our lives, big and small. It was a special night, and we wish you all could have joined us. For those who missed this event (or even for those who were there and just want to revisit the program), we’re sharing the order of worship for the night. Following the simple intentional of ACTS, we purposefully adored the LORD, confessed our sins, gave thanks, and asked God to work in our lives through supplication. May this post be worshipful to you and serve as a resource for you during this season.
God, you are the Creator of all things. And when you saw all that you had made, you declared it “very good.” (Gen. 1:31) Even before You made the world, God, you loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in your eyes. (Eph. 1:4)
And though sin entered the world in the Garden, Father, you had already planned our rescue through a Redeemer who would crush the serpent’s head and strike his heel, conquering sin and death. (Gen. 3:15)
You are a Covenant Keeping God. You told our father Abraham: “I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.” (Gen. 17:7)
And, “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? (Exodus 15:11)
God, you are our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. (Ps. 46:1)
You have promised to be with us. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
And though life on this side of eternity is hard, we know that you will restore all things. We say with the psalmist, “Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth, you will again bring me up.” (Ps. 71:20)
You came, Jesus, to show us God the Father. You are the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by You all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by You and for You. You were before all things, and in You all things hold together. You are the head of the body, the church; You are the beginning and the firstborn from the dead, so that in everything, You might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in You, and through You to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through Your blood, shed on the cross. (Col. 1:15-20)
And when you returned to the Father, Jesus, you sent your Holy Spirit to dwell with us. You gave us the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, to teach us all things and to remind us of everything you have said to us. The Spirit of Truth guides us in all truth (John 14:26; 15:13)
You are making all things new. We praise you that if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
You are a patient God. You are not slow in keeping your promises, as some understand slowness. You are patient with us, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
One day you will return and rule and reign completely. Your dwelling with be with men, and You will live with us. We will be your people. You will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will pass away. You will be on the throne declaring, “I am making everything new!” (Rev. 21: 3-4)
God, you are our Eternal, Unchanging Father. You say, “I am he; I am the first and the last. My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together.” (Isaiah 48:12-13) “I the LORD do not change.” (Malachi 3:6)
Jesus Christ, you are the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) And we say with the heavenly hosts, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come.” (Rev. 4:8)
My soul is chastened within me, O God. Yet even in this crush of conviction there flickers a spark of hope, for you have told us you discipline those whom you love.
I have run from your presence and from my conscience, but I would run no more, O Lord. I have hidden myself in shadows, seeking to avoid your face, even as did my father Adam and my mother Eve in their first guilt.
I have drawn away from the sound of your voice, fearful of what you might speak, fearful of what obedience might require, for I have sinned, O Father, and I am pained at this thought, and shamed to bring my faults into the light.
Forgive me, O Lord, lest I despair. Restore me, lest I be forever lost. For your pardon alone is sufficient to my peace; and your death to my resurrection. Embrace me again to life and to right standing with you, O God.
I am always, every moment, in need of you.
Taken from Every Moment Holy
Allow this prayer by Scotty Smith to stir an attitude of gratefulness for all of the small and great ways that God is at work in the world and in your life.
Heavenly Father, I woke up in Montana today, and it is jump-starting my joy and fueling my worship. Thank you for commanding Sabbath rest and daily joy. If you never commended (and commanded) the enjoyment of life, we’d probably go to the extremes of presuming the right to simple joys, feeling guilty about having fun, or worshipping pleasure altogether.
So today we’re slowing down enough just to say thank you. Thank you for designing us for rest, pleasure, and delight. Thank you for giving us sensate responders, nerve endings, and smile muscles. Father, thank you for taste buds, acoustic responders, and optic wiring. Thank you for intending joy to be our traveling companion all the way Home.
Thank you for the aroma of anything baking with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon on it; for Aspen leaves dancing in rhythm to a breeze, and the beauty of hand-painted trout (we hope to catch today). Thank you for rainbows after the storm, memory-connecting songs, and that first big bite of flourless chocolate cake.
Thank you for unrushed conversations, snort-producing laughter, and burden-bearing love. Thank you for water-color painting, Jesus’ prayers for our joy, and the freedom to feel what we feel in the moment. Thank you for good naps, heartache-weathered friendships, and the Smith River. Thank you for photography, hiking, and the perfect kale salad.
Above all, Father, thank you that the gospel is absolutely true, incomparably beautiful, and inexhaustibly good. Our ongoing work under the sun has meaning because of the finished work of your beloved Son. Because of your outrageous love for us in Jesus, and your sovereignty over all things, we will rejoice and be glad today. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ holy and loving name.
Nancy Guthrie directs our prayers to the Father to be anchored in what he has promised us in his Word. Ask him for that which will last despite our circumstances.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism for Young Children asks the question, what is prayer? The answer: “Prayer is asking God for things which he has promised to give.” Are we praying for things God has promised to give—like his presence with us, his Word guiding us, his power working in us, his purpose accomplished through us? Or are we limited to praying only for what he has not promised to give—complete physical healing and wholeness in the here and now?
To go deeper than praying only for deliverance means that we approach prayer not as a tool to manipulate God to get what we want, but as a way to submit to what he wants. Through prayer, we draw close to him in our need. We tell him that we will not insist on our predetermined positive outcome but want to welcome him to have his way, accomplish his purpose.
As a women's ministry, we are looking forward to reading and studying Nancy Guthrie's book Even Better than Eden, that will "trace nine themes that run from Genesis to Revelation in the Bible. Each reveals how God’s plan for the new creation will be far more glorious than the original" and then join other women from our area in January for a conference (stay tuned for details!) to hear from the author.