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I am the first worship assistant at my church for the month of November. Which means that tomorrow is my last Sunday to serve in this capacity until next May (the other month each year when I am worship assistant). As first worship assistant, I assist the pastor with the service. I read the first two Bible readings and lead the psalm, lead the confession of the creed and the prayers of the church,  hand out the offering plates to the usher(s), help serve communion, lead two other prayers and do the dismissal after the service.  It seems like a great deal to do but it is spread out over the course of the service so it isn’t too much.

What does the second worship assistant do? Helps to serve communion. Sometimes I wish I had picked that position instead!

Last week I received some wonderful compliments on the prayers I had written. The worship assistant, after the creed, leads the congregation in prayers by praying three to four prayers and ending each one with “Lord in Your mercy…” to which the congregation responds “Hear our prayer”. The prayers can be found in the hymnal or from prayer books or even in the little box we keep on the table in the robing room, which are prayers written by other worship assistants and then placed in the box after the service. I try to remember to do that with my prayers when I am done.

I always write my own prayers, sometimes completely from scratch and other times revisions of prayers I have previously written. I have all the prayers I have written in a file on my computer. Since I have been a worship assistant for six  years, that is a pretty big file.

Last Sunday, during the sharing of the peace after the prayers, two of my friends told me they loved my prayers as I was shaking their hands and passing the peace. I thanked them and said I appreciated the comments. After the service, a couple came up to me and asked where the prayers had come from that I had read during the service. It took me a minute to figure out which prayers they were referring to (there are many prayers during the service) and I finally determined they were the ones I had written. They said that they loved the prayers, that they were very moving and that I should write a book of prayers. Again I thanked them for the compliments and was very humbled that they thought so highly of them.

As they were leaving the church, they mentioned to our pastor that they had loved the prayers and he passed their comments on to me. I told him what they had said about writing a prayer book and mentioned that, since I have been doing this so long, I probably have enough prayers written for a book. Kidding of course. I would never do that. Other people in the church write beautiful prayers as well and I would hate to stroke my ego that way.

Of course there is something to be said for the fact that even writing about this could be stroking my ego and a form of bragging. But that is not my point here. My point in writing about this is the amount of pressure I am under tonight. I have to do the worship assistant thing again tomorrow morning and I am hoping my prayers are received as well as last week’s prayers.

I have written them today and just finished re-writing one of them. I will read them through in the morning and make final tweaks. I am hoping that they prove as beneficial as the ones I wrote last week.

I do take comfort in the fact that I am not really writing them as much as God is writing them through me. I study the Bible verses and then I  pray before I write, pray as I write and pray after I finish writing. Sometimes, since I am a touch typist, I just close my eyes and let the words just flow out of me. So it isn’t me writing…it is God. The Spirit is leading me and, since I have free will, I am letting Him lead me.

One prayer I pray, just to myself, as I am driving down to church each Sunday is “Please help me not to be a distraction during the service”. Since I am normally in the balcony running the power point, I could forget to advance a slide (which I have done) or advanced too many at one time (which I have also done). I feel bad whenever I do make a mistake but I also really try hard not to make them in the first place. Helping out with the service should be a quiet, humble, gentle thing to do that helps to enhance the service and assist it to run smoothly. I don’t want to ever do anything that would detract from the service or interrupt anyone’s worship.

If you read this before tomorrow morning, please pray that the service will run smoothly and that no one will be a detraction. Actually, you can pray it for your church if that is what you are doing tomorrow. It is a universal request of God. That all will worship with peace and joy in their hearts. Amen.

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