Hear, O Lord, and answer: A service of prayer

Emily Sybesma, is a member of the worship committee at First Christian Reformed Church, Sioux Center, Iowa. She planned the service together with Sue De Young and Ron Rynders; the readings and prayers after the sermon, prepared by Lewis Arkema, are based on the acronym ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication).

The Opening


“All Praise to Thee, My God, This Night” (Robert Hobby in 3 Hymns of Praise, MSM-10-7570)
“O God, Our Help In Ages Past,” (arr. Lani Smith, Lorenz 70/1243L-19)

Welcome and Greetings

Opening Hymn

“Spirit Divine, Inspire Our Prayer” PsH 421, PH 325

Prayer from Psalm 86

Hear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.

Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long.

Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy.

In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me.

Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth;

Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.


“Lord, I Pray” PsH 268; see also RW 27:20
“Father, We Love You” PsH 634, SFL 77, TWC 10
(without piano introduction)

The Proclamation of the Word

Scripture Reading: Colossians 3:1-4; 4:2-4

Psalm 85

Sing the refrain “The Steadfast Love of the Lord Never Ceases” (Maranatha! Praise Chorus Book 3, 306; Renew! 23) at the beginning of the reading and after verses 7 and 13.

Sermon: “The Challenge to Pray”

Hymn of Response

“Make Me a Channel of Your Peace” PsH 545; see also choral arr. with descant, OCP 10762CC

The Service of Prayer

Heidelberg Catechism

Lord’s Day 45, Q&A 116-118 (read responsively), Psalter Hymnal worship edition, p. 916


“Hear, O Lord, My Urgent Prayer” PsH 5

stanzas 1, 3

Responsive Reading

Lord, teach us to pray.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thess. 5:16-18)

Lord, teach us to adore you, to praise you.

Praise the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, O my soul. (Ps. 103:1, 20-22)

Prayer of Adoration (Prayer Leader)

Silent Prayer of Adoration (All)

Responsive Reading

Lord, teach us to be honest in our confession of our sins.

Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity and in whose spirit there is no deceit. While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the guilt of my sin. (Ps. 32:1-5, NRSV)

Prayer of Confession (Prayer Leader)

Silent Prayer of Confession (All)

Responsive Reading

Lord, teach us to be thankful.

Lord, help us to overflow with thankfulness. Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. And whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col. 2:7; Ps. 100; Col. 3:17)

Prayer of Thankfulness (Prayer Leader)

Silent Prayer of Thankfulness (All)

Responsive Reading

Lord, teach us to intercede, especially for the needs of others.

May my cry come before you, O Lord, give me understanding according to your word. May my supplication come before you. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted to us in answer to the prayers of many. I urge you, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, and intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone. Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. (Ps. 119:169-170; 2 Cor. 1:11; 1 Tim. 2:1; Matt.7: 7-8, NRSV)

Prayer of Supplication (Prayer Leader)

Silent Prayer of Supplication (All)

Responsive Reading

Lord, teach us to pray, even as you taught your disciples to pray, saying, “Our Father in heaven . . .”

Sung Response

“May Your Kingdom Come” Maranatha! Praise Chorus Book 2, 223



“The Day You Gave Us, Lord, Is Ended” (arr. Dickens, in Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, Lillinas)

The Dismissal

Parting Hymn

“The Day You Gave Us, Lord, Is Ended” PsH 318, PH 546, RL 516, TH 407



“Now Thank We All Our God” (Burkhardt, in Praise and Thanksgiving, Set 5, MSM-10-755)


Service Notes

  • The four prayer leaders (representing both genders and a variety of age groups) used cordless microphones and remained seated at different locations in the sanctuary.
  • Silent prayers (lasting about one minute) were introduced by the prayer leader with words such as “Now hear our silent prayers of adoration (confession, thanksgiving, supplication).
  • The service of prayer began with the responsive reading of Lord’s Day 45, Q&A 116-118, and the service of prayer ended with the Lord’s Prayer, which is Q&A 119 from that same Lord’s Day.
  • • The songs were chosen with an eye to providing both children and older members with songs that they would recognize and love.
  • A sextet sang “May Your Kingdom Come” after the Lord’s Prayer—very fitting as the text is part of that prayer.

Emily Sybesma is a member of the worship committee at First Christian Reformed Chruch, Sioux Center, Iowa.


Reformed Worship 58 © December 2000 Worship Ministries of the Christian Reformed Church. Used by permission.