More Ready to Hear

Almighty and everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we to pray, and art wont to give more than either we desire or deserve: Pour down upon us the abundance of Thy mercy, forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask, but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), “Proper 22”


Almighty God, gracious Father, we are not fit for Your presence, but we look to Jesus Christ, who takes away our sin. Through Him we would now come to You, listening to Your voice, trusting in Your love, delighting in Your Word, and leaning on Your arm. We joyfully beg to see Your face! Now cleanse our minds of all error and our hearts of all idols, that we may shine in the world with Your radiant light.

—D.A. Carson, Worship by the Book, 225

Prayer for the New Year

Almighty Father, we pray Thee graciously to lead us through the uncertainties of this new year of our earthly pilgrimage. Protect us from the dangers of the way; prepare us for the duties, the trials, the joys, and sorrows that await us; and grant that each change the year brings with it may bring us nearer to Thyself, and to the eternal joy and rest that await the faithful in Thy blessed and glorious presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

—Church of Scotland, 1952

Music in Its Place

As much as I love music . . . we have placed far too much faith in it and not nearly enough in the power of the Word, the authority and sweep of fearless prophecy and earnest, yet hope-filled, intercessory prayer. I have often wondered what would happen if we got music out of the way, especially in its upfront dress, and spent abundant time in interceding prayer, reading and searching the Scriptures, sitting in silence, prophesying and perhaps only then singing and making music.

—Harold M. Best, Unceasing Worship: Biblical Perspectives on Worship and the Arts, 140

In Jesus’ Name

“Pray in the name of Jesus,” I think means “on the basis of what Jesus has done to make our access to God possible,” namely His blood and righteousness. So when I say, “In Jesus’ name” at the end of a prayer, I mean “because Jesus died for me and rose again, covered my sins, and imparted and imputed righteousness to me, I have access to the Father.” “Because of Him”—that’s what “In Jesus’ name” means.

—John Piper,

Praying beyond Our Walls

A visitor can tell a lot about a congregation from the prayers spoken in worship. Maybe you have experienced services in which congregations appear to be completely self-centered. They prayed for needs within which congregations appear to be completely self-centered. They prayed for needs within their own congregation, but said hardly a word about anything or anyone outside themselves—unless, perhaps, there had been a hurricane or some other sort of disaster in the news. Of course it is a beautiful and important part of our priestly function as a community to pray for the needs of the congregation—this is one way we rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. But we have to reach beyond our congregational families too.

Bringing the needs of the world before God in the worshiping assembly demonstrates to members and visitors that a given congregation is more than just a nice social club.

—Ron and Debra Rienstra, Worship Words: Discipling Language for Faithful Ministry, 205-206