Each year we set aside the fourth Sunday of January as Prayer Emphasis Sunday. We use it as a reminder of the vital importance of prayer in the life of the church and each Christian’s personal walk with the Lord. Our guest speaker this Lord’s Day is Brandon Crawford, pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Marshall, Michigan. He served in Huron Baptist Church from his childhood and through several years of his ministerial training. He was ordained for gospel ministry by our church in 2010. You can view his full bio at brandoncrawford1.weebly.com.
PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP
Call to Worship 1 Chronicles 29:10-13
Hymn 46 O Worship the King
Notes: Prayer and worship are inseparably bound together. We learn to pray aright only as we learn to know God and in knowing him, know ourselves. This hymn reminds us that God is King, worthy of worship. Implicit in our prayers is acknowledgment of is might and grace. We submit to him who is Creator and sustainer of the earth. We trust his “bountiful care” and find that he never fails us, though we are but “children of dust.”
Worship through Giving
Congregational Response: Hymn Psalm 23b
Notes: Psalm 23 comforts God’s children and expresses our knowledge that all good things come to us from the loving hand of the Lord, our Shepherd.
Hymn 54 O Blessed God! How Kind
Notes: God reserves the blessings of answered prayer for his own people. The first and chief blessing is that we have been “subdued by sovereign grace.” All good things from him are designed so that “the streams of love [we] trace up to the Fountain, God.” It is said so often as to sound trite, but it is still true: prayer is not about us, but about God.
Scripture Reading Hebrews 11:1-16
Notes: In the sermon text, Jesus challenged his disciples, “Have faith in God.” Hebrews 11 defines faith and demonstrates that it has always been essential to a relationship with God. When we think of prayer, we must realize that genuine faith is not a tool by which we lay hold of the “stuff” of this world. It is the means by which we lay hold of a world to come.
Hymn 675 Approach, My Soul, the Mercy Seat
Notes: John Newton calls us to “approach . . . the mercy seat,” that is, enter the very presence of God. We find Jesus there, our Mediator who bled and died to bring us near and who “answers prayer.” He bore “the cross and shame” so that “guilty sinners, such as I, might plead [His] gracious Name!”
Hymn 670 Behold the Throne of Grace!
Notes: Newton directs our attention once more to the presence of God opened to us by the death of Christ. He reminds us of the inexhaustible riches of God’s gracious love:
My soul, ask what thou wilt,
Thou canst not be too bold:
Since His own blood for thee was spilt,
What else can He withhold?
Message A Summons to Faith
Pastor Brandon Crawford
Hymn 60 Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above
Notes: Having reflected on the greatness and goodness of God upon which the very idea of prayer rests, as well as the work of Christ that made the way for us to enter God’s presence to pray, the only appropriate response is: “To God all praise and glory.
Prayer Response Jon Lont
Benediction John Miles