Praise and thanksgiving, with a prayer in preparation for hearing God's word

Several songs may be linked together by appropriate comments, biblical verses or prayers from the leader. The aim is to focus attention on God's character and his will for us, preparing us to engage with him through the ministry of his word.

This thanksgiving or a suitable alternative may be said by the leader alone or by everyone together:

Almighty God, creator and redeemer,
we praise you for the beauty of the world around us,
and for every gift we enjoy.
Thank you for creating us
to know you, to love you and to obey you.
Most of all we praise you
for your amazing love
in sending your Son,
to restore your world,
by dying for us
and rising to give us new life.
Accept our praise and thanksgiving,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Bible warns us, ‘Today if you hear God's voice, do not harden your hearts' (Ps. 95:7). Lets pray that, as Scripture is read and its meaning is explained, our hearts would be softened and we would respond with faith and obedience:

Heavenly Father, give us faith to receive your word, understanding to know what it means, and the will to put it into practice; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Listening to the Bible being read, with a sermon either before or after a confession of faith

A song may be sung between the Bible readings or a portion of one of the Psalms said together, to enable a response to the first reading.

Another song or a confession of faith provides a means of responding to the sermon.

Confession of sin and assurance of forgiveness, followed by the Lord's Prayer, further petitions and thanksgiving

A call to confession:
God's kindness should lead us to repentance (Rom. 2:4). Knowing his love and mercy in Jesus Christ, we need to confess our sins, seek his forgiveness, and ask for the renewing power of his Spirit in our lives (especially through the ministry of the word we have been challenged about . . .). Lets bring those concerns to God now as we pray together:

Heavenly Father,
you have loved us with an everlasting love,
but we have gone our own way,
and rejected your will for our lives.
We are sorry for our sins and turn away from them.
For the sake of your Son who died for us,
forgive us, cleanse us, and change us.
By your Holy Spirit, enable us to live for you,
and to please you in every way;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Assurance of forgiveness:
God pardons those who humbly repent and truly believe the gospel. Since Jesus died for us, we have peace with God, to whom be praise and honour for ever. Amen.

The Lord's Prayer introduces prayer and thanksgiving for various topics.

This concluding prayer could be used as a form of re-dedication:

Loving God, we thank you for hearing our prayers,
feeding us with your word,
and encouraging us in our meeting together.
Take us and use us
to love and serve you, and all people,
in the power of your Spirit
and in the name of your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


A final song picks up again the main emphases of the teaching given in the meeting.

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