What is Worship?

Thesis #21: “The New Apostolic Epoch”  By: P. Douglas Small 

“Prayer’s primary purpose is transformation.” 

We have reduced worship to its ingredients – music, praise, extended hands, vibrant and joyful song, and a positive good news message.  In all that, we miss true worship.  Worship is, as the word suggests, a declaration of value – worth-ship.  It is the worth of God that elicits true worship.  And that requires exposure to God, and to His Presence – that God be seen and revealed.  Our humanistic version of worship obscures God and fixates instead on our worth.  All that we are and bring to worship pales in comparison to the incomparable and sovereign God.  It is a candle against the sunlight, a breath against a storm.  Such contrasts foster humility, so absent from contemporary worship (1 Chronicles 16:25-29; Psalms 99, 100; Revelation 4:8-11)

25) For the Lord  is great and greatly to be praised; He is also to be feared above all gods.

26) For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the Lord made the heavens.

27) Honor and majesty are before Him; Strength and gladness are in His place.

28) Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples, Give to the Lord glory and strength.

29) Give to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!

(1 Chronicles 16:25-29 NKJV)

Psalm 99:1-9

01)The Lord reigns; Let the peoples tremble! He dwells between the cherubim; Let the earth be moved!

02) The  Lord  is great in Zion, And He is high above all the peoples.

03) Let them praise Your great and awesome name— He is holy.

04) The King’s strength also loves justice; You have established equity; You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.

05) Exalt the Lord our God, And worship at His footstool— He is holy.

06) Moses and Aaron were among His priests, And Samuel was among those who called upon His name; They called upon the Lord, and He answered them.

07) He spoke to them in the cloudy pillar; They kept His testimonies and the ordinance He gave them.

08) You answered them, O Lord our God; You were to them God-Who-Forgives, Though You took vengeance on their deeds.

09) Exalt the Lord our God, And worship at His holy hill; For the Lord our God is holy.

(Psalm 99:1-9 NKJV)

Psalm 100:1-5

01)Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!

02) Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.

03) Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

04) Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

05) For the Lord  is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.

(Psalm 100:1-5 NKJV)

Revelation 4:8-11

08)The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”

09) Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever,

10) the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:

11) “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”

Revelation 4:8-11 NKJV

Prayer:  O God, keep us on task in our worship of You.

You said in the Bible that “…the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will  worship the Father in  spirit  and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  (John 4:23-24 NKJV).  With all our heart, soul, mind and strength, we believe that time has come!

Your worth and value to us can’t be spoken in a single day or even at a certain time.  It can only be lived by demonstrating our loyalty, our devotion and our own personal faith in Your sovereignty over our lives!

We can, and we do, give you thanks, as our creator, as the creator of the whole earth!  May our worship be birthed from knowing You, not from doing what we think is the right thing to do in our worship of You. You have made Yourself known to us through the Word of God and by the Holy Spirit.  Guide us each day to know You better and better, that we can make you known to others through the testimony we live before them.    Lord Jesus, we want to know You!  And experience the mighty power that raised You from the dead. WE want to suffer with You! We want to share in Your death, so that one way or another we will experience the resurrection from the dead!  (Taken from Philippians 3:10-11 NLT)

In Your Name Jesus, we pray!  Amen!

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Let us worship God with a pure heart

Thesis #20: “The New Apostolic Epoch”  By: P. Douglas Small 

Seeing God’s love and ignoring His holiness, we design positive and nurturing worship services free from conviction of sin, actually making people comfortable in sin, and simultaneously placing them in a worship event with a holy God – such actions are blasphemous.

“…that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,….”  (Ephesians 5:26 NKJV)

“Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.”  (2 Corinthians 7:1 NLT)

Prayer:  Lord, let the intent of our worship be to come before You so that we may experience Your unequaled love that causes us to feel accepted, Your healing grace that works the miracle of cleansing salvation in our sinful hearts and Your convicting Presence that calls and prepares us for a life of holiness. We desire to get “better” Lord, at being Your children and living as Your servants in this world.  We accept the challenge of making this world a better place because we are here.  Come by Your Spirit and lead us on in our journey through this world to become a better people because we know and obey You!  In the Name of Your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ we pray!  Amen!

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Prayer brings Christian growth and development

Thesis #19: “The New Apostolic Epoch”  By: P. Douglas Small

 

Last week:  “Love affirms, but God’s holiness challenges us.  Prayer centers us in God’s love, but, then His Presence exposes us to His holiness – and moves us by grace and consecration, into deeper levels of His likeness”… 

This week:

…Prayer, then, is the basic context for Christian growth and development, not preaching, not left-brain discipleship programs.

The assumption here is that there is more growth in discipleship through prayer than any other personal effort.  I agree with the assumption!  I have personally grown more in my faith and my relationship with God from taking my Bible, opening it and reading it, and praying my way through what I read, to understanding and practice.    What happens in a church worship service is of little consequence if it does nothing to command the way we live our lives outside of that worship experience.  Prayer is more about personal change than any other practice in the Christian faith.  When you pray, it is just you and God.  One on one!  There should be no distractions, no hindrances to hearing Him as you commune with Him and He with you in your session of prayer. With the Word of God before you, the Holy Spirit within you as your guide,  through your prayers, and your own personal hunger for righteousness, for holiness…you will grow in your relationship with God!

Let’s pray:  “O God, You are my God!  I want to be your disciple, so I read Your Word and pray for understanding to apply what I read.  I ask, Holy Spirit, that You would put a deep, abiding hunger in our hearts now, for more of the Scripture and for more of close encounters with the Father!

Lord, we have found this world to be a confusing, messed up place and we don’t want to be it’s next victim!  So, with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, we turn to You, asking that you be our daily guide through the Bible so that each day we live is used to honor and glorify You before others.  We will do our best to honor the appointment with You in prayer, each day, keeping it above all others.

We love You Lord, and desire Your Presence within, to heal us and prepare us for Your use in this world and for our future with You in heaven!  AMEN!

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The Holiness of God Challenges Us

Thesis #18: “The New Apostolic Epoch”  By: P. Douglas Small

 

Prayer Thesis number 18 by Doug Small says this: 

“Love affirms, but God’s holiness challenges us.”

Contemporary Christians narrowly see the dominant feature of God’s nature as love – and not as holiness.  Prayer centers us in God’s love, but then His Presence exposes us to His holiness – and moves us, by grace and consecration, into deeper levels of His likeness.

20) “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,

21) keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”         (Jude 20-21 NKJV)

Prayer:  O God…You are a holy God!  We acknowledge your unequaled “holiness” in this prayer today.  I pray that reverence for You will grow in our hearts as we live between the tension of Your holiness and Your love.  May a healthy sense of fear take shape in us as you wow us with grace and with the experience of Your Presence!  You chose to redeem us from the curse of sin through the blood of Your slain Son.  The value you placed on our redemption is beyond our knowledge to perceive.  Not many fathers would give the life of their son to save anyone.  But You did!  The measure of this kind of love is incomprehensible to us!  All we can do is “thank You”, which seems so small, so insignificant, by comparison.  But, we pledge to do it – as insignificant as it may seem to us – for the rest of our lives.  “Thank You, again”, for redeeming us.  We hope our lives are a “melody” of living witness to Your saving love, healing grace and your awesome Presence through the power of the Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth!  Amen!

 

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Prayer engages a Holy God

Thesis #17: “The New Apostolic Epoch”  By: P. Douglas Small

 

Prayer Thesis number 17 by Doug Small says this: 

“Prayer engages a holy God, and its primary purpose is our transformation.”

 

In relationship with God, through prayer we transform: From deadness to life.  From guilt to justification.  From sinfulness to holiness.  From independence to dependence.  From rebellion to submission.  From unloved to unconditionally loved.  From isolation to fellowship.  From being a cosmic orphan to becoming a child of God.

Prayer:  O God, You are my God, my Savior and the Father of my eternal hope.  I give you thanks for Jesus Christ, my constant companion on this journey of life.  Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to me to impart the wisdom of God, the joy of serving God, and the gifts of power and unconditional love to serve your interests through my life upon this earth.  

Thank you for your transforming power that is constantly at work in my imperfect life.  Every day is a gift from You!  Help me, lead me, in living each day for Your glory, Your honor.  Teach me Your ways, show my Your paths.  Give me the grace to walk each day in them!  

Grant to me that I can be a blessing to others in need of Your comfort and grace every day I live.  I do – and I will – forever praise You all the days of my life!     

These things I humbly pray and request in the Name of Your Son, my Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

 

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Prayer is God moving in us to move with Him

Thesis #16: “The New Apostolic Epoch”  By: P. Douglas Small

 

Prayer then, is the process whereby God moves us to move with Him.  God is the Sovereign, the center of prayer.  He moves, and by prayer we are both awakened and enabled to move with Him, participating in His purposes.

(Song of Solomon 2:8-9 – NKJV)

08)The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes Leaping upon the mountains, Skipping upon the hills. 09)My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Behold, he stands behind our wall; He is looking through the windows, Gazing through the lattice.

Lord, we are weary of the “waiting”!  We so desire for your Presence to come, to join us, to move us along with You into the center of all You have for us.  We see the need all around us – need that can only be met when You are with us and when you go before us to prepare the way.

We curse the darkness that holds many against their will.  We lift up our voices to You, asking for a release of the Holy Spirit upon us and upon the people of the churches in cities across this nation and around the world.  We solemnly plead, in the name of Jesus, our risen Savior, that you begin it right here, right now, in us today!  Sweep across this land with a tidal wave of conviction to topple the strongholds of sin and lawlessness.  Change the hearts and minds of those bent on destruction and evil.  Raise us up in might, in power and through grace make us ministers of rescue to those floundering, dying in sin.

Come, move us to the place where You are at work, in the places where evil holds individuals captive against their will.  Where abounding sin needs to be broken by an outpouring of grace.  Raise us up O God of heaven!  Make us flaming firebrands here on the earth, calling people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ for the salvation of their souls.

With broken hearts, we humbly request these petitions in the Name above all other names, the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Savior of all who call upon Him!  Amen!

 

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Prayer Begins With God

Thesis #15: “The New Apostolic Epoch”  By: P. Douglas Small

 

Prayer begins with God.  It is grace empowered.  God wakes up our cold dead heart to the reality of His Presence and calls prayer out of us.  Prayer is always our response to the often-imperceptible Presence and working of the Holy Spirit (John 4:23). The absence of regular prayer indicates spiritual deafness, or worse, a hard heart no longer obedient when God calls.

Prayer:

“Like your disciples, we ask you to “teach us how to pray!”  But, not just the words.  Teach us the “value” of prayer to our lives in this world!”  May we grasp the connection between prayer and your power at work in and through our lives personally.  Help us to know how to use prayer daily, to pray past our own person and being, our own need, and pray for wisdom, strength, and courage to extend the grace you have placed inside us, to others we meet during the course of the day.  Reveal to us how much “prayer” is like an “umbilical cord”, always connecting us to you and keeping Your life flowing into our life!  Teach us how to stay “tethered” to You through a consistent, vibrant, prayer life.

We surrender our will to you now as we pray.  Your will, not our will be done, here on earth, just like it is in heaven!  Use us this day to distribute the “glory” of Christ’s transforming love by the transformation His love has brought to us personally through faith in You.  May we be blessed to know Your Presence is with us through out the course of this day!  It is in the name of Your Son, who is our Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth that we humble ask these things.  Amen!

 

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God Delights to Meet Our Needs

Thesis #14: “The New Apostolic Epoch”  By: P. Douglas Small

07/21/19

Jesus said in the New Testament, “My house shall be called a house of prayer!”  Doug Small is the international director of prayer ministries for the Church of God and the founding president of Alive Ministries: PROJECT PRAY.  In a recent book, “The New Apostolic Epoch, Brother Small gives us The New 95 Theses – Proposals For Reformation.  I am using these to teach us more about Prayer.

A theses is a statement or theory that is put forward as a premise to be maintained or proved.  I believe the following theses that I am about to read to you concerning prayer.  In the church, we do many things such as maintaining the buildings and grounds, keeping them clean, visiting the sick and needy, caring for those in need of care, disciplining, training, preaching the Gospel and a whole lot more.  The theses I am presenting today – theses # 14 – about prayer says this:

“God delights to meet our needs – nothing is to small to pray about, but, noble prayer delights to meet God’s need to do His will, to serve His kingdom purposes, to glorify His name.

Psalm 40:8 – “I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is  within my heart.”

Matthew 6:9,10 – “In this  manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your  name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth  as it is in heaven.”

Hebrews 10:7 – “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come— In the volume of the book it is written of Me— To do Your will, O God.’ ” 

Prayer:  O Lord, Creator of all life, I come to give You thanks for my life, for hope and for the evidence of Your plan for my life.  The vastness and beauty of the earth all remind me of Your attention to intricate detail.  Thank you for creating such a place for me to live, find love, and to serve the interests of Your Kingdom in the splendor of Your creation.

Your capacity to care for each individual here upon the earth is exceeded only by Your love for each and every one of us who live here.  I reach back to You today, to humbly say, “I love You, I need You and thank You for the watch-care over the whole world and all the people in it.  Help me to be faithful in all the assignments I am privileged to be given by Your commission.  I ask all these things in the Name of your Son, Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, Amen!

Prayer Teaching:  we often say “God is good!”  And our response to that is, …“all the time!”

Question:  But if God is so good as you represent Him, and if He knows all that we need, and far better than we do ourselves, why should it be necessary to ask for anything? 

Answer:  What if He knows Prayer to be the thing we need first and most?  What if the main object in God’s idea of prayer be the supplying of our great need, our endless need – the need of Himself?  Hunger may drive the runaway child home, and he may or may not be fed at once, but he needs his mother more than his dinner.  Communion with God is the one need of the soul beyond all other need: prayer is the beginning of that communion, and some need is the motive of prayer.  So begins a communion, a talking with God, a coming-to-one with Him, which is the sole end of prayer.

George MacDonald

Mr. MacDonald says: “What if the main object in God’s idea of prayer be the supplying of our great need, our endless need – the need of Himself?” 

The illustration:  Hunger may drive the runaway child home, and he may or may not be fed at once, but he needs his mother more than his dinner. 

Conclusion:  Communion with God is the one need of the soul beyond all other need: prayer is the beginning of that communion, and some need is the motive of prayer.  So begins a communion, a talking with God, a coming-to-one with Him, which is the sole end of prayer. 

Have you had an experience recently, or in your past that caused you to “run” to God in prayer?

  • What was motivating you? Was it a financial need?  A need for “favor”?  Or was it just a need for reassurance?
  • When you got on the other side of the experience, what did you glean from it?

Is there anyone here today that understands or relates to the concept of “communion with God through prayer is our greatest need”?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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