5 Habits - Worship #5

Welcome to Everyday Devotions. These daily Bible readings and Prayer Pathways are designed to help you go deeper with God each day in response to what you are hearing at the Everyday Church services and Life Group gatherings.

Friday 24th January

In this week’s Everyday Devotions, we are looking at the third habit of a healthy Christian – spending time worshipping God on our own and embracing singing as a means of deepening our friendship with God.

Bible Meditation

Psalm 102:1-20

A prayer of an afflicted person who has grown weak and pours out a lament before the Lord.
1 Hear my prayer, Lord; let my cry for help come to you.
2 Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly.
3 For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn like glowing embers.
4 My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forget to eat my food.
5 In my distress I groan aloud and am reduced to skin and bones.
6 I am like a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins.
7 I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof.
8 All day long my enemies taunt me; those who rail against me use my name as a curse.
9 For I eat ashes as my food and mingle my drink with tears
10 because of your great wrath, for you have taken me up and thrown me aside.
11 My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass.
12 But you, Lord, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations.
13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favour to her; the appointed time has come.
14 For her stones are dear to your servants; her very dust moves them to pity.
15 The nations will fear the name of the Lord, all the kings of the earth will revere your glory.
16 For the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory.
17 He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea.
18 Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord:
19 “The Lord looked down from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he viewed the earth,
20 to hear the groans of the prisoners and release those condemned to death.”
1) Yesterday we looked at the importance of rejoicing in the Lord and of singing joyful songs to him. How does that square with the title of this psalm, which tells us that its writer was so afflicted that he sang a ‘lament’ to God instead?

2) Looking at verses 1-11, what clues are there that the psalmist was afflicted by the destruction of Jerusalem and by the fact that God’s people had been taken into exile?

3) Do you think it is appropriate for us to sing laments about the decline of the church in Europe and about the decimation of many congregations? How should we express this to the Lord?

4) How is the psalmist’s heart changed, in verses 12-20, through singing a worship song of lament to the Lord? How could this guide your prayers for your own spiritual state and for the spiritual state of the church in your nation?

John 4:23-24

24 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

5) How does what we read a few days ago in John 4 tie in with this? Why is it important that we express to God how we are feeling, even when we feel a lot more like singing songs of lament than we do joyful songs?

6) Thomas Merton advises us that “If you want to ascend to God, you have to descend into your own reality. God is too real to be found anywhere else but in reality.” He encourages us that “Worship at its best is bringing our real selves before the real God.”

7) How much does this type of real, gritty prayer and worship feature in our times of corporate worship as a church? Do you think we need to sing more songs of lament alongside our many happy songs?

8) How much does this type of real, gritty prayer and worship feature in your own walk with God? Click on the dropdown below, because you’ve got a chance to pray some real, gritty prayers right now.

Prayer Pathway

Let’s use The Examen Prayer that we learned together last week as our prayer pathway today. This prayer pathway was invented by Ignatius of Loyola in the sixteenth century as a way for Christians to check in with God in prayer throughout the day. We have modernised the words he used to make these 4Rs as easy as possible for you to use today.

REJOICE: Look back on the past few hours since you spent time in focused prayer to God. What has happened that is good and that you need to say thank you to God for? Make sure you check in with grateful rejoicing for what he has done for you.

REPENT: Look back on the past few hours and say sorry to God for anything that you have done that you know was sinful or displeasing to him. Lament where lamenting is appropriate. Then move forward in faith. God is eager to forgive you.

RENOUNCE: Look back on the past few hours and reflect on the ways in which you have seen a clash between the way God wants you to live and the way that the world around you is living. These are the battlefields on which your daily fight for holiness is being fought right now. Renounce wrong ways of thinking, declaring that you are siding with God and with his Word in each of those areas, no matter what price is to pay.

REBOOT: Look forward to the next few hours before your next check-in of focused prayer to God. What challenges and opportunities lie ahead of you? What discouragements and failures are you likely to drag with you into those next few hours unless you leave them here with God? Deal with those things now and let God reboot your life for the next few hours. Go into them empty of baggage and full of expectation. Let God commission you to serve him joyfully for the next few hours until you return to check in through these 4Rs again.

Be encouraged by Daniel 6:13 – “Then they said to the king, ‘Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.’” Come back later to pray these 4Rs when you wake up in the morning, when you take a break for lunch and in the evening before you go to bed.

End with Worship

In order to help you to respond to God in sung worship, we have created two playlists for you on Spotify.

The Everyday Devotions playlist contains a handful of songs which are particularly relevant to our Everyday Devotions this week. This song list changes each week along with our devotions.

The Everyday Church Song List playlist contains most of the songs that we are singing right now across the venues of Everyday Church. This is a wider song list for you to play throughout the day to help you worship as you wash up, as you drive, as you shower, as you sit on the bus and as you go about your daily life in other ways.

If you are somewhere where you can sing loudly, why not use these two playlists to end by singing some songs of worship to the Lord? If you are on the bus or train, why not put on your headphones and sing in your heart to God instead?
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These Everyday Devotions have been produced and edited by Phil and Ruth Moore on behalf of the Everyday Church Elders

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