Responsive Scripture Reading: God’s Everlasting Love

This scripture reading is from Romans 8 and serves as a beautiful reminder of God’s everlasting love for his children. It would serve well as an assurance of pardon that follows a prayer of confession.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

-Romans 8:31–35, 37–39 (ESV)

Responsive Prayer: Regeneration

This responsive prayer is an adaptation of “Regeneration” from the Valley of Vision. It is a prayer of thanksgiving for the new life we’ve been given through Christ and a prayer of petition that God would help us live as new creatures.

O God of the highest heaven,
You are worthy to be
praised with every breath,
loved with every faculty of soul,
served with every act of life.

We were once dead in our sin,
having no eyes to see You,
no ears to hear You,
no taste to relish Your joys,
no intelligence to know You;

But Your Spirit has made us alive!
You have brought us into a new world as new creatures!
You have loved us, adopted us, and called us Your own.

Let us lay aside every sin of this world;
Help us to walk with You
that we may be salt of the earth and a blessing to all.

–adapted from “Regeneration” (The Valley of Vision) © 1975 The Banner of Truth Trust

Call to Worship: Psalm 30:3-4

This scriptural call to worship is a reminder of our deliverance from death to life and an exhortation to the gathered church to respond by singing praises and giving thanks.

O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.

-Psalm 30:3–4 (ESV)

Responsive Prayer of Confession

This responsive prayer of confession deals with the sin of idolatry and failure to love our neighbors. It would work well in a wide variety of worship contexts. 

God of everlasting love,
we confess that we have been unfaithful
to our covenant with you and with one another.
We have worshiped other gods: money, power, greed, and convenience.
We have served our own self-interest
instead of serving only you and your people.
We have not loved our neighbor as you have commanded, nor have we rightly loved ourselves.
Forgive us, gracious God,
and bring us back into the fullness
of our covenant with you and one another.
Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

-from The Worship Sourcebook, ©2004, Faith Alive Christian Resources

Responsive Prayer of Confession for Children

This responsive prayer of confession would be especially useful for children.

Father, we are sorry for the many times we have left you and chosen to satisfy our own selfish desires.
For the times we have hurt the members of our families by refusing to do our share of the family tasks.
Father, we have sinned. Forgive us.
For the times we were unkind and impatient with those who needed our time and concern.
Father, we have sinned. Forgive us.
For the times we were too weak to stand up for what was right and allowed others to suffer because of our cowardice.
Father, we have sinned. Forgive us.
For the times we refused to forgive others.
Father, we have sinned. Forgive us.

-from More Children’s Liturgies, ed. Maria Bruck ©1981 by Missionary Society of Saint Paul the Apostle in the State of New York

A Prayer of Thanksgiving from the Book of Common Prayer

This general prayer of thanksgiving has been adapted from the Book of Common Prayer and would fit well during a worship service on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Most gracious God, by whose knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew; we give to you sincere thanks and praise for the return of seed-time and harvest, for the increase of the ground and the gathering of its fruits, and for all the other blessings of your merciful providence bestowed upon this nation and people. We fervently ask that you would give us a just sense of these great mercies; such as may appear in our lives by a humble, holy, and obedient walking before you all our days. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be all glory and honor, world without end. Amen.

-adapted from the Book of Common Prayer

Benedictions from Scripture

These scripture readings can be used as benedictions to end a time of worship.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 4:7 (ESV)

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.
-2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (ESV)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
-2 Corinthians 13:14 (ESV)

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
-2 Peter 1:2 (ESV)

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
-Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV)

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
-Romans 1:7 (ESV)

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.
-Psalm 67:1-2 (ESV)

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
-Numbers 6:24-26 (ESV)

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
-Romans 15:5-6 (ESV)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
-Romans 15:13 (ESV)

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.
-2 Thessalonians 3:16 (ESV)

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
-2 Thessalonians 3:18 (ESV)

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
-1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (ESV)

Responsive Scripture Reading for Thanksgiving

This responsive scripture reading comes from Ephesians 1:3-14 and Romans 11:36. It could be used for the Sunday after Thanksgiving or any other occasion to celebrate God’s blessing.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

For from him and through him and to him are all things.

In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

For from him and through him and to him are all things.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us.

For from him and through him and to him are all things.

In all wisdom and insight, He has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

For from him and through him and to him are all things.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

For from him and through him and to him are all things.

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

-from Ephesians 1:3-14; Romans 11:36 (ESV)
adapted from The Celebration Hymnal, Copyright 1997 by Word/Integrity