February 17, 2019
This week we'll focus on prayer as our liturgical theme. Our songs will then be comprised of prayers that have been set to music whether in part or in whole. An overarching sub-theme is that our prayers are heard in a powerful way because of our union with Christ. (Romans 8:1-4; 1 Cor. 1:30-31; 2 Cor. 5:17) (Further Reading Link: What is Union with Christ?)
Prelude - "What A Friend We Have In Jesus"
We'll welcome a string quartet from our orchestra to join us in worship this week so the prelude will feature them as an instrumental. The hymn speaks of many circumstances and gives us some great perspective for the morning in the first verse, "What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!" (Phil. 4:4-7)
"All Praise To God, Who Reigns Above"
We'll open our corporate singing with an organ and strings version of this hymn. The third verse well frames our theme for the morning: "I cried to him in time of need: Lord God, O hear my calling! For death, he gave me life indeed and kept my feet from falling. For this my thanks shall endless be; O thank him, thank our God with me. To God all praise and glory!" (Ps. 18:6; 107:13-15)
"Great Are You Lord"
The entirety of this song is a prayer sung corporately to God. It shows that even the breath we breathe belongs to the Lord so we give our praises to him alone; the giver of life and love. The same word for breath or wind in both the Hebrew and the Greek can also mean Spirit so there's a good double meaning to the line, "It's your breath in our lungs so we pour out our praise to you only." It could just as well read, "It's your spirit within us so we pour out our praise to you only." My favorite line is found in the bridge when we all proclaim, "All the earth will shout your praise. Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing, great are you Lord!" (Job 33:4; Ps. 66:4)
We'll continue to learn our new song this week. The most applicable way to think about this song in relation to our theme is through the presentation of the gospel and the truth that now we have a great high priest who is our living hope. He ever lives to intercede for us and we can pray in faith knowing that he stands as our mediator before the Father. (Heb. 7:23-25)
Anthem - "Through The Door"
The anthem continues to sing the idea of our assurance that our prayers are heard not by our own goodness but by the merits of our great high priest. We come before the Father clothed in the righteousness and finished work of Christ: "Through the door, through the cross, through the Lamb slain for us, we come. Through the One crucified, through the way, the Truth, the life, we come." (Heb. 4:14-16)
Communion - "Rock Of Ages"
This is simply another hymn that is a sung prayer to God and speaks powerfully of justification, "Be of sin the double cure, cleanse me from its guilt and power." "Rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee." (Romans 5:18-21)
Response - "Great Is Thy Faithfulness"
We finish the morning with another prayer set to music that ends again with our status as joined with Christ by his pardon, peace, presence, strength, hope, and blessing. "Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth; thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide, strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow; blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!" (Lam. 3:21-23)