First Presbyterian Church of Merrillville
Thursday, July 25, 2024
Go and Make Disciples!
Hannah's Prayer:
Hannah’s Prayer
2 Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the Lord;
    my strength is exalted in my God.
My mouth derides my enemies,
    because I rejoice in my victory.
“There is no Holy One like the Lord,
    no one besides you;
    there is no Rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly,
    let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
    and by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken,
    but the feeble gird on strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
    but those who were hungry are fat with spoil.
The barren has borne seven,
    but she who has many children is forlorn.
The Lord kills and brings to life;
    he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
    he brings low, he also exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust;
    he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes
    and inherit a seat of honor
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
    and on them he has set the world.
“He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
    but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;
    for not by might does one prevail.
10 The Lord! His adversaries shall be shattered;
    the Most High will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
    he will give strength to his king,
    and exalt the power of his anointed.”
Lord Jesus, raise us up by the strength of your spirit, to fulfil our calling as the people of God.
Help us to approach all our work this week with your values and with your integrity.
Take from us all our self-centeredness, our anxiety, our false pride, our defensiveness;
and help us to love others in the knowledge of being loved by you,
to serve others in remembrance of your life among us as a servant.
May your Spirit, the Spirit of truth and wisdom and power,
help us to use our lives as you would have us use them.
This is our prayer to the Father in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen
Lord God, we bless you for the gospel of Christ:
for the good news he gave to the world of your justice and love and compassion.
We thank you for the hope we have of your kingdom,
and for the privilege that is ours in being part of Christ's body, the Church.
For all the friendship ad encouragement that we have found within the Church's fellowship;
for the presence of the Holy Spirit acting in our lives, sometimes in spite of our obstructiveness;
for the joys of home and family and the excitement of life today,
we give praise and thanks to you, who have planned and given us all things. Amen
Father, hear us as we pray for our fellow men, and help us to know our kinship with them as brothers in your family.
Break down the prejudice, the selfishness and fear that separate one from another.
Help the nations of the world to find a way to live together in peace with honor.
Forgive the arrogance of the strong and the resentment of the weak. 
Bless the work of all those who are bringing aid to needy countries throughout the world,
and show us how we must bridge the gap between wealth and poverty, plenty and hunger.
We pray for all those who find the pace and strain of life too much for them;
for those who fear redundancy; for those who have lost confidence in themselves;
for those who are slowing down through illness or increasing years;
for those who are over-sensitive to criticism; for those who are overworked and underpaid;
for all who are worn down in body or in mind by the burdens they carry.
Give your help and guidance, Lord God, to all whose work affects the lives of others.
Give wisdom and integrity to our leaders; to those who serve in government,
especially those who bear the burden of decision making for others;
to our industrialists and men and women of business;
to our Union Leaders; to all who control the mass media of communication.
May those who have power over their fellow men use it with senses
and restraint for the good of all and for your glory.
Bless and strengthen the bonds of family life within our land.
Teach us how to understand one another better, parents and children, husbands and wives;
and through deeper understanding deepen our love.
May peace and joy dwell in our hearts and in our homes.
Father we bring to you now the special needs of people known to us as neighbors and friends;
those who are sick; those who are bereaved; those who are lonely;
those who are afraid; those who are ashamed; and those who are bitter.  You know their needs
better than we do.  Give them, not what we ask, but what your love directs.
We ask this Father, in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  AMEN
The Lord Is My Shepard
This short psalm of David conveys God's promises and the complete sufficiency of God:
The Lord is my shepherd - that's relationship.
I shall not want - that's supply.
He maketh me lie down in green pastures - that's rest.
He leadeth me beside the still waters - that's refreshment.
He restoreth my soul - that's healing.
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness - that's guidance.
For his name's sake - that's purpose.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death - that's testing.
I will fear no evil - that's protection.
For thou art with me - that's faithfulness.
Thy rod and they staff they comfort me - that's discipline.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies - that's hope.
Thou anointest my head with oil - that's honor.
Here I Am Prayer
(Approximate time is 5 minutes.)
Intention: So simple, short, and inspirational, it can be used as a prelude to other prayer practices.
1.      Resolve to be in prayer for at least 5 minutes, not answering the phone or allow yourself to be distracted from this goal.
2.      Be seated and say to yourself, “Here I am seated, doing nothing. I will do nothing for five minutes (or longer, depending on the time you set for yourself.)
3.      Begin noticing your own bodily presence – how your body feels next to the chair, how you feel against the floor. Relax your body. Notice what your feel inside.
4.      Now notice the presence of all that is around you. Say to yourself, “Here I am in the presence of the furniture, walls, and any pets or people in the room.” Just be present and silent in your environment. Relax even more.
5.      Now say to yourself, “Here I am in the presence of God.” Repeat silently to God, “Here I am.” Bask in the presence of the Holy One until your time goal has been reached.
(From 50 Ways to Pray; Practices from Many Traditions and Times by Teresa A. Blythe)
Prayer of Confession
        Let us confess our sin in the presence of God
        and one another.
Holy and merciful God,
in your presence I confess my sinfulness,
my shortcomings,
and my offenses against you,
in what I have done
and what I failed to do.
You alone know how often I have sinned
and wandered from your ways,
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault.
Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for I am ashamed and sorry
for all I have done to displease you.
Forgive my sins,
and help me to live in your light,
and walk in your ways,
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Savior.
The Almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon,
forgiveness and remission of all your sins;
in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the
Holy Spirit. Amen.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Alleluia.
Deacons' Closing Prayer
May the strength of God pilot us,
May the power of God preserve us,
May the wisdom of God instruct us,
May the hand of God protect us,
May the way of God direct us,
May the shield of God defend us,
May the host of God guard us
against the snares of evil
          and the Temptations of the world.
Through Jesus Christ Our Lord, Amen.