Monday, August 24, 2015

Sunday evening service: Let my people go so that they may worship me; Give me back my religion

Worship order
Opening prayer
Let us worship God by feeling the ever abiding presence of God amongst us. Shall we at this time pray with unceasing fervor that God may accept our ministrations and our prayers. Lord God, full of grace and mercy, we come into your presence for steadying our nerves, guiding our minds and strengthening our hearts. You God have wished our safety, hoped for our success and initiated our recovery. We come Lord Jesus because we have heard and we believe that you will accept us as we are and as we look, with several faults and shortcomings to others but blessed and beautiful in your sight. Help us Holy Spirit to overcome fears and climb the hills before us as if it were small walls. Amen.

Hymn: Standing on the promises of Christ my king (UMH no. 374.)

Thanks giving prayer (Together)
Our God who wants only good for us and out of us, we pray that you sustain the spirit of wellness and goodness inside us. We thank you for the numerous gifts that you have showered upon us and pray that we get the opportunity to use what we possess. Thank you Lord for the knowledge that we have gained and for the friendships we have forged. Our life in its form is your mercy and kindness. Help us to wield our information and knowledge with humbleness and for the use of others and the glory of God. Amen.

Bible reading: St. Luke 15: 11-32

Confession (Together)
Lord God, you know our deepest thoughts, perversions, short falls, fears, anxieties, trouble and cover ups. We pray that you allow us the profound privilege to be in your presence with a mind to confess all our sins and humble ourselves before your assuring presence. We are sorry that we haven’t been able to do to the best of our ability and see the cries of help of others living among us. We have judged quickly while forgetting your deep mercies in our own life. We confess that we have a long way to go and that a beginning is essential to turn the tide. Lord God, we come therefore confessing in full and bowing before your pasture of grace. Amen.

Assurance of pardon
The shepherd rejoiced on finding one lost sheep, the woman rejoiced on finding one lost coin and the father rejoiced on seeing the lost son. What a sight it is and what joy God has in seeing us assemble before God. We have all been on our own journeys, trying to find answers to questions and seeking truth in unfamiliar territories. Help us Lord God to find pardon and forgiveness in your merciful presence. God always rejoices in us coming back to God’s presence. In God’s rejoicing we are accepted and forgiven. Amen.

Affirmation of faith (Together)
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is,
seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.

We pray God for the UTC and its numerous needs. Give strength dear Lord to the principal, faculty, staff and students to carry forward the mission of theological education, pastoral care and human interaction. We ask for your guidance God during the exam week for the smooth conduct of the exams, an atmosphere to write well, perform to one’s optimum and for sustained hope in your grace God. We also ask dear God for travel mercies for those who will travel for their field work at the end of the week and protection and guidance for those who will stay in different parts of India with people to learn from them and bring home the learning. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord, thank you that you are with us right now. Your love surpasses all fear. We give you the anxiety we feel and surrender all our worries to you. Clear our mind, calm our hearts, still our Spirit and relax our being that we may always glorify you in everything we write, speak and do. Dear Lord, as we take our exams we thank you that our value is not based on our performance, but on your great love for us. Come into our heart so that we can walk through this time together. Help us not only with this test, but the many tests of life that are sure to come our way. As we take our exams this week, bring back to our mind everything we studied and be gracious with what we have overlooked. Help us to remain focused and calm, confident in the facts and in our ability, and firm in the knowledge that no matter what happens you are there with us. Your peace Lord God surpasses all understanding. We ask for this gift and choose to lean upon you at this time. Lord, come and remind us of your unfailing love. Remind us that you hold us safe, you understand us, and you cherish us. We lay down our fears before you. We leave them at the foot of the cross, for you have overcome the world. We choose to give you all our concerns, worries and fears of failure. We trust that your loving hand will hold us through these exams and lead into a bright future. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray gracious and merciful God for those who are kept away because of their beliefs and differences. We envisage a church where people can come and be accepted like the lost son. Lord God, let there not be any divisions based on caste, race, colour, class and gender and let everyone be part of the body of Christ, unified for the glory of God. We pray for those who continue to strive hard for India and for the world at large. So many sacrifices are being committed for people to live and enjoy the benefits of technology and innovation. May we come together God to understand one another and undertake our journeys so that we may lose ourselves only to find ourselves. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for those who are sick and are in need of prayer. We pray for Ivan’s father who had a surgery yesterday and is recovering. We pray for those suffering and recovering from cancer, heart ailments, kidney malfunction, eye problems, dengue, viral fever, back pain, sports injuries, knee pain, mental tensions and family issues. Place your hand on them and heal them O God and allow them a quality of life which is good and satisfying. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord’s prayer

Closing hymn: Have thine own way, Lord. UMH 382

Closing prayer and benediction

We thank you Lord God for small mercies and grace that you have always gifted us. We are comforted that you accept us as we are and as you find us. Be with us as we venture out into the world and help us to face various challenges in life. Journey with us Lord in spirit and deed and help us to be your witnesses in what we say and do. May we be able to write exams properly and without fear. May our readiness be complete with your presence and guidance. Now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us and with our families now and forever more. Amen.

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