Worshiping Through Corporate Reading and Prayer: An Example
When we gather to worship, we want to hear from God and communicate back to Him. Thus, we read His Word and pray. Our normal practice is to read two passages of Scripture that support the theme of the sermon text, one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament. After each of these Scripture readings, one of our men prays on behalf of all who are present. His prayer will align closely with the Scripture just read, will be carefully thought out, and will be offered sincerely from his heart and ours.
Reading and praying, receiving and responding, inhaling and exhaling like this is a beautiful and essential part of a biblically healthy worship service. Here is an example of the reading and prayer on March 22, 2015 led by one of our members, Jonathan Horton. Notice especially how the prayer flows out of the text in worship of Jesus, confession of sin, and praise for the gospel.
LISTEN TO THE READING AND PRAYER
WORSHIP THEME: Jesus is coming again!
SCRIPTURE READING: Revelation 22:6-21
And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”
“And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”
And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ,
We praise and worship You today as our Coming King, who will soon return in total victory over all things. The promise of Your Return is sure, and nothing can delay it from happening. All of human history is building towards that one eternal crescendo, from Creation, to the Covenants, to the Cross, to the establishment of the Church, and finally to your Coming. On that Day, every knee will bow to You as the only king, and Your glorious reign will never end. Your Bride, the Church, will reign with you in resplendent glory; not because of her merit, but because of Your great mercy and grace. Come quickly, Lord! Your Church eagerly awaits You.
Lord, we must confess that individually we do not give as much thought to Your return as we ought. We often live as though everything will continue on as before. Each day is filled with preoccupations about earthly things, and we forget the big picture, that this world’s system is quickly passing away. If our priorities were right, Lord, we would be more generous with what we have, more diligent in spreading the Gospel, more persistent in prayer, and more disciplined in our pursuit of holiness. Lord, You have redeemed us for now and for eternity. Your righteous life and death of sacrifice for us fill up all of our sinful deficiencies, and we praise and thank You for that. Open our eyes to see the realness and the suddenness of Your Coming. We are Your servants, and we have many good works to complete on this earth while there is still time. When You come, may You find us busy with Your business, and not wallowing in sin and worldliness. For anyone here who does not know You as their Lord and Savior, You call out to them in this passage from Revelation, urging them to come and be washed of their sins, and to come and drink freely from the living water that gives eternal life. May they come quickly to You today! When You come, it will be too late to make amends. For thousands of years, Your call for repentance has gone out throughout the world. We dare not presume on Your patience any longer. Lord, please draw each one here swiftly to Yourself.
Lord Jesus, please come quickly! We long to be with You and to be completely free from sin and all of its effects. We long to give You our undivided attention in worship, free from every distraction, and full of holy passion. Help us to experience a taste of that today. In Your Holy and Righteous Name we pray, Amen.