Call to Worship:
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands!
Salutation: Pastor: In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit!
The Lord be with you! Ruth 2:4
And also with you!
Our help is in the Name of Yahweh, Psalm 124:8
Who made heaven and earth!
I would like to begin this week and the next two Lord’s Days with exhortations on the topic of prayer.
Richard Pratt in his wonderful book Pray With Your Eyes Open calls the Christian Church to defend our petitions before God on the basis of God’s promises. If there is one thing this morning that we are all guilty of is the fact that we do not pray enough. You may feel like you pray as much as you get around, but do you feel that your prayer for your children is consistent with your love for your children? How about your prayer for you espouse? How about your prayer for your Church?
One of the most foolish arguments I have ever heard against the Reformed faith is the argument that “If God is in control of everything then why do I need to pray?” Now I do not deny that perhaps some in the Reformed faith fall for this type of thinking, but the reality is that the Bible’s view is that God is in control and that is precisely why you pray. Our belief in God’s sovereignty ought to encourage us to pray.
I want to stress that the God of Scriptures is not an emotionless, unmoved Mover. Rather He is fully engaging and willing to interact with His chosen people in prayer and he calls us to do this over and over.
We see a clear example of this in Exodus 32. Moses is up on the mountains and the people are at the foot of the mountain dancing, drinking uncontrollably, singing and feasting to a false God. Yahweh is ready to wipe them out and then Moses jumps in the picture.
What does Moses do? Moses pleads with God so that God will not destroy the nation of Israel. Moses is engaged with God and seeks to convince God for what he is looking for and what He wants. Brothers and Sisters, we do not believe in fatalism, we believe in Providence and providence is relational.
Moses comes to God and asks God not to destroy Israel on the basis of His promises. What are these promises?
a) First, Moses appeals to God on the basis of His love for the people of Israel. Moses’ prayer was: “Lord this is your people; the apple of your eye. Do not destroy them.”
b) Secondly, Moses says that if God destroys the Israelites, then the Egyptians will laugh at God’s people. And when the enemies laugh at God’s people, God is not glorified as He should.
c) Finally, Moses appeals unto God on the basis of His promise to multiply the seed of Abraham. Moses says in essence, “ Yahweh, what about your plans to make the nations your inheritance. What about your plans to fulfill your Word? Those people at the foot of the mountain, they are Abraham’s seed. Preserve them, O God!”
What does God do? Does He wipe Moses out for being so bold? No! The answer to this prayer is that God relented from the disaster He had spoken and did not destroy the people of Israel. God’s response was “Moses, you understand my Word!”
For us this morning, when was the last time we prayed on the basis of God’s promises to love the people of God, to not be mocked by wicked nations and to fill the earth with His glory? What if we began praying not by giving God a list, but by reminding God of His covenant promises? What if our prayers were like the rainbow after the flood, which served as a perpetual reminder unto God that He will never destroy the earth? What if we prayed with Biblical eyes? Let us Pray.
Prayer: Our Father and our God, remember your love for us, O Lord. You have promised to care for us. Remember your glory, O Lord. Let not Your enemies mock your people, but rather give victory to your Church. And remember, O Lord to fulfill your promises to multiply the seed of Abraham through your beloved Son. Remember and bring to pass Your will on earth as it is in Heaven.
Confession of Sin (The congregation is invited to kneel if able)
Unison: Most merciful God, we confess to you that we are by nature sinful and unclean, and that we are most miserably helpless before our adversaries. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed; not only in outward transgressions, but also in secret thoughts and desires that we are not able to understand, but which are all known to you. For these reasons, we flee for refuge to your infinite mercy, seeking and imploring forgiveness and deliverance through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.