Judges 16:2-4
“The people of Gaza were told, ‘Samson is here!’  So they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate.  They made no move during the night, saying, ‘At dawn we’ll kill him.’  But Samson lay there only until the middle of the night.  Then he got up and took hold of the doors of the city gate, together with the two posts, and tore them loose, bar and all.  He lifted them to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron.”

Psalm 107:15-16
“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.”

Micah 2:13
“One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out.  Their king will pass through before them, the Lord at their head.”

Mighty God, we praise you for your great acts of power on our behalf.

falling gate Castle Vajdahunjad in Budapest HungaryYou break through barricades that keep us imprisoned.  Despite the iron bars imposed by doubt and circumstance, you forge the way to freedom.

By your strength and mercy release us from the city of sin.  Lead us out with glad songs to a place of joy.

We ask this in the name of Christ, who broke through the gates of hell for us, carrying redemption upon his shoulders.

Listen to ‘Hail the Day’ by Simply Sing

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Exodus 34:29
“When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.”

2 Corinthians 4:6
“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

Numbers 6:24-26
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

Lord of heaven, you display your love in glorious light.

shineThough we cannot see you, we recognize your presence by radiant reflections on peaceful faces.  When you turn toward us, all shadows of shame disappear.

Look upon us with mercy and bright blessing.  Shine in our dark hearts and transform our world-weariness into glory.

We ask this for Jesus’ sake; your light made visible and the face turned to us in peace.

Listen to ‘May God Keep You’ by Ordinary Time

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Romans 1:20
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

1 Kings 4:30a, 32-34a
“Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East…He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five.  He described plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls.  He also taught about animals and birds, reptiles and fish.  Men of all nations came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom…”

John 1:1-3
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

Creator King, your handiwork humbles us with bliss and wonder.

creationYou call us to examine the work of your hands so that we might know your heart.  In the study of creation’s complexities we discern your hidden truths, adding wisdom to knowledge.

Help us to love you with curious minds in the spirit of awe.  Do not let us forget to be fascinated with the world you have crafted for our home.

We ask this by the Word that spoke all things into being, our living Saviour and earth’s Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Listen to ‘All Creatures of Our God and King’ by West Coast Revival

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Zechariah 9:16
“The Lord their God will save them on that day as the flock of his people.  They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown.”

Isaiah 62:3
“You will be a crown of splendour in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.”

Revelation 19:12, 16
“His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns…On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:  KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

Great and mighty King, your name shines brighter than the glory of gemstones and gold.

You searched for us and unearthed us from dark places.  With loving precision you shaped us with a thousand facets to reveal your light and beauty.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABecause the touch of your hand has made us prized and precious, place us as jewels in your crown.  May we, like holy ornaments, sparkle with the splendour of your majesty.

Thank you for your mercy to us, that we should be made worthy to share in the adornment of Christ.

Listen to ‘Hast Thou Heard Him, Seen Him, Known Him?’ by Morgan Bennett

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2 Kings 13:20-21
“Elisha died and was buried.  Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring.  Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb.  When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.”

Matthew 27:50-53
“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.  At that moment the…earth shook and the rocks split.  The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.  They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.”

Romans 6:8-10
“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  For since we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.  The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.”

Triumphant Lord God, your power pulses over creation giving life and breath.

You claim victory over the cruel tomb.  By uniting ourselves with your righteous death, our dead souls are raised to life.

tombBreak open the stones that seal us in silent graves.  Strengthen our hope in the resurrection of our bodies, made possible by the spirit you surrendered.

This we ask only because of Jesus Christ, who welcomes us into his death to save us from its final sting.

Listen to ‘Love’s Redeeming Work is Done’ by High Street Hymns

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Song for a Son

1 Samuel 2:1a, 7-8
“Then Hannah prayed and said:  ‘My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high…The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.  He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.’”

Luke 1:46-48a, 51-52
“And Mary said:  ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant…He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.  He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.’”

Isaiah 54:1
“‘Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,’ says the Lord.”

Holy Father, the cry of earth is a heaven-sent longing for a future fulfillment.

song for a sonEach generation seeks hope, promised by the arrival of a child.  To the humble you give the Son who truly saves.

Teach us to sing for the joy of barrenness broken by your surprising birth.  With a melody of praise we welcome you as the gift our hearts have truly desired.

In the name of the Son who has become the eternal song, we lift grateful voices to you.

Listen to ‘My Savior’s Love Endures’ featuring JJ Heller

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Nehemiah 2:1-5
“…in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king.  I had not been sad in his presence before; so the king asked me, ‘Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill?  This can be nothing but sadness of heart.’  I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, ‘…Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers were buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?’…Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, ‘If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it.’”

Esther 7:1-4a
“So the king and Haman went to dine with Queen Esther, and as they were drinking wine on that second day, the king again asked, ‘Queen Esther, what is your petition?…Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.’  Then Queen Esther answered, ‘If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life—this is my petition.  And spare my people—this is my request.  For I and my people have been sold for destruction and slaughter and annihilation.’”

1 Corinthians 11:25
“In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’”

Almighty God, you rule in power in order to disperse all fear.

requestOver wine, Christ the King lays a request before us.  He asks us to remember that he has absorbed all crimes of destruction, and we his people can be saved.

In taking the cup, help us honour this petition.  May we humbly acknowledge the restoration that has already been accomplished by his blood.

For Jesus’ sake we pray, whose table we share and with whom we drink in remembrance.

Listen to ‘When I Approach My God’ by Wayfarer

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1 Samuel 8:4-7
“So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah.  They said to him, ‘You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.’  But when they said, ‘Give us a king to lead us,’ this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord.  And the Lord told him, ‘Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.’”

John 6:14-15
“After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, ‘Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.’  Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.”

1 Timothy 1:17
“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.  Amen.”

Lord of all lords, no sceptre rivals yours, no crown carries more authority.

kingWe seek strength by alliances with earthly powers, and put our trust in favourable politics.  We worship those we have placed on your pedestal.

Reign so completely in our hearts that we campaign only for your kingdom.  Raise up leaders obedient to the call of servanthood under your guiding hand.

In the name of Jesus Christ we ask this, who did not grasp the honours of a king, but abdicated to death and rose as our royal redeemer.

Listen to ‘Jesus Shall Reign’ (track 2) by Enfield

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Nehemiah 1:2-6a
“…Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.  They said to me, ‘Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace.  The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.’  When I heard these things, I sat down and wept.  For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.  Then I said:  ‘O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel.’”

Acts 13:2-4
“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’  So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.”

Matthew 5:6
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

Humbly we come before you, Lord God, knowing you turn your ear to your kneeling servants.

You judge the intentions of our hearts by the control we permit our bodies.  In seeking your counsel we put aside our own attachments and desires.

fastingMay hunger for the work of your hand exceed our craving for the passing pleasure of a meal.  Hear our prayers when we first seat ourselves at the good table you have prepared.

In Christ’s name we pray, who denied himself the rich taste of your presence so that we might know fullness beyond compare.

Listen to ‘Breathe (O Breath of Life)’ by Hope College Worship

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Deuteronomy 15:1-2
“At the end of seven years you must cancel debts.  This is how it is to be done:  Every creditor shall cancel the loan he has made to his fellow Israelite.  He shall not require payment from his fellow Israelite or brother, because the Lord’s time for cancelling debts has been proclaimed.”

Matthew 18:24-30
“As [the king] began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.  Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.  The servant fell to his knees before him.  ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’  The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.  But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii.  He grabbed him and began to choke him.  ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.  His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’  But he refused.  Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.”

Romans 13:8
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he whoever loves has fulfilled the law.”

You, O gracious Lord, as the master of mercy, take delight in generous accounting.

You suffered a loss to gain back our souls.  Because of your pardon we are freed from the penalty applied for our insufficient obedience.

debtForgive us for our poverty of love, as we forgive those who fail to love us.  May we reciprocate in grace all we owe for your mercy.

We ask this in the name of Christ, who cancelled our debt by offering his life as a complete and perfect payment.

Listen to ‘White as Snow’ by Songs of Grace


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