Our lives can often feel rushed and overwhelmed. With constant responsibilities and needs that press for our attention, there might be very little time we routinely set aside for rest and renewal in God’s presence. And yet, His Word is so clear on how important it is to establish the priority of worship and Sabbath into our week.
God gave us that example as Creator of the entire world, resting on the 7th day after His work of creation (Genesis 2:2). Jesus also spoke of the Sabbath’s significance and came to fulfill it by establishing the very needed work of spiritual renewal and restoration in our lives (Matthew 12:8).
He continues to invite us to come to Him to set aside the worries of life and find renewal and peace in His Presence. It’s truly a choice, many days, to give Him that priority time and remember how much we must rely on Him. But we need to keep showing up and remind one another that we’re in this life thing together.
The Bible is filled with reminders of the blessings of our worship to God and of the strength and unity within the community of the local church. Don’t ever think your presence in worship doesn’t matter. God sees you, and He loves you unconditionally. He promises every day to give strength to the weary, help to the needy, and healing to the broken.
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A Sunday Morning Prayer to Help Focus Your Heart on God:
It’s been a long week. We need you now more than ever. We ask that you would direct our hearts and minds towards you, and fill us with your Spirit, bringing refreshing, renewal, peace, and joy. You remind us in your word that you are faithful to carry our burdens. You tell us that you will renew our strength, and you promise to give us rest as we come to you.
Forgive us for the times we have worked so hard to be self-sufficient, forgetting our need for you, living independently of your Spirit. Forgive us for letting fear and worry control our minds and for allowing pride and selfishness to wreak havoc over our lives. Forgive us for not following your ways and for living distanced from your presence.
Thank you that your ways are far greater than our ways and your thoughts far deeper than our thoughts. Thank you that you had a plan to redeem. Thank you that you make all things new. Thank you that your face is towards the righteous, you are close to the brokenhearted, you hear our prayers, and know our hearts. Thank you for your daily, powerful presence in our lives, that we can be assured, no matter what we’re facing, your heart is towards us, your eyes are over us, and your ears are open to our prayers. Thank you that you surround us with favor as with a shield, and we are safe in your care.
We give you praise and honor for your ways are righteous and true. We give you worship for you are holy and just. We will declare that your love stands firm forever, for your lovingkindness endures forever.
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"Shine your light in us, through us, and over us."
Help us never to take for granted this huge gift of love you have offered on our behalf. Help us to be reminded of the cost of it all. Forgive us for being too busy or distracted by other things, for not fully recognizing what you’ve so freely given, and all that Christ has done for us. Help us to cease striving and to remember again that you alone are God. We choose to press in close to you today and to keep you first in our hearts and lives. May we walk in your wisdom and purposes, may we stay strong and true to you.
We pray for your protection over our lives, our families, and other believers. We ask for your hand to cover us and keep us distanced from the evil intent of the enemy – that you would be a barrier over us and that we would find refuge in you. We pray that you would give us discernment and insight beyond our years to understand your will, hear your voice, and know your ways.
We ask that you would keep our footsteps firm on solid ground, helping us to be consistent and faithful. Give us supernatural endurance to stay the course, not swerving to the right or to the left, or being too easily distracted by other things that would seek to call us away from a close walk with you.
Shine your light in us, through us, and over us. May we make a difference in this world for your glory, so that your purposes would stand. Set you way before us. May all your plans succeed. May we reflect your peace and hope to a world that so desperately needs your presence and healing.
We praise you, and we bless you oh Lord. Thank you that you reign supreme and we are more than conquerors through the gift of Christ!
In the powerful Name of Jesus we pray,
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12 Scriptures to Reflect on for Worship and Sabbath:
“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!” Psalm 95:6
“The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Zephaniah 3:17
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:20
“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.” Revelation 4:11
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Remembering the Sabbath
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.” Psalm 9:1-2
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God…For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Exodus 20:8-11
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Giving God Glory
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 100:1-5
“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” Psalm 115:1
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“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9
"For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere..." Psalm 84:10
"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." Hebrews 10:24-25
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"I’m so grateful for the body of Christ and for the One who sets us free."
Though many of us would agree on the Sabbath’s significance, the most difficult part of establishing “Sabbath,” which at its root means, “to stop, to cease,” or “to rest,” is this: too many other things have occupied our attention. We’re distracted. We’re weary. We’re often overwhelmed or struggling through brokenness, busyness, or difficult seasons. And it’s right there that we need God more than ever. We need the freshness of His Spirit to breathe life into our weary, hurried souls. Keep coming to Jesus. Keep meeting together with the church body.
I’m so grateful for the body of Christ and for the One who sets us free.
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's Facebook page, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives. Find her also on Twitter and at her blog www.debbiemcdaniel.com.
Listen and Pray With Us:
This article is part of our Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.
The Lord’s Prayer
Irish Blessings & Prayers
Good Night Prayers
Prayer for Healing
Prayer for Protection
Prayer for God’s Help
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Prayer for Strength
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Originally published Tuesday, 11 January 2022.