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A Prayer for Public Worship

This week I came upon a prayer written by the Puritan Matthew Henry. This prayer comes from his book A Method for Prayer and is meant to be used “At the entrance upon the public worship on the Lord’s day, by the master of the assemblies.” What is most notable to me is how the prayer is almost entirely Scripture; it moves from one verse to the next, all the while seeking God’s blessing upon the worshipers. It’s a beautiful thing.

Thou, O God, art greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about thee. O give us grace to worship thee with reverence and godly fear, because thou our God art a consuming fire.

This is that which thou hast said, That thou wilt be sanctified in them which come nigh unto thee; and before all the people thou wilt be glorified. Thou art the Lord that sanctifiest us, sanctify us by thy truth, that we may sanctify thee in our hearts, and make thee our fear and our dread.

We come together to give glory to the great Jehovah, who in six days made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day, and therefore blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it. And our help stands in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.

O let us be new creatures, thy workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. And let that God, who on the first day of the world commanded the light to shine out of darkness, on this first day of the week shine in our hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

We come together to give glory to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to sanctify this sabbath to his honour, who was the stone that the builders refused, but now is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord’s doing, it is marvellous in our eyes: This is the day which the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it. He is the first and the last, who was dead, and is alive.

O that we may this day experience the power of Christ’s resurrection and may be planted together in the likeness of it, that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life and may sit with him in heavenly places; and by seeking the things that are above, may make it to appear that we are risen with him.

We come together to give glory to the blessed Spirit of grace, and to celebrate the memorial of the giving of that promise of the Father, in whom the apostles received power on the first day of the week, as on that day Christ rose.

O that we may this day be filled with the Holy Ghost, and that the fruit of the Spirit in us may be in all goodness and righteousness and truth.

We come together to testify our communion with the universal church, that though we are many, yet we are one; that we worship one and the same God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him, in the name of one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him, under the conduct of the same Spirit, one and the self-same Spirit, who divideth to every man severally as he will, walking by the same rule, looking for the same blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour.