Prayer of Praise

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By Stephen W. Hiemstra

God of all mercy and grace,

We praise you for creating the heaven and the earth, all that is, that was, and that will ever be; all things seen and unseen.

We look upon your creation, smile, and praise your name.

We praise you for the example of your son, our savior, Jesus Christ—who in life served others, who in death atoned for our sin, and who in rising from the dead granted us the hope of eternal life.

We see your son’s example and feel your love for us.

We praise you for your Holy Spirit, who draws us to you, grants every good gift, and provides all things.

We look upon your Holy Spirit’s power in the world and break out in praise.

May your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven, today and every day, with us and through us.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Prayer of Praise

Also see:

Believer’s Prayer

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/HangHome_2020

 

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Chapter 19 of Revelation: Praise, Fine Linen, and Truth

CloudsBy Stephen W. Hiemstra

Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns (Rev 19:6).

Why do brides wear white?

Three great themes of the Book of Revelation come together in chapter 19: the destruction of Babylon, the marriage feast of the Lamb, and Satan’s army at Armageddon.

Babylon is not directly mentioned here, but the apostle John describes the celebration in heaven over her destruction. In v 2 God’s judgment is praised; He has judged the great prostitute; and the blood of God’s servants has been avenged. The smoke from her goes up forever and ever (Rev 19:3).

The immorality of Babylon (v 2) is contrasted the righteous deeds of the saints (v 7).

Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”– for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints (Rev 19:7-8).

The wedding feast is contrasted with a less-inviting feast. An angel calls out to the birds:

Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great (Rev 19:17-18).

The feast of the birds is prepared by the death of the Satan’s armies slain by the sword of truth from the mouth (v 21) of the one described as the Word of God (v 13; John 1:1).

The beast and the false prophet are captured and thrown alive into the lake of fire (v 20). The psalmist asks: Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? (Ps 2:1). Revelation 19 gives a word-picture of what plotting in vain looks like.

But what is John saying to the church? Two lessons stand out. First, the army of God is led by Christ who is the Word of God (v 21). God’s enemies are defeated with the sword of truth. Second, we are reminded that God is the one who clothes us with righteousness (v 8; Ezek 16:1-13). We are blessed to be invited to this wedding party; blessed to be clothed in white (v 9).

Questions

  1. What is the response in heaven to God’ judgment? (vv 1-3).
  2. The word, hallelujah, is used nowhere else in the NT (vv 1, 3,4). What does it mean? Where else in the bible is it found? (Hint: Psalm 104:35)
  3. Three major themes appear in Revelation 19. What are they?
  4. Verse 10 has an interesting lesson. What it is it?
  5. Verses 11-12 have a number of symbols. What comes to mind?
  6. What is the significance of the name in verse 12?
  7. In verse 8, what color does the bride wear? How do we know? (Hint: v 14)
  8. What is the weapon used to defeat Satan and his armies? (vv 15, 21)
  9. What is for dinner and by whom? (vv 16, 17, 21)

Chapter 19 of Revelation: Praise, Fine Linen, and Truth

Also see:

Chapter 18 of Revelation: Babylon Revisited 

Chapter 1: Alpha and Omega 

Christian Spirituality 

Looking Back 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/2jaUhI7

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Prayer of Praise

October table setting of praiseBy Stephen W. Hiemstra

Lord Almighty,

All praise and honor be to your name,

the name of all names.

Lord of our comings and goings, our beginnings and endings, our good moods and bad ones.

For you have shared yourself with us graciously, the person of Jesus of Nazareth,

who lived as a good example to sinners,

died for our salvation from sin, and

rose from the dead that we might have life and hope eternal.

And in spite of our sinful state,

you gave us the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit,

who provides us with every good gift,

provisions and sustains our world, and

remains with us on good days and bad.

Accept our praise as we give ourselves to you.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Prayer of Praise

Also see:

Prayer for Shalom 

A Place for Authoritative Prayer 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/2fEPbBK

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Prayer of Adoration

Almighty God,

We will sing to you a new song, spreading out your praise throughout the world.

spreading out your praise throughout the world.

praising your name and telling of your salvation every day.

For you are most glorious and have done marvelous things that none can deny.

Your greatness abounds and we praise you for it,

none can compare and respect for you exceeds all things.

Your beauty and endless majesty form a temple for your worship.

Tell of God’s beauty and majesty, if you can.

Tell of God’s glory, if you can find the words.

Worship him and him alone for his glory and majesty and strength!

Tell the nations what is most obvious: God reigns!

Let heaven be glad, rejoice, let the waters rush and the sea foam; let it rage–

Let the fields praise you; let the forests sing of your glory.

Before the Lord, there is none other

For he will judge the earth in righteous and the people in truth (Ps 96).

Amen.

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Prayer Day 48: A Christian Guide to Spirituality by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Disponible en Amazon.com
Disponible en Amazon.com

Almighty Father. We praise you for who you are and for being worthy of our praise. Draw us to yourself. Reconcile us with our neighbors. May we lay our crowns before you and rest only with you. In the power of your Holy Spirit, open our hearts; illumine our minds; strengthen our hands in your service. In the Jesus’ name, Amen.

Padre Todopoderoso, te alabamos por lo que eres y por ser digno de nuestra adoración. Atráenos a ti. Reconcílianos con nuestros vecinos. Que podamos poner nuestras coronas delante de ti y descansar sólo contigo. En el poder del Espíritu Santo, abre nuestros corazones; ilumina nuestras mentes; fortalece nuestras manos en Tu servicio. En el nombre de Jesús oramos. Amén.

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Prayer Day 31: A Christian Guide to Spirituality by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Espera verano 2015
Espera verano 2015

Heavenly Father, “how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.” (Ps 8:1–2) May we praise your name forever. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Padre Celestial, «¡Oh Señor, Señor nuestro, Cuán glorioso es Tu nombre en toda la tierra, Que has desplegado Tu gloria sobre los cielos! Por boca de los infantes y de los niños de pecho has establecido Tu fortaleza, Por causa de Tus adversarios, Para hacer cesar al enemigo y al vengativo.» (Sal. 8:1-2) Que alabemos Tu nombre por siempre. En el nombre del Padre, del Hijo, y del Espíritu Santo, Amén.

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Prayer Day 28: A Christian Guide to Spirituality by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Available on Amazon.com
Available on Amazon.com

Almighty Father. We praise you for creating heaven and earth; creating all that is, was, or will ever be; and creating all things seen and unseen. We look out on your creation and praise your name. Keep us safe in your hands: seal our hearts; strengthen our minds; and shelter our bodies from all evil. In our hour of weakness, may we ever turn only to you. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Padre Todopoderoso. Te alabamos por crear el cielo y la tierra; por crear todo lo que es, lo que fue, o lo que nunca será; y por crear todas las cosas visibles e invisibles. Observamos tu creación y alabamos tu nombre. Mantenos a salvo en tus manos: sella nuestros corazones; fortalece nuestras mentes; y refugia nuestros cuerpos de toda malvadad. En nuestra hora de debilidad, haznos retornar siempre y sólo a tí. En el nombre del Padre, del Hijo, y del Espíritu Santo, Amén.

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What is worship?

Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

. . . the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. (Rev 4:10–11)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

If a spiritual discipline points us to God, then worship is the prince of the spiritual disciplines. In fact, we were made for worship (Calhoun 2005, 25).

Unfortunately, the Bible’s first picture of worship also pictures improper worship. Cain brought God some fruit; Abel slaughtered the first born of his flock and brought God the fat portions. God honored Abel’s sacrifice, but not Cain’s (Gen 4:3–5). Improper worship is like inviting your supervisor to your house and serving leftovers at dinner—you may not get fired, but it degrades the relationship.

One of the first deacons of the church, Stephen, was arrested in Jerusalem and was arraigned before the Sanhedrin. There, he accused them of limiting the access to God at the temple, of killing the prophets, of betraying and murdering Christ, and, therefore, of not keeping the law. Improper worship—limiting access to God—was Stephen’s first charge. For this and other things, they took Stephen out and stoned him (Acts 7:48–58).

Stephen’s complaint was not about altar sacrifices. When the Israelite people lived in Egypt, they needed to go into the wilderness to offer sacrifices, in part, because they sacrificed animals that were sacred to the Egyptians (Exod 8:26). The point of the sacrifice was to demonstrate loyalty to God by forsaking the typical idols of the day (Lev 17:7) [1]. However, over time the sacrifices lost their meaning, became routine, or, worse, started to look like divine bribes—improper worship [2]. Echoing the Prophet Isaiah (Isa 1:16), King David writes: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Ps 51:17) The content of worship, not its form, is what makes worship proper or improver.

An important picture of proper worship is given in Revelation 4:10-11 where the twenty-four elders cast their crowns before the throne of God. In heaven, the elders are casting down crowns given them by God, yet they still humbly lay them down (e.g. Rev 2:10). On earth, a crown is a symbol (an idol) of our vanity—a conspicuous display of personal wealth, power, and authority; it does not have to be a golden tiara! When I cast my crowns at the feet of the king of kings, I am surrendering all my idols—money, power, and authority—to God. On earth as it is in heaven this is the ultimate act of worship.

How do we then properly lay our crowns before the Lord?

Proper worship is an idol crashing event [3]. In worship we demonstrate our loyalty to God by surrendering to God the idols that most typically capture our hearts—our money, our power, and our authority. For some, it will mean writing checks; for others it may be donating time; for still others it may be simply to show up at worship clean and sober. For most of us, it means bringing along our families. For all of us, it means joining in God’s praises. Worship is a smorgasbord of praise.

When we look beyond our pride and idols to God, we cast down our crowns and truly worship.

[1] For more discussion, see: (Hahn 2009, 150).

[2] For example, the Prophet Isaiah (Isa 1:13) writes: “bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.” Likewise, the prophet Malachi writes: “When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil?” (Mal 1:8)

[3] The prophet Mohammed (1934, 21.51–.66) wrote that Abraham’s father was an idol-maker. One day when his father was away, Abraham smashed all but the biggest idol in his shop. When his father returned and confronted him, Abraham told his father to ask the remaining idol what happened. His father replied—you know that idols cannot speak. To which Abraham responded—then why do you worship anything but the living God?

REFERENCES

Calhoun, Adele Ahlberg. 2005. Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices that Transform Us. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books.

Hahn, Scott W. 2009. Kinship by Covenant: A Canonical Approach to the Fulfillment of God’s Saving Promises. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

What is worship?

Also see:

Preface to a Life in Tension

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/Release_2020

 
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Prayer Day 24: A Christian Guide to Spirituality by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Available on Amazon.com
Available on Amazon.com

Almighty Father. We praise you for creating of heaven and earth, creating all that is, was, or will ever be, and creating all things seen and unseen. We look out on your creation and just praise your name. Keep us safe in your hands: seal our hearts; strengthen our minds; and shelter our bodies from all evil. In our hour of weakness, may we ever turn only to you. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

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