“Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.”
Eleventh in a Series–
The General Prayer and The Lord’s Prayer
The General Prayer
The General Prayer is a further offering of the heart as the worshippers are led to thank and praise the Lord for His innumerable blessings. We are assured in Psalm 145:18-19, “The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.”
This General Prayer may include a wide variety of subject matter, or it may more briefly summarize the primary thoughts emphasized in the service. Special prayers are also offered at this time for the sick, for mourners, for newborn children and their parents, for newlyweds, etc.
The Lord’s Prayer
Finally, the prayer which our Savior taught us to pray (Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4) concludes the second part of our worship service.
The Lord’s Prayer is so well-loved and meaningful to worshippers that the danger of recitation without thinking is a concern which every worshipper needs to address. The following may be helpful for us to read from time to time to help remind us of the spiritual meaning in the simple petitions of this prayer (taken from “That I May Know Him,” by Oswald Riess).
Our Father who art in heaven: Our Father, God of all love and power, hear us, Your children in Christ Jesus.
Hallowed be Thy name: We bear Your holy name. Let us not disgrace it by false teaching and ungodly living, but do it honor by clinging to Your pure Word and leading a life that glorifies You.
Thy kingdom come: Give us a deep concern for souls. Send out Your saving truth. By Your Word and Spirit work faith in the hearts of men. So let Your kingdom come to many, as it has come to us. And may it not be long until we see You in Your unveiled splendor.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven: It is Your will, because You seek our happiness, that we live close to You. Father, Your will be done! Let no one and nothing separate us from You–without You there is no living! Grant also that we may be continually doing Your will, obeying You as gladly as do the angels in heaven. And when You send us sickness, pain, or sorrow, help us to submit ourselves to Your will, knowing that You are only trying to draw us still closer to Your loving Self.
Give us this day our daily bread: Give us each day the things we need for this life. When You give us much, may we be humble and generous. When You give us little, keep us from envy and worry. And for everything, be it much or little, make us thankful.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us: They are “our trespasses”–we are guilty over and over. And yet they are no longer ours, for You laid them all on Your holy Son. For His sake, Father, forgive us whatever is wrong in our lives. Then, moved by Your redeeming love for us, make us loving and forgiving toward our fellowman.
And lead us not into temptation: When the devil and the forces of evil that are in and around us tempt us to sin, give us the strength to stand firm, to say “no.” And, Father, when You test us in the fires of affliction, keep reminding us that such trials are sent only “if need be”; that You want our faith to flow from the furnace like purified gold.
But deliver us from evil: Protect us in soul and body. Keep us from sin and error. Give grace to bear our crosses without murmuring. Speak peace to our hearts. At last, our Father, for the sake of Him who died for us and rose again, grant us a blessed end–an end which is the beginning of glory without end.
For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever: You are our King. To You alone we come in prayer. You alone can do more than we ask or think. You alone shall have all praise forever.
Amen: Our prayer is heard.
What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Ev'rything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Ev'rything to God in prayer. (TLH, 457:1)
Following the third hymn, the worship service is concluded with the Collect (short prayer) for the Word or for the Church, and with the Benediction.
(To be concluded)
–Pastor Em. L. Dale Redlin