Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday worship

"This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. The seeds along the path are those who have heard. Then the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the seeds on the rock are those who, when they hear, welcome the word with joy. Having no root, these believe for a while and depart in a time of testing. As for the seed that fell among thorns, these are the ones who, when they have heard, go on their way and are choked with worries, riches, and pleasures of life, and produce no mature fruit. But the seed in the good ground—these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, bear fruit.

"No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a basket or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand so that those who come in may see the light. For nothing is concealed that won't be revealed, and nothing hidden that won't be made known and come to light. Therefore, take care how you listen. For whoever has, more will be given to him; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken away from him."
Luke 8:11-18, CSB


Father, for two thousand years, your church, the bride of Christ, has used each Sunday to worship you in community. For you are worthy of all our worship, and you alone deserve worship. Your people, from the beginning of mankind, have worshipped you as the creator and sustainer of the entire universe. And for thousands of years, your chosen people of Israel worshipped you as the God who made a covenant with his people. And for two millennia, your church has worshipped you as the loving father who was not willing for us to remain estranged from you and so devised a way for us to be rejoined into relationship with you. We worship you and love you because you first loved us.

I ask that on this Sunday, throughout the world, as your people gather together to hear your word, we will be like the good ground. We will hear your word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, bear fruit. Open our hearts to hear your word and see great things in it. Fill us with your goodness, wisdom and love by your Spirit.

And as your word takes hold of us, I ask that your church would be like the lamp placed on a high table, bringing light to the entire room, destroying the darkness that causes people to stumble. May we be like a city on a hill, beautiful in the distance calling out to those wandering in the desert, offering safety and comfort, shining as a beacon to this lost and dying world. May people throughout the world, on this day, see the church and be like travelers who, after crossing a great distance, finally see their destination and are filled with hope and joy at the thought of passing through our gates. I ask that you would call people who do not know you and that you would take out their hearts of stone and replace them with hearts of flesh so that they could hear and love the voice of Jesus.

I pray that you will bless the untold number of missionaries throughout the world who do not have churches to gather with on Sundays; and I pray for the millions of Christians around the globe that meet together in secret and at the risk of their own lives. May they be like Jason and the other disciples who were charged with turning the world upside down (Acts 17:5-7).

I ask all these things because I know you are great and able to accomplish whatever you plan. No plan of yours can be thwarted. And I ask these things in the name of Jesus who makes it possible for me to approach you as a son. Amen.

No comments: