Worship ~ part 1

The following is the article I submitted to The News Tribune (Tacoma) for Sunday, June 6. It is part one of two focusing on worship in what looks to be a post-pandemic period. Part two will be published on June 20 so keep your eyes peeled. To God be the glory!


A question was posted on social media recently; a question that harvested a number of responses. Mine was not one of them, but I was tempted. I held off to carefully consider my response and not risk a full-scale social media debate that rarely produces anything constructive. Rather, I am choosing to share my response with you as a way to discern what is next for the church in what looks like a post-pandemic world. So first the question:

Does a Christian have to go to worship?

There are a couple things being inferred in this question, intentional or not – both of which are beyond the scope of a 500-word article I am allotted each time in this paper. So, consider this article part one, with part two coming on June 20. I realize the suspense may be difficult but please hang with me. I believe it will be worth your time.

The two inferences to the above question are, (1) Does a Christian have to worship, and (2) Does a Christian have to go to worship? I propose these two inferences because “going to worship” can imply the act of worship or a place where others gather for worship.  And both of these questions are important to consider in a post-pandemic world.

The first inference question, “Do I have to worship?”, has two responses from me. The first is that everyone worships whether you admit it or not. Worship is simply whatever or whomever you give utmost importance and attention. The second response is this, the question is un-Christian. What I mean, is that a Christian, one who has the Spirit of God living in them, bearing witness to their spirit that they are a child of God (Romans 8:12-17), does not ask this question. Why? Because worship of God the Father is a natural outflow because of what you know of God and what He has done for you. Through Jesus Christ, you are made righteous and thus are no longer under condemnation. God condemned sin in Jesus, that you may live. And when the sinner realizes this through the gift of faith, one’s heart explodes in worship. Worship takes many forms, but however it looks, it is done joyfully and without asking, “Do I have to?”. For a saved sinner, worship is as natural as breathing.

Can you see how this is an un-Christian question? Therefore, the only proper response to the question is this: NO! A Christian does not HAVE to worship. A Christian GETS to worship this awesome God. But the issue is definitely not settled because the next inference is this, which I will deal with on June 20, Does a Christian have to “go to” worship?” Is corporate worship – worshiping with others – important?

This is my response to part one of this question. More can be said, but that is enough for now. Prayerfully consider this question: Do you have to or do you get to worship? So there you have it. I’ll see you on the 20th. To God be the glory, Amen.

Worship Prayers ~ Hear My Prayer

Father God,
Lord of heaven and earth,
King of all creation,
Redeemer and Sustainer,
I praise Your great name.
You are worthy of all worship and then infinitely more.
Your great name is holy and therefore I seek honor it.
Your majesty is awesome, it leaves me speechless.
You reign on high and know every last star,
every grain of sand,
and every hair on my head.
You know all of this and yet You know the desires, joys and sorrows of my heart,
and not only know them
but deeply care about every last one.
O God,
I give You thanks and come before You with my prayer,
knowing that You hear me and give according to Your perfect and holy will.
You give me daily bread
and sustain me for Your glory.
And so here I am, O God in the name of Jesus.
Lord in You mercy,
Hear my prayer…

Worship Prayers ~ Your Church

Creator God,
through Your Holy Spirit
You knit Your people together,
and thus I take great comfort that Jesus is the head of the Church
and not sinful people.
You raise up leaders and provide for the Church
that we may glorify You in this dark world.
No one person is indispensable.
No one person carries the Body of believers on their own.
It is You and only You.
And since this is true,
create in Your Church a greater faith and confidence that,
though things may change over time,
You are always in control.
It is about Your will being done.
It is all about You.
O God,
hear my prayer in the name of Jesus my Lord and Savior,
Amen.

Worship Prayers ~ Pandemic

Sovereign God,
so many people have been impacted by this ongoing pandemic.
Families are stressed.
People are out of work.
Small businesses are fighting to stay open.
Students are struggling with the uncertainties surrounding
school,
sports,
and extra-curricular activities.
All of this take a toll, not just on those individuals, but on all people.
O God,
bring healing and restoration to this world
on such a scale that people have no choice but
to attribute it to your mighty and gracious hand,
thus giving You the glory.
Give hope to the hopeless.
Give strength to the weak.
Give resources to the depleted.
Give healing to the broken.
Give Life to Your people.
O God, hear my prayer in the name of Jesus my Lord,
Amen.

Worship Prayers ~ Redeemed

Father God,
You have redeemed me through the blood of the Lamb,
Jesus Christ Your dear Son.
You have set me free from the grip of sin and death.
You have given me the hope of the resurrection unto eternal life.
And thus,
You have given me a new story.
The old one has been done away with – crucified with the old Adam.
I have much in which to be thankful.
May this story be the one I joyfully live and share.
May it radiate from my very pores.
May it ooze out of every nook and cranny of my life,
so much so,
that people may see You in my good works, words and deeds
and give glory to You through Christ Jesus my Lord.
May the hope You have given me continue to draw me closer and closer to You;
transforming me more and more
into the likeness of Your dear Son;
my Savior.
O God,
hear my prayer in the name of Jesus,
Amen.

In the Here and Now

Father God, You are mighty in power. Your love knows no bounds. Your grace is absolutely amazing, and Your mercies are new every morning – great is Your faithfulness. My worship of You, in the here and now, is never enough and therefore You have created me for eternity through Jesus my Savior. In the here and now I cannot sing Your praises enough, therefore I look forward to shouting Your praises with all the saints in Your holy courts. In the here and now my words are insufficient to speak of Your greatness, therefore I look forward to seeing You face to face and seeing the fullness of Your glory. Oh God, through Jesus Christ, Your Son and my Lord, I long for nothing but You, in the here and now. Amen.

COVID-19 Prayer

Sovereign God, I acknowledge that there is nothing above you. I acknowledge that there is nothing outside Your power. And, I acknowledge that You are in perfect control. I do not understand this virus. I do not understand why it is persisting this long. People are dying and suffering. Lives have been turned upside down. So much frustration. So much confusion. But through it all, You are my constant. You reign on high. You are the giver of life. You are my God. So, I boldly ask that you destroy this virus – I know You can, but thy will be done. But whatever Your will may be, mold and shape me through this time. I do not want 2020 to be a bad number that passes my lips, but may 20/20 be the vision that I have of You in the midst of this pandemic. You have never left me and never will. Heal and strengthen my faith that I may always look to You through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Beautiful Feet Prayer

Holy God, as you sent beautiful feet to preach Good News to me;
make my ugly and sinful feet,
beautiful,
and send me.
Be gracious to me, oh God, and bless me;
make Your face shine upon me,
that Your way may be known to those I meet this day;
that Your saving power through Jesus Christ may be received.
May people come to praise You.
Oh God, may people come to praise
YOU.
Send me, oh God, send
ME.
Amen.

Living Waters

In preparation for worship…

Father God,
holy and mighty,
sovereign Creator,
gentle and powerful –
my vocabulary is limited in praising You as I try attribute all glory and honor to Your holy name, but in trying to find words, I spend more time gazing into Your beauty and thus that is not a bad thing. As I worship You
may I find peace in basking in Your love and joy in the hope of the resurrection, through Jesus Christ. As I drink from Your stream of everlasting and living waters, may Your love overflow from my heart and be a witness to this world. Satisfy me, oh God, so much so, that the temptations of the Evil One will fall unto deaf ears.
I pray this through Jesus Christ my Lord,
Amen.

Fill Us

Come, Holy Spirit come.
Fill us with your peace during this time of chaos.
Fill us with hope as our “normal” has been stripped away.
Fill us with healing as hatred seeks to divide this nation.
Fill us with love so we may see the heart of a person and not their exterior.
Fill us with the Truth that people around us may come to know Jesus.
Fill us with Life that we may not fear the sting of death.
Fill us with peace so that walls may come tumbling down.
Fill us with joy so we may live and work and play together as one family.
Come, Holy Spirit come.
Fill us with You.