focus on

Click here to listen to this sermon.

West-Ark Church of Christ Order of Worship
February 4, 2007

Call to Worship

Jesus encourages us to pray. If we can be known for anything, then let us be known as a people who pray without ceasing. Let us pray not only for ourselves, but also for one another and for the sake of the world.

Jesus teaches us to pray. [Read Luke 11:1-4.] We call this the “model prayer” and yet how often do we conform to the model? This morning, we are modeling our worship on the model prayer. Our movements in worship are based on the petitions of Jesus’ prayer lesson. So let’s follow the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ who encourages us to ask, seek, knock, and to pray. The prayer is given to us in plural form – notice how often it says “our and us.” Let us pray this prayer together by reading it now, and let this be our entry into our service of worship ...

Congregational Reading of Luke 11:1-4

#2 – "We Praise Thee, O God" (vs. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
#15 – "Step By Step"

Our Father in heaven, hallowed is your name.

#797 – "Lord We Come Before Thee Now" (vs. 1, 2, 3, 4)
#704 – "Bind Us Together"

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

#525 – "He Knows Just What I Need" (vs. 1, 2, 3)

Give us today our daily bread.

#357 – "Bethlehem…Galilee…Gethsemane"

All around the Lord’s Supper the humanity of Jesus Christ is obvious. His love and concern for his disciples. His anxiety over the impending crucifixion. His forgiveness and compassion even for those who mistreated him. Our Lord displays his humanity through his prayers. Jesus prays often during the gospel event. He gives thanks for the bread and cup. He prays in the garden and asks for another way, yet he submits himself to God’s way. He encourages his disciples to pray with him and for him and for themselves. He prays on the cross and intercedes for those who are caught up in the frenzy of accusation and judgment. Jesus prays. If you will read John 17 you will find that he even prayed for you and me!

Perhaps this should teach us that we are very much like Christ when we pray. Perhaps this should teach us that we are most human when we pray. We come to the Lord’s Supper as anxious souls hungry for the bread of life. We pray, “Give us today our daily bread.” And our Father, who knows what we need, gives to us even Himself and His own Spirit.

Prayer at the Lord’s Table

Prayer for Offering & Ministry

#660 – "People Need The Lord" (repeat)
#800 – "What A Friend We Have In Jesus" (vs. 1, 2, 3) [Dismiss to Children’s Worship]

And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.

#810 – "Listen To Our Hearts" (vs. 1, 2)


#413 – "Lord Be There"
#390 – "Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah" (vs. 1, 2, 3)

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Invitation to Prayer and Baptism

A simple man once said that “Life without adversity would be ... well, it might be kind of nice.” True. But adversity seems to be a part of life. Every one of us has known some form of it.

When we pray to God “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We acknowledge that we do not live in a perfect world. We live in a broken world – sure there is still much that is good in this world, but it is not what God intends for it to be. So we live in a world where there is adversity.

Adversity is no indicator of how much or how little God loves us, even though it can seem that way. Adversity is no indicator of how righteous we are, even though our own actions can bring adversity into our lives – and yet if we are trying to find fault and blame we can get into a never-ending spiral of cause and event that would take us back to the Garden of Eden.

Rather, it is our response to adversity that ought to concern us: This week I have had many occasions to reflect on just how the Evil One works. Do you know what Satan’s name means? It comes from the Hebrew word for “accuser.” The evil one seeks to accuse us – especially in our adversity. As he tried to do with Christ in the desert, the evil one comes to us in our time of trial and aims to convict us without hope and draw out our worst and most sinful nature.

Watch out for his schemes! What shall we do with our anxiety and anger? What shall we do with our fear and sorrow? Rather than deny that we are human, let us turn to Our Father in heaven in prayer. Let us ask for wisdom. Let us ask, seek, and knock and trust that the love of our Father in heaven is greater than the accusation of the evil one.

Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. Every Sunday we offer an invitation. It is an invitation to be delivered from the evil one. Christ invites us to the waters of baptism so that we might be delivered from evil. Baptism and repentance are entwined seamlessly – if you have been baptized then understand that your baptism is a death to sin but you are alive to God in Jesus Christ (Rom. 6). If you are considering being baptized then repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins.
The invitation is also an invitation to prayer. Are any of you in trouble? Are any of you sick? Then pray and the Lord will lift you up (James 5).

#791 – "On Bended Knee" (vs. 1, 2)
[During this hymn you may meet with elders in Room 100 for prayer or come to the front and share your request for prayer or baptism]

#539 – "Higher Ground" (vs. 1, 2, 4)

Sending Out Prayer by an elder

Chris Benjamin

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Lesson, 4 February 2007

 Link to next sermon

 Link to other sermons of Chris Benjamin