Liturgy / Mar 11, 2018

CALL TO WORSHIP

Children of God, welcome. In this place there is hope. In this place there is peace. Our heavenly Father has made a way through the wilderness leading to Himself.
Lord, we thank you for calling us.

Though our works amount to little more than foolish striving towards what we deem to be good, our God has given us Jesus to live a life none of us could.
Lord, we thank you for justifying us.

All our efforts lead to death, but in Christ we are now co-heirs of all the blessings, grace, and rewards that are due to Him. This new life is glorious!
Lord, we thank you for glorifying us.

In life, God will work all things for the good of the ones who love him.
Lord, help us to love you.

In life, God will work all things for the good of those who are called according to his purpose.
Lord, help us live according to your purposes.

Brothers and Sisters, you need not fear. Your God fights for you and loves you. He knows your coming in, and your going out. He offers himself to you here.
Father, we will follow you. Unite us in your Spirit. Amen.

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PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

Father thank you that you are a God who invites us to speak. We pray for the whole people of God hidden in Jesus and for all people according to their needs.

For believers throughout the world who endure physical harm because they follow our Lord Jesus, shelter them this week; God of all mercy… hear our prayer.

For elections around the world and in our country; teach us to be faithful citizens while resting in your sovereignty; God of all mercy… hear our prayer.

For the many children of Chicago in a broken foster care system; would you be father to the fatherless; God of all mercy… hear our prayer.

For the students of Chicago; give them grace in their studies, and help when they need it; God of all mercy… hear our prayer.

For the people of Immanuel Anglican Church as they gather in Uptown; grant them love for their neighbors and each other; God of all mercy… hear our prayer.

For the children of The Painted Door; would they receive your love with thanksgiving and joy; God of all mercy… hear our prayer.

For this Lenten season; may we learn to identify with you, as you have identified with us; God of all mercy… hear our prayer.

And for all who come to the feast of Jesus this morning; for the hearing of our ears, rejoicing of our minds, and stillness of our souls; God of all mercy… hear our prayer.

Gracious Father, these are our requests. We trust in your mercy made known through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.
— Søren Kierkegaard

THE ONE MAN: A RIVER OF PRAYER
Romans 8:26-30
Pastor Mark Bergin


The Spirit of God is alive in his people, even when we do not acknowledge him. And this Spirit is the source of our communion with the Father. For it is the Spirit who mines the depths of our hearts and makes our longings known to God. What’s more, it is the Spirit who fills our hearts with the longings of God. He is ever connecting us. It is as though there is a river of prayer and communion continually flowing from the hearts of God’s people into the heavens. To pray then, is merely to enter that river, to set aside the distractions of this world and swim in our communion with God. To pray is to discover your true self, a person transformed to think how God thinks, feel how God feels, and see how God sees. This is who we truly are, people made in the image of God and intimately connected to him. The Spirit has done the work. The River flows. Only dive in!


PRAYERS OF CONFESSION

The people of this world walk in darkness. All we want is to take one sure step, yet all we do is stumble. We cry out through the fog:
Lord, light our path!

Often our cries are without words. We cannot find them. We know this darkness is of our own making. We are blinded by our own hands covering our eyes. Yet we cry out:
Lord, light our path!

Calmly, quietly, the same Spirit that sustained Jesus in the wilderness joins us and sustains us in this dark place. And so, on our behalf, the Spirit prays:
Lord, light our path!

A way is made known to us. Guided by this Spirit we walk boldly. Though our eyes tell us that there is no way forward, our feet are made sure by this foothold of faith, the answer to our prayer:
Lord, light our path!

Slowly, strangely, we begin to recognize; it is not  our eyes that lead us but our king. We are being changed into the very image of Christ. We grow and change as we continue to pray:
Lord, light our path!