All prayer, pursued far enough, becomes praise. Any prayer, no matter how desperate its origin, no matter how angry and fearful the experiences it traverses, ends up in praise. It does not always get there quickly or easily- the trip can take a lifetime- but the end is always praise.

—Eugene Peterson, Answering God

[Worship/praise] is never a solitary undertaking. Both on its visible and invisible sides, it has a thoroughly social and organic character. The worshipper, however lonely in appearance, comes before God as a member of a great family; part of the Communion of Saints, living and dead.

—Evelyn Underhill, Worship

…All enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise unless (sometimes even if) shyness or the fear of boring others is deliberately brought in to check it. The world rings with praise- lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game- praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars… The humblest, and at the same time most balanced and capacious, minds, praised most, while the cranks, misfits and malcontents praised least… praise almost seems to be inner health made audible… I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.

C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms


Gathering Before God
March 24, 2019
3rd Sunday of Lent
Center City Campus

Opening Sentences

Leader: The Lord has shown forth his glory: Come, let us adore him!

O For A Thousand Tongues

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!

My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad
The honors of Thy Name.

O for a thousand tongues
(O for a thousand tongues)
O for a thousand tongues
(O for a thousand tongues)
O for a thousand tongues to sing

Jesus! The Name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease;
’Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
’Tis life, and health, and peace.

He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.


He speaks, and, listening to His voice,
New life the dead receive,
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
The humble poor believe.

Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb,
Your loosened tongues employ;
Ye blind, behold your Savior come,
And leap, ye lame, for joy



Greeting & Preparation

Leader: The Lord be with you. 
People: And also with you!

Call to Worship 

Leader: O come, let us worship and bow down; 
People: let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker. 

Leader: The hour is coming, and is now here. 
People: In spirit and truth, let us worship god 

Leader: Glory to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit; 
People: let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker. 

—from John 4:34

Prayer of Invocation


Jesus, Lover of My Soul

Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide,
’Til life’s storm is past;
Safe into the haven guide;
Receive my soul at last.

Other refuge have I none,
I helpless, hang on Thee;
Leave, oh leave me not alone,
Support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
In the shadow of Thy wing.

Thou, O Christ, are all I want,
Here more than all I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
Heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name,
I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am;
Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound;
Make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art,
Let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart;
For all eternity.

©2000 Greg Thompson.  Words:  Charles Wesley.  Music:  Greg Thompson.


How Sweet The Name Of Jesus Sounds 

How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds 
In a believer's ear! 
It soothes his sorrow, heals his wounds, 
And drives away his fear.

It makes the wounded spirit whole, 
And calms the troubled breast; 
'Tis manna to the hungry soul, 
And to the weary, rest.

Dear Name, the rock on which I build, 
My shield and hiding place, 
My never failing treasury, filled 
With boundless stores of grace!

By Thee, my prayers acceptance gain, 
Although with sin defiled; 
Satan accuses me in vain, 
And I am owned a child.

Jesus, my Shepherd, Brother, Friend, 
My Prophet, Priest, and King, 
My Lord, my life, my way, my end, 
Accept the praise I bring.

Weak is the effort of my heart, 
And cold my warmest thought; 
But when I see Thee as Thou art, 
I'll praise Thee as I ought.

'Til then I would Thy love proclaim 
With every fleeting breath, 
And may the music of Thy name 
Refresh my soul in death.

© Public Domain
CCLI Song # 42940 -- CCLI License # 3040322


Call to Confession

Leader: God remains faithful to the covenant of steadfast love;
even when we are unfaithful. 
Without fear, then, let us confess our sins. 

—from Genesis 9

Prayer of Confession

People:  God of compassion,
in Jesus Christ you did not disdain the company of sinners
but welcomed them with love.
Look upon us in mercy, we pray.
Our sins are more than we can bear;
our pasts enslave us;
our misdeeds are beyond correcting.
Forgive the wrongs we cannot undo;
free us from a past we cannot change;
heal what we can no longer fix.
Grace our lives with your love
and turn the tears of our past
into the joys of new life with you. Amen.

Silent Confession & Words of Pardon

Leader: Return to the Lord with joy and gladness;
let sorrow and sighing be no more.
In Jesus Christ, you are forgiven! 

—based on Isaiah 35:10

Song of Response-  Kyrie Eleison

Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy, on us.

Passing the Peace & Announcements


The Word of God

Prayer for Illumination & Scripture Reading
 Psalm 63, NRSV

1O God, you are my God,
I seek you,
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.

2So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.

3Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.

4So I will bless you as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands and call on your name.

5My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,
and my mouth praises you with joyful lips

6when I think of you on my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;

7for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.

8My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

9But those who seek to destroy my life
shall go down into the depths of the earth;

10they shall be given over to the power of the sword,
they shall be prey for jackals.

11But the king shall rejoice in God;
all who swear by him shall exult,
for the mouths of liars will be stopped.

Minister:        This is the Word of the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God!

Sermon Series: A Praying Life
Sermon Title: Praise
Speaker: Jared Ayers


Apostles’ Creed

Minister: Let us say what we believe.
People: We believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
We believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand
of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge
the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic1 church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

(1that is, the true Christian church of all times and all places).


The Lord’s Table 

The Great Thanksgiving 

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.  

Lift up your hearts now!  
We lift them to the Lord.

    Let us give thanks to the Lord our saving God.
It is right and good, always and everywhere.
To give thanks, to the Lord.

Minister: With joy we praise you, gracious God… 
we join our voices with all the saints and angels and the whole creation to proclaim
the glory of your name, saying:                                       

Holy, holy, holy, God of power and might.
The whole earth is full of Your glory,
hosanna in the highest!

Minister: You are holy, O God of majesty… So, we proclaim the mystery of the faith:

Your death, O Christ, we proclaim.
Your rising celebrate! 
Your coming Lord we await, to make all things new

Minister:  Gracious God, pour out your Holy Spirit…As this bread is Christ’s body for us,
send us out to be the body of Christ in the world.

Praise to the Father,
praise to the Son, 
praise to the Spirit, 
Our God the Three in One. 


Words of Institution

Minister: Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.
People: Therefore, let us keep the feast. 

Holy Communion

Minister: The gifts of God for the people of God.

Gluten-free communion wafers are available at the welcome table in the front lobby of the church. Please pick one up prior to coming forward to take communion. Holy Communion, also called the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist, is the family meal of Christians. We invite all committed followers of Jesus Christ to partake of this sacrament: those who are baptized members of a congregation that proclaims the Gospel, who are at peace with God and their neighbor, and who seek strength to live more faithfully for Christ.


Prayers For Reflection

If you are not a Christian, or if you are not prepared to share in this meal, we encourage you to spend this time in prayer. We hope that this time is helpful to you as you consider your relationship with Jesus Christ and with his people, the church. If you are unable to receive Communion, we invite you to meditate on one of the following prayers:

Prayer for those searching for truth…
Lord Jesus, you claim to be the way, the truth, and the life. Grant that I might be undaunted by the cost of following you as I consider the reasons for doing so. If what you claim is true, please guide me, teach me, and open to me the reality of who you are. Give me an understanding of you that is coherent, convincing, and that leads to the life that you promise. Amen.

Prayer of belief… Lord Jesus, I admit that I am weaker and more sinful than I ever before believed, but through you I am more loved and accepted than I ever dared hope. I thank you for paying my debt, bearing my punishment on the cross, and offering forgiveness and new life. Knowing that you have been raised from the dead, I turn from my sins and receive you as Savior and Lord. Amen. 

Prayer of commitment… Lord Jesus, you have called us to follow you in baptism and in a life of committed discipleship in your church. Grant that I may take the necessary steps to be one with your people, and live in the fullness of your Spirit. Amen.  


I Heard The Voice Of Jesus Say

I heard the voice of Jesus say, 
"Come unto Me and rest; 
Lay down, O weary one lay down, 
Your head upon My breast." 
I came to Jesus as I was, 
So weary, worn and sad; 
I found in Him my resting place, 
And He has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, 
"Behold I freely give 
The living water; thirsty one, 
Stoop down and drink, and live."
I came to Jesus, and I drank 
From that life-giving stream 
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived, 
And now I live in Him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, 
"I am this dark world's light; 
Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise, 
And all thy days be bright."
I looked to Jesus, and I found 
In Him my star, my sun; 
And in that light of life I'll walk 
'Til pilgrim days are done.

© 1999 Kevin Twit
CCLI Song # 3112674 -- CCLI License # 3040322


Prayers of the People 

Minister: Lord, in your mercy,
People: hear our prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer

Minister: Let us pray as our Lord Jesus has taught us: 
People: Our Father in heaven, 
hallowed be your name,           
your kingdom come, 
your will be done, 
on earth as it is in heaven. 
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins 
as we forgive those who sin against us. 
Save us from the time of trial, 
and deliver us from evil. 
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, 
now and forever.


Sending into God’s World


When I Survey The Wondrous Cross 

When I survey the wondrous cross 
On which the Prince of glory died, 
My richest gain I count but loss, 
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, 
Save in the death of Christ my God; 
All the vain things that charm me most, 
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet, 
Sorrow and love flow mingled down; 
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet, 
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine, 
That were a present far too small: 
Love so amazing, so divine, 
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

© 2009 Tifah LLC
CCLI Song # 5718179 -- CCLI License # 3040322


Minister: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
People: Amen

—Galatians 6:18


Minister: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. 
People: Thanks be to God!