Oh, how sweet it is to be in the service of the Lord!
The year was 1994, and I was asked to render the opening prayer at the celebration to honor all the men and women in the church who held positions as clergy, department heads, Sunday School teachers, custodians, musicians, food handlers, counselors, and anyone else who performed in a leadership capacity. As you can imagine, I was awe struct and filled with mixed feelings of reverence, wonderment and humility.
The first thing I did was to seek the aide of the Holy Spirit, and I also called on the Name of the Lord. In my pursuit to pray an all inclusive prayer that would somehow make each category of recipients experience the gratitude intended by our pastor, I set aside a special time each day to search the Holy Bible for examples of how God called his leaders together to instruct them of their duties and how those saints of old responded affirmatively.
I learned from searching the scriptures that those persons who are put in authority should already know that it is not enough to just mentally recognize that there is a God, but they also should know that they must do what God commands them to do and with the right attitudes. (Especially with a grateful heart.) For it is written: Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 KJV
Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart [with lyrics for congregations]
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“Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart” was written by Henry Smith and published in 1970. It is performed here by Maranatha Music.YouTube · Chet Valley Churches ·
Featured below is the prayer the Holy Spirit directed me to compose...
Dear Heavenly Father, The sons of Jacob and the daughters of Israel who are members of the household of faith at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, have gathered in this place to once again give all praise and honor to Your Name. For we realize, Dear Master, that all gifts, special skills and benefits come from You. And we rejoice in the knowledge that had it not been for Your Son, Jesus, we would not have had free access to any of Your bountiful blessings. Also, Precious Lord, the sons of Jacob and the daughters of Israel wish to thank You for keeping us sturdy and on track in the Celebration of Men and Women's Day for 1994. For we have not traveled this spiritual road before as a diverse group. So, we thank You for not giving up on us and for keeping us perfectly joined together in love and in harmony. We vowed never to take our eyes off of Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith...so, Dear Master, because You sit high and look low, and may have caught a glimpse of someone murmuring; or received a report of another voicing displeasure at someone's leadership capabilities, we humbly ask your forgiveness and confess that by the love of Jesus Christ, we will strive to learn to be more considerate of one another and to cultivate our Christian lives on a common plain. Never let it be recorded that any of us said, "I'm on Paul's side." or "I'm for Apollo." or "Peter is my man." For neither of those men hung, bled and died for our sins, nor did neither give to humanity the gift of eternal life. So now Lord, as I close this prayer on behalf of the men and women of this age in the life of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, I sincerely thank you once again for personally calling each of us by name to be in Your service. For not just anybody or shall I say not everybody would have heeded Your call. But thanks be to God You took a bunch of nobodies and made them Somebodies in the Family of God...and for that we give you all the praise, and all the honor, and all the glory. Amen! And Amen!!!
Glad to Be in the Service – YouTube
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Scripture Lesson: “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11
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