Invitation to be Found by Mike Williams
Feel free to use/edit. Credit to the original author (i.e. based on prayer/prayers written by Rev Mike Williams) appreciated.
Luke 15:1-32 and Psalm 119:167-176 or Psalm 119:176
Call to Worship (based on Psalm 119:157-176)
The sum of God’s word is truth. The righteous ordinances of our God endure forever.
We rejoice in God’s word like those who find great spoil
We come together today to praise God and to find the peace granted to those who love God’s law.
We hope for the Lord’s salvation and love the Lord’s decrees.
In this time of worship let our supplication come before our Lord, who gives understanding from God’s word.
Let our lips pour forth praise and let us sing of God’s promise.
Let us live to praise our God and let God’s ordinances help us in our worship.
For we have gone astray like lost sheep, but the Lord has sought us out, and sent us God’s Son so that we might once more remember God’s commandments.
Prayer of Invocation
Holy Father of prodigal children everywhere, as we come into your presence today, we praise you for the assurance of your love. We thank you for gift of your Son who comes to us with stories of redemption and forgiveness. In this time of worship, pour out your Spirit upon us, that we may hear the promise of your grace. Fill us with compassion for your world. Help us to celebrate with those who come to life by finding you. Amen
Call to Confession
No matter how familiar we are with them, the stories of Jesus continually catch us off guard. Whether we think of ourselves as righteous, dutiful children, or as sheep who have gone astray, Christ reminds us of our continuous need for him. Let us now acknowledge our shortcomings, and remind ourselves of God’s grace, by praying together the prayer of confession…
Prayer of Confession
Great Shepherd, we come to you today recognizing that, like lost sheep, we have gone astray. You have given us your word and called us to live by your commandments. Yet, seeking greener pastures, we have squandered the riches you have given us and lived lives focused on ourselves. We have also failed to see the needs of others and refused to offer forgiveness to those who have wronged us. Remind us, O God, of the gift of your Son. Empower us with your grace, and call us to rejoice as sheep who have been returned to your fold. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon
Sisters and brothers, the promise of Gospel is that we have a shepherd who will never stop looking for us. Christ comes to us and brings us home once more, leading us into the presence of the God who loves us. Jesus assures us that grace is real. Indeed, he tells us “there is joy in the presence of God over one sinner who repents.” Know that you are forgiven and be at peace.
Passing of the Peace
The father of the prodigal son called everyone together to celebrate the return of the child he thought he had lost. In the same way, let us celebrate together the forgiveness we have received through the passing of the peace.
Offering Prayer/Prayer of Dedication
Generous and giving God, you have reminded us of your prodigal love. You have bestowed upon us blessings beyond measure. We praise you for your kindness and for the chance to return a portion of that back into your service. Take what we have given and let it be a symbol of the compassion that you have for your world. Use it to fill those who have little, and guide those who are lost. Pour out your Holy Spirit on these tithes and offerings, so that your grace might be known throughout the world. Amen.
Prayer Station by Rev. Shea Zellweger
167 I keep your rules;
I love them greatly.
168 I keep your precepts and rules,
for you are aware of everything I do.
169 Listen to my cry for help, O Lord!
Give me insight by your word!
170 Listen to my appeal for mercy!
Deliver me, as you promised.
171 May praise flow freely from my lips,
for you teach me your statutes.
172 May my tongue sing about your instructions,
for all your commands are just.
173 May your hand help me,
for I choose to obey your precepts.
174 I long for your deliverance, O Lord;
I find delight in your law.
175 May I live and praise you!
May your regulations help me!
176 I have wandered off like a lost sheep.
Come looking for your servant,
for I do not forget your commands.
Read the psalm once, and ponder it for a moment.
Place a cup in the sand.
Read the psalm a second time, this time paying special attention to verse 171.
Pour water from the pitcher into the cup as you say (aloud or silently) “May praise flow freely from my lips.” Just as freely flowing water quickly fills the cup, so freely flowing praise can quickly fill our lives.
Read the psalm a third time as a song of praise.