In our worship services this week, I used the words of a prayer from The Valley of Vision (in leather or paperback), a collection of Puritan prayers. The editor of the collection, Arthur Bennett, has given this prayer the title, "Consecration and Worship." I thought it would be helpful to post the text of this prayer here, since sometimes there is so much content in these prayers, and expressed in such sophisticated (and outdated) language, it can be a bit challenging to discern upon one hearing what precisely is being expressed.
So without further adieu, here is the text from the prayer, "Consecration and Worship."
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I feel it is heaven to please Thee, and to be what Thou wouldst have me be. O that I were holy as Thou art holy, pure as Christ is pure, perfect as Thy Spirit is perfect! These, I feel, are the best commands in Thy Book, and shall I break them? must I break them? am I under such a necessity as long as I live here?
Woe, woe is me that I am a sinner, that I grieve this blessed God, who is infinite in goodness and grace! O if He would punish me for my sins, it would not would my heart so deep to offend Him; But though I sin continually, He continually repeats His kindness to me.
At times I feel I could bear any suffering, but how can I dishonour this glorious God? What shall I do to glorify and worship this best of beings? O that I could consecrate my soul and body to His service, without restraint, for ever! O that I could give myself up to Him, so as never more to attempt to be my own! or have any will or affections that are not perfectly conformed to His will and His love! But, alas, I cannot live and not sin.
O may angels glorify Him incessantly, and, if possible, prostrate themselves lower before the blessed King of heaven! I long to bear a part with them in ceaseless praise; but when I have done all I can to eternity I shall not be able to offer more than a small fraction of the homage that the glorious God deserves. Give me a heart full of divine, heavenly love.
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How many of our thoughts about music and worship revolve around what we like, what we prefer, what interests us, and what we find appealing? And how often is that attitude passed on to the next generation, who then focus on what appeals to them?
I suspect this may be one of the reasons churches develop separate meetings for different musical tastes. In the short run it may bring more people to your church. But in the long run it keeps us stuck in the mindset that musical styles have more power to divide us than the gospel has to unite us.
How do we pass on biblical values of worship to coming generations when we can’t even sing in the same room with them?
We have to look beyond our own generation, both past and future, if we’re to clearly understand what God wants us to do now. Otherwise we can be guilty of a chronological narcissism that always views our generation as the most important one. As Winston Churchill insightfully wrote, “The further back you can look, the further forward you can see.”
Easter Scripture Reading - Brett Binkley (voice), Kyle Carlson (music)
The passage is Luke 23:50 - 24:9 from "The Message."
You see, on one hand, last night was a gloomy night for America. Senator (soon-to-be President) Obama's radical position on issues related to abortion (most notably his oft-stated commitment to the Freedom of Choice Act and his opposition to the Born Alive Infants Protection Act) frighten me for the future of life in our country. With one signature, Obama may wipe away three decades' worth of Pro-Life policies designed to protect the rights of the most helpless, voiceless class of Americans - the unborn. This is morally reprehensible and personally heartbreaking. So on behalf of millions of unborn Americans, I am saddened and frustrated.
On the other hand, last night was a terrific night for America. 150 years ago, American society didn't consider black men and women fully human, much less American citizens. Last night, we elected an African-American man the leader of our nation. I can't overstate the magnitude of this occasion. I rejoice with the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Jesus of Nazareth at this enormous step toward racial harmony. Racism is an evil paralleled by few others, and last night marked a huge victory for the United States of America in the war against it.
Senator McCain's concession speech was a model of humility and grace in the midst of fervent contest. It was classy and elegant and right. Senator Obama's acceptance speech was solemn, grateful, powerful - in a word, inspiring.
So you see, in many ways November 4, 2008 was a great day for the United States of America, with many glorious victories. And yet, these victories are tainted by the ominous reality of the future of millions of unborn Americans. It falls to Christians across the nation to humbly and wholeheartedly support our President, and at the same time to pray fervently for God to change his heart (and his mind) toward the unborn.
America - I give you my deepest sympathies.
And many congratulations.