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Pray Continually

A Service of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication

This prayer service is designed to help us pray through the spoken and sung Word as well as to learn about prayer through the preached Word. The service outline itself is a lesson in prayer: it’s based on the ACTS prayer pattern of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.

In the thanksgiving section, people are invited to simultaneously share testimonies of thanksgiving in a word, phrase, or sentence spoken right from their seat. This is meant to be a great cacophony of sound, a room full of expressions of thanks.

In the supplication section, those present are invited to come forward to request prayers for whatever may be on their heart by writing the request on a large sheet of paper on a table placed in a prominent place in the sanctuary. While this is happening, an instrumentalist could play quietly in the background. After people have had a chance to write down their requests, the pastor, an elder, or another attendant prays over them, naming or summarizing the requests as led.

Gathering

Gathering Song
“Your Name” Baloche and Packiam, LUYH 375
“Awit sa Dapit-Hapon/When Twilight Comes” Andrade and Feliciano, LUYH 391

Call to Worship and Prayer
Come to me,
all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
—Matthew 11:28–30

God, we have come in need of your rest.
Send your Holy Spirit here among us
to assure us of your presence
and to open our minds and hearts to you.
Amen.

God’s Greeting
People of God,
be assured that the triune God
is here among us,
and receive his greeting.

Grace and peace to you from him who is,
and who was, and who is to come,
and from the seven spirits before his throne,
and from Jesus Christ,
who is the faithful witness,
the firstborn from the dead,
and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
—Revelation 1:4–5

Adoration

Psalm of Adoration
It is good to praise the Lord
      and make music to your name, O Most High,
proclaiming your love in the morning
     and your faithfulness at night,
to the music of the ten-stringed lyre
     and the melody of the harp.

For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord;
     I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
How great are your works, Lord,
     how profound your thoughts!
. . . You, Lord, are forever exalted.
—Psalm 92:1–5, 8

Prayer of Adoration
You, O God, are mighty forever.
You cause the wind to blow and the rain to fall.
You sustain the living, give life to the dead,
support the falling, loose those who are bound.
Who is like you, O God of mighty acts?
Praise be to you forever.
Amen.
—adapted from a first-century daily Jewish liturgy, P.D.

Songs of Adoration
“Better Is One Day” Redman, LUYH 506
“Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” Robinson, LUYH 521, GtG 475, PsH 486

Confession

Call to Confession
The proof of God’s amazing love is this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Let us therefore
approach the throne of grace with boldness,
so that we may receive mercy
and find grace to help in time of need.
Trusting in God’s faithfulness and compassion,
let us confess our sin before God and one another.
—based on Romans 5:8; Hebrews 4:16, NRSV

Prayer of Confession
Our Father,
forgive us for thinking small thoughts of you
and for ignoring your immensity and greatness.

Lord Jesus,
forgive us when we forget
that you rule the nations and our small lives.

Holy Spirit,
we offend you in minimizing your power
and squandering your gifts.

O triune God,
we confess that our blindness to your glory
has resulted in shallow confession,
tepid conviction,
and only mild repentance.
Have mercy upon us.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
—Reformed Worship 27:42, adapt.

Sung Prayer of Confession
“Have Thine Own Way, Lord” Pollard, LUYH 737, PsH 287

Assurance of Pardon
What then are we to say about these things?
If God is for us, who is against us?
He who did not withhold his own Son,
but gave him up for all of us,
will he not with him also give us everything else?

Who will bring any charge against God’s elect?
It is God who justifies.

Who is to condemn?
It is Christ Jesus, who died,
yes, who was raised,
who is at the right hand of God,
who indeed intercedes for us.

Who will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine,
or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors
through him who loved us.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor rulers,
nor things present, nor things to come,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

—Romans 8:31–35, 37–39, NRSV

Song of Commitment
“Be Thou My Vision” Irish, LUYH 859 GtG 450

Thanksgiving

Testimonies of Thanksgiving
How has God blessed you? What are you thankful for? You are invited to shout a word or phrase declaring what you are grateful for or giving expression to your thankfulness. Let all the shouts and sounds overlap and join together in a symphony of praise.

Prayer of Thanksgiving
Loving God,
you take care of all our needs
and love us more than we can imagine.
You have given us everything,
and we always need you.
Thank you for never leaving us.
Thank you for guiding us as we worship you
and for speaking to us through Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
—Reprinted by permission from The Worship Sourcebook, © 2004, Faith Alive Christian Resources.

Prayer for Illumination
“Lord, Speak to Me That I May Speak” Havergal, LUYH 754, GtG 722, PsH 528

Scripture Reading
1 Thessalonians 5:16–24

Message
“Pray Continually”

Profession of Faith
People of God, why do Christians need to pray?
Because prayer is the most important part
of the thankfulness God requires of us.
And also because God gives his grace and Holy Spirit
only to those who pray continually and groan inwardly,
asking God for these gifts
and thanking God for them.

—Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 116

Song of Response
“I Need Thee Every Hour” Hawks, LUYH 322, GtG 735

Supplication

Prayer Table
This is an opportunity to share your own prayer requests for yourself, others, our church, our community, the nation, and the world. While the music plays you are invited to make your way forward to the table and write your concern on the paper provided.
Spoken Prayer for All that was Shared

Song
“Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying” Medema, LUYH 896, GtG 469, PsH 625

Blessing
May God himself, the God of peace,
sanctify you through and through.
May your whole spirit, soul and body
be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
—1 Thessalonians 5:23–24

Parting Song
“Jesus, Draw Me Ever Nearer” Becker and Getty, LUYH 660
“God Be with You Till We Meet Again” Rankin, LUYH 944, GtG 541, PsH 316