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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Request

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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King

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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Fasting

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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Debt

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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Outstretched

Psalm 77:1-2
“I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me.  When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted.”

Exodus 17:8, 10-13
“The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim…So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill.  As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.  When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it.  Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.  So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.”

2 Corinthians 13:4
“For to be sure, [Christ] was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power.  Likewise we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him to serve you.”

Great Saviour, you welcome us into your presence when we come with empty, pleading hands.

outstretchedYou took our weakness and surrendered your strength.  From a hill you viewed the battle and kept outstretched arms upon a cross.

Show us the way to victory under the beam to which Christ was helplessly bound.  Enable us to draw from his power to lift up those who faithfully defend and serve your children.

Because of his precious name and all for his glory, we lay our requests beneath the wide stretch of his loving arms.

Listen to ‘At the Cross’ by Blake Paul Band

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Cheek

Lamentations 3:30-33
“Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace.  For men are not cast off by the Lord forever.  Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.  For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.”

Luke 6:27-29a
“But I tell you who hear me:  Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.”

Mark 15:16, 19a
“The soldiers let Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers…Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him.”

Saviour God, your power is adorned with a mysterious mercy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn Christ you made the face of God vulnerable to a man’s scornful strike.  Though we spitefully ignore your gentle authority, you turn again and again to us.

By the strength of the one we emulate, give us greater concern for the aggressor than for our wounded pride.  Help us trust that our trials are temporary but your compassion is everlasting.

We ask this in the name of the one who courageously and continually offered his cheek to those he came to save, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Listen to ‘May the Mind of Christ my Saviour’ by Ordinary Time

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