Ask… Search… Knock. Jesus offers these three bits of wisdom in the gospel lesson for this Sunday. Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you (Luke 11:9, NRSV). That sounds great until it hits that you don’t know what to ask. You have no words. You have no idea what to say.
It’s just as frustrating as not knowing what to cook for dinner. You’re hungry, really hungry but you don’t know what you want. Nothing in the fridge that looks good. Nothing grabs you but still you stand there with the door open, starting inside, waiting for inspiration to strike.
Worship is not like a recipe. Other parts of ministry can be written as a recipe but worship is an improvisation of ingredients. It is how those ingredients come together in the people that allows for God to be praised. That’s when things really get cooking! That is when we are transformed by God. I never want worship to feel like we’re standing in front of the fridge just looking to put food on the table. I want it to satisfy and that’s particularly challenging with something like the Lord’s Prayer. It’s like broccoli, right? You know it. You say the words. You don’t really think about it. How do you spice it up?
I am serving a tiny, rural church that doesn’t mix things up very much but I decided that this would be the week to change things just a little. We won’t be praying the same version of the Lord’s Prayer that we always use but will instead be using these beautiful words from the New Zealand Book of Common Prayer. Check out this link for a few other great translations of this beloved prayer (several of which I hadn’t heard before).
The other prayers of the day hope to spice up those familiar words. Here are the ingredients that we will be cooking with on Sunday.
*Call to Worship (Responsive)
One:Together, we come to this certain place to pray
All: for things we understand and those things only God can understand.
One: We come certain that we need to learn new ways of prayer.
All: We come to hear new words from the Word.
Prayer for Confession (Unison)
When we pray, O Lord, we want your love and peace. We are certain that only blessing will come from our time at prayer. Our lives will be holy and blessed but it is you, O Lord, that is revealed in our prayers, not us. We confess that we have convinced ourselves that we can set your world right. Forgive us for believing that we are in charge and do what you do best. Distract us from our own conceit with your way of justice. Teach us to hallow your name.
Affirmation of God’s Grace (Responsive)
One: When we pray, O Lord, words do not come easily but your Word is still speaking. Speak not now, O Lord, and assure us your grace. Put those holy and blessed words on our lips.
All: In Christ we are forgiven. Alleluia! Amen.
This is the first post in what I intend to become a feature on this blog. Check back for more Ingredients for Worship in the future and be sure to share what you’ve cooked up in the comments below!