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Leytonstone United Free Church Sunday 20th June 2021

Welcome

Good morning everyone to today’s service. The theme for today is PRAY.

During the Lenten season, we reflected on our relationship with God, the promises he set out for us, and the fulfilment of those promises. I wonder, how fared on this reflection? Did we pray to God and ask Him to show us these promises?

We’ve had Lent, we had Easter and the 50 days until Pentecost. Has God answered you or has He answered in a way you didn’t expect?

It is said that prayer is an honest conversation with God, you come as you are; your thoughts, your attitude, disappointments, sometimes anger, sometimes happiness – you come in one way and leave another. Payer changes your personal atmosphere. His desire is to know us, and He wants us to have a relationship with him – it starts with prayer.

Call To Worship

Psalm 63

Longing for God

O God, you are my God, and I long for you.

My whole being desires you; like a dry, worn-out, and waterless land, my soul is thirsty for you.

Let me see you in the sanctuary; let me see how mighty and glorious you are.

Your constant love is better than life itself, and so I will praise you.

I will give you thanks as long as I live; I will raise my hands to you in prayer.

My soul will feast and be satisfied, and I will sing glad songs of praise to you.

As I lie in bed, I remember you; all night long I think of you, because you have always been my help.

In the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.

I cling to you, and your hand keeps me safe.

Those who are trying to kill me will go down into the world of the dead.

They will be killed in battle, and their bodies eaten by wolves.

Because God gives him victory, the king will rejoice.

Those who make promises in God's name will praise him, but the mouths of liars will be shut.

Song 1 - Praise

I Choose To Worship

Prayer

God. All glory, honour and praise belong to you alone. You are worthy of all my adoration. You alone formed the world, and called what you created good.

Thank you for being who you are. And thank you for creating me in your likeness.

Today, I just want to worship you and your glory.

God, thank you for loving me and setting me apart.

Please help me to act in a way that honours you. Show me what aspects of your character I need to grow in, I want the fruits of your Holy Spirit to be evident in my life.

Jesus, thank you for providing me with the peace and purpose.

Today, please make it clear what you are calling me to do. Show me how I can take part in Your plan for the world, and as I follow you, please fill me with your peace.

God, you do great things! You never give up on me, and you consistently provide for me. Thank you!

Today, I need you to forgive me for all the ways I’ve messed up.

Your love changes everything, so please change the way I live, transform my life and fill me with your Holy Spirit. As I seek you show me what I must do to draw closer to you.

God, you are my creator, redeemer, saviour and healer,

You hold my life together with Your love, and yet I confess that still sometimes choose things that doesn’t matter instead of you. Please forgive me, help me to delight in you above all other things. Align my thoughts and desires with yours as I build my life around you.

God, you alone are worthy of my praise, love and honour. So, today I want to give thanks to you with my whole heart.

Give me opportunities to tell people about your great love and fill me with contagious joy so that I gladly give thanks to you with boldness.

God, let the truth of your love sink into my heart and fill me with joy and hope.

When I go through hard times, help me to remember that you are with me. You are for me, and you cannot be taken from me. Shape my life with your love and remind me that nothing is impossible for you.

In Jesus name

Amen

Song 2 - Repent

The Heart Of Worship

"I'm coming back to the heart of worship; And it's all about You, It's all about You, Jesus. I'm sorry, Lord, for the thing I've made it When it's all about You"

You Never Let Go

Bible Readings

Psalm 4: 1

Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God.

Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

Psalm 145: 18

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

Jeremiah 33: 2-3

This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

Ephesians 6: 7-19

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

The Armor of God

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,

Reflection

P.R.A.Y.

By

Ash Matthews

Every day we talk to people; our family, our friends, those we work alongside, at school. Is God a part of the list of people you talk to every day?

Prayer is exactly that. It means talking and listening to God. People need to communicate in order to have a relationship with each other. We talk to God in prayer every day so that we can have a relationship with Him. That is why prayer is important.

Even when we pray, we don’t always realise that God does speak back to us, His desire is to be in constant communication with us. Sometimes He answers in ways we don’t expect. This always throws me a off course. One time we were praying for something, and expected God to answer, I was waiting and waiting, fasted (that’s another sermon on its own), but no answer. As I was walking and praying, He gave me the answer … not audible, not in scripture, but a message written on a bus and a truck. Not the same message, but the answer. God has a sense of humour!

Some of us have had the opportunity to pray out loud in front of people. It can be tough at times to know what to say, even so when we speak to God on our own. Prayer means truthfully talking and listening to God. It doesn’t have to be complicated; we don’t have to show off with big words. What’s most important is that when we speak to God, we speak to Him from the heart, being honest and open, get to know Him like you would when we talking to a friend. The more we pray and speak to Him, and when be become closer we’ll know Him and His love and will for us.

Prayer changes us, not always the circumstances we find ourselves. We are better equipped to handle situations. Prayer transforms our thinking, our approach to every day things, we do things differently and react differently. A quote from Henry Ford says … if you’re always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. We believe the bible version of this is Romans 12:2 -

do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will

How do we pray more effectively? What do we say, how do we approach God in prayer? Is there a formula? Friends, if we put our God in a box, I believe we will not be transformed by His power.

However, I want to propose an acronym to approach our time with God, not a formula, I don’t believe that. The acronym is PRAY – Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield.

I start off with PRAISE. Praising God with whatever comes to my heart. Praise the goodness of God, thanking Him for the day, praising Him for my life, praising His Holy name.

Praising God means telling or expressing how wonderful and great we believe God is and how much we love Him. Psalm 22:3 says that God inhabits the Praises of His people – which in Hebrew means that God rests in, sits upon, dwells within – the worship and adoration of his people, He draws closer to us when we praise Him.

if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness

1 John 1:9

This is the next aspect of prayer; I daily REPENT of the thoughts and deeds that is not akin to God. Yes, I fail, but I know that when I repent, my God will forgive me because He is a righteous and just God. Whatever I’ve said or done that is not of God, is not condoned by Him, but rather His Grace is poured over me. I am transformed and have right standing in His eyes because I believe the promises in His word in Hebrews 8:12 which says that He will forgive my sins and will no longer remember my wrongs. In return I will attempt not to sin, if I do, I continue to repent.

In Luke 11 Jesus teaches his disciples regarding prayer. It says:

once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples

Jesus teaches them to pray what we call “the Lord’s prayer”. He goes further and tells them the parable about a friend wanting to borrow 3 loaves of bread in the middle of the night, knocking on the friend’s door until he answers and getting what he asks for, Jesus calls it “shameless persistence”.

Jesus says:

keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And everyone who knocks, the door will be opened

Here Jesus is not only talking about material things but also spiritual things, He’s talking about the Holy Spirit, if sinful people know how to give good gifts to their children, how much more will our heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.

Friends, God wants us, His children to ask him, to pray to Him and make our requests known in order for Him to show His love for us. Jesus said, ask anything in my name and it shall come to pass if its in the Father’s will. ASK!!!

The last aspect of prayer is to YIELD, which refers to surrendering to God, meaning allowing myself to be led by the will of God. We are giving up our self-will, seeking to do things God’s way, it is going wherever He leads us. It seems that we “give up” but it is knowing that He directs us and comforts us for whatever we think has been “lost”.

We “go along” with God, with His peace, we submit to His will for us. We offer ourselves as living sacrifices, and as willing and faithful servants. I pray “God, use me as your vehicle, your vessel to influence and impact those around me for your sake”. It is easy to say it, but after I’ve said it, the implications hit me – “God that is a big thing I just said”, do you want to know His response … I can hear Him laugh, a love giggle … “when you ready, I’m here but know that I will never leave you or forsake you, I will be with you always”.

PRAY PRAY PRAY … its in our DNA to talk and communicate with God

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come,

Thy will be done

on earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespassed against us.

Lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom,

and the power, and the glory,

Forever and ever.

Amen

Song 3 - Ask

O Lord Hear My Prayer

Will You Come And Follow Me

Communion

Taking the body and blood of Jesus in Holy Communion is our covenant of deliverance. It is through this meal at the Lord’s Table that we find healing; it is through this meal that we experience miracles; it is at the Lord’s table that we enter into His presence and most importantly, take His presence into our being so that we may then project it to the world.

In Luke 22, when Jesus shared the Last Supper with His disciples, He conveyed the power of the Passover to Holy Communion. It was the end of one tradition, and the beginning of a new one. No longer would we have to sacrifice a lamb for atonement—He became the lamb.

On the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”

“Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked. He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.” They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfilment in the kingdom of God.” After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

– Luke 22:14-20

Christ became the sacrifice for our atonement. In the Old Testament Passover, the blood of the lamb was applied to the doorpost so the death angel would pass over those homes. Therefore, the Passover became a feast of remembrance and celebration of the deliverance of Israel from bondage. At the Last Supper, Jesus and the disciples celebrated the last Passover, and the first Communion. Jesus set the stage for generations ahead to look back and remember our deliverance at the Cross.

At the cross we were freed from the bondage of sin and death. We were healed of sickness and disease. We were delivered from addiction and captivity. Communion should never become common, because as we partake of His body and His blood, we are remembering that all things in our life which have been dismembered are now put back together for a fresh start.

The Passover signified the beginning of a new year in the Old Testament. Atonement was made and they no longer had to look back in grief or sorrow. Now, Communion signifies a new beginning for you and me. We no longer have to live in guilt and shame, or bondage. The miraculous power of the Lord’s Table is that it cleanses you, and makes you whole.

No other blood on earth can make something clean … but the Blood of Jesus washes over you and leaves no stain! “Do this in remembrance of me.”

Let us share in bread together.

Let us share in wine together.

Intercessions

We pause to offer prayers for those people and situations that are close to our hearts:

For the world......

For our country......

For our community......

For our church......

For our leaders......

For our family and friends......

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Amen

Song 4 - Yield

I Will Offer Up My Heart

Final Blessing & Grace

Benediction

May the love of the covenant maker, be known to us this day.

May the promise of the new covenant, be claimed by us today.

May the assurance of a covenant relationship, bring hope and peace to our days.

May the Lord of the new covenant, bless us richly this day.

Grace

May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the Love of God,

and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit

be with us all

now and forever more.

Amen

Let us go and share the word of the Lord with the world.

Credits:

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