DEVOTIONAL SACRED SEASON
DAY 19 and 39 - 23rd June, 13th July
PRAYER TIME FOR DAY 19 and 39 - JUNE 23rd and 13th July
Especially designed for zoom prayer times during the Sacred Season of Prayer and Fasting but can be used in face to face prayer times as well. Spontaneous prayer is offered in times of prayers of praise and confession from group members using if possible some of themes in the psalm or scripture reading. The prayers for others can also be prayed spontaneously and can weave in thoughts from scripture reading, passage from Basis of Union and devotional reading.
SOLE LOYALTY TO CHRIST THE LIVING HEAD OF THE CHURCH!
REV IAN WEEKS
Rev Ian Weeks is the minister in placement at Belrose Uniting Church, Sydney NSW. He is also on the ACC
National Council serving as the secretary. He is a Teacher of the ACC School of Faith.
BIBLE READINGS: Psalm 19
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure,
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
PRAYERS OF PRAISE AND ADORATION
PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
BIBLE READINGS: Deuteronomy 4:1 – 8; Romans 5:18 – 21
Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. 2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.
3 You saw with your own eyes what the Lord did at Baal Peor. The Lord your God destroyed from among you everyone who followed the Baal of Peor, 4 but all of you who held fast to the Lord your God are still alive today.
5 See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. 6 Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” 7 What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him? 8 And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?
Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord
PARAGRAPH 1: BASIS OF UNION
The Uniting Church acknowledges that the demand of the Gospel, the
response of the Church to the Gospel, and the discipline which it requires
are partly expressed in the formulation by the Church of her law. The
aim of such law is to confess God’s will for the life of his Church; but since
law is received by man and framed by him, it is always subject to
revision in order that it may better serve the Gospel.
The Uniting Church will keep her law under constant review so that her life may increasingly be directed to the service of God and man, and her worship to a true and faithful setting forth of, and response to, the Gospel of Christ. The law of the Church will speak of the free obedience of the children of God, and will look to the f nal reconciliation of mankind under God’s sovereign grace.
In Psalm 19 we are invited to join with the Psalmist in celebrating the
greatness of God not only in His creative works, but also in God’s gracious
provision of His good, pure, righteousness and beneficial Law.
The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.
The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous.
(Psalm 19: 7 – 9 NIV)
Laws, in theory, are good. They are there for the protection and well being of the community. God gave the Law in the Old Testament for the good of His people, that may live well in the land God had given them, and be a beacon of light, wisdom and blessing to the world around them (Deuteronomy 4).
Any community needs laws – laws that provide good order, protection, justice and guidance – because we are still sinful people. The Church is no different. The Basis of Union (Para 17) acknowledges that the Church needs laws to help us live out the Gospel in obedience to the ultimate Law of Christ: love God and love your neighbour: “to confess God’s will for the Church”, and “that its life may increasingly be directed to the service of God and humanity, and its worship to a true and faithful setting forth of, and response to, the Gospel of Christ.”
But laws have limits. No matter how good the laws may be, they cannot change us, reform us, or redeem us. They remind us of our brokenness. They point us to our need for a law-abider, a law-fulfiller, someone who can rescue us from the consequences of our transgressions of the laws. As the Basis of Union states “The law of the Church … will look to the final reconciliation of humanity under God’s sovereign grace.” (Para 17).
God, in His sovereign and abundant grace has given us a Saviour – Jesus – who has fulfilled all law with righteousness, and has taken the consequence of our law-breaking upon himself by death upon the cross. As a result, Jesus has freed us from the curse and bondage of law, and given us a hope of an eternal freedom from all laws in His kingdom, where laws will not be needed for us to live out our redemption. Abundant Grace, Liberating Hope!
In the mean-time, we pray that we will live in obedience to the laws of the Lord, and of the Church, that we too may live well in the land God had given us, and be a beacon of light, wisdom and blessing to the world around us.
Almighty God, loving Heavenly Father, giver of all good law: Forgive my
transgressions of the good laws that you have given and the laws you have helped the Church form. Enable me, by Your Spirit, to live a life worthy of the Gospel by keeping the laws of the Church that direct my witness, worship and service. And help me keep my eyes firmly fixed on Jesus, who has fulfilled all righteousness for me, that I too may perfectly love You, love my neighbours, and be a beacon of abundant grace and liberating hope in my community. I ask this in Jesus’ name and for His glory. Amen.
PRAYERS FOR OTHERS
CONFESSION FROM BASIS OF UNION
Within this fellowship of the Uniting Church in Australia, and as part of the Christian church around the world, let us confess Christ in the following words from the Basis of Union.
Today we ‘confess Jesus as Lord over (our) own life’ and ‘Head over all things, the beginning of a new creation, of a new humanity’.
Let us reaffirm our desire ‘to live and work within the faith and unity of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church’.
We joyously ‘acknowledge that Christ alone is supreme in his Church’ and declare our ‘readiness to go forward together in sole loyalty to Christ the living Head of the Church’.
With the gracious help of God our congregations are committed to serve the world for which Christ died, and…await with hope the day of the Lord Jesus Christ
on which it will be clear that the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of the Christ, who shall reign for ever and ever.’ Amen.
Nb. The words in quotation marks are direct quotes from the Basis of Union
Prepared by Rev Rod James.