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Confident Prayer (Philippians 1)

The relationship between Paul and the Philippian Christians is a model for all congregations. Paul and the Christians in Philippi recognized the deep work of God in each other, prayed passionately for each other, and fervently desired to see God-glorifying fruitfulness in each other.

Worship Service

Theme of the service

The relationship between Paul and the Philippian Christians is a model for all congregations. Paul and the Christians in Philippi recognized the deep work of God in each other, prayed passionately for each other, and fervently desired to see God-glorifying fruitfulness in each other.



Prelude/Gathering Music: “Sing Praise for the Journey” [see music notes]

Call to Worship

*Prayer of Invocation:
Eternal God,
You have called us to be members of one body.
Join us with those who in all times and places have praised your name,
that, with one heart and mind, we may show the unity of your church,
and bring honor to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
(TWS, 1.4.27)

*Opening Hymn: “Sing Praise for the Journey” [Dwelling with Philippians1:3-11 p.22, sung to FOUNDATION or ST. DENIO]

*God’s Greeting and Congregational “Amen”

*Song of Response: “Somos uno en Cristo / We Are One in Christ Jesus” [see also ELW 643]

We Are Renewed in God’s Grace

Call to Confession (in unison):
The church is a gathering of forgiven sinners called to be holy.
Saved by the patient grace of God,
we deal patiently with others
and together confess our need for grace and forgiveness.
Restored in Christ’ presence, shaped by his life,
this new community lives out the ongoing story of God’s reconciling love,
announces the new creation, and works for a world of justice and peace.
(“Our World Belongs to God,” 39)

Prayer of Confession

Assurance of God’s Pardon

*Passing the Peace
The worshipers greet one another with “peace to you” or “the peace of Christ to you” as an expression of acceptance and affirmation. [see liturgy notes]

Anthem: “Many Colors Paint the Rainbow,” Roy Hopp [see music notes]
*Song of Response: “All Are Welcome” [ELW 641]

Service of Proclamation

The Psalm of the Day: Psalm 85

Lord, you were favorable to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of your people;
you pardoned all their sin.
You withdrew all your wrath;
you turned from your hot anger.
Restore us again, O God of our salvation,
and put away your indignation toward us.
Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
Will you not revive us again,
so that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your steadfast love, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.
Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people,
to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts. 

Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.
Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;
righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,
and righteousness will look down from the sky.
The Lord will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him,
and will make a path for his steps. 

Sung Prayer for Illumination: “Speak, O Lord” [CSW 17]

New Testament Reading: Philippians 1:1-11

This is the Word of the Lord,
Thanks be to God!

Sermon: Confident Prayer [see sermon notes]

Response to God’s Word

Pastoral Prayer [see liturgy notes]

Sing “Spirit Divine, Inspire our Prayer” interspersed between prayer petitions.
Verse one followed by petitions that our love with overflow with knowledge and wisdom.
Verse two followed by petitions that our love will result in moral discernment.
Verse three followed by petitions that we may be filled to overflowing with the fruit of right living.
Verse four

Offertory: “Lord, Make Us Servants” [see music notes] [see also RN 155]

*The Song of Response: “Not for Tongues of Heaven’s Angels” or “Lord, Make Us Servants” [see also RN 155] or “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace


*Words of Sending:

Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing. Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another is showing honor.   If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 

(I Thessalonians 5:11, Romans 12:10, 18)

*God’s Benediction with Congregational Amen.

Postlude: “Lord, Dismiss Us with Your Blessing” [see music notes]


*Indicates standing if you are able


The materials included here from THE WORSHIP SOURCEBOOK are used by permission from THE WORSHIP SOURCEBOOK, © 2004, CRC Publications. This permission is granted for one time worship use in an order of service for a congregation, or in a special program or lesson resource, provided that no part of such reproduction is sold, directly or indirectly. For all other uses, please contact the copyright holder.


Liturgy Notes

  1. Perhaps your congregation is accustomed to “passing the peace” in worship. If so, this may need little explanation. If they are not accustomed to it, this is a teaching opportunity to reinforce the message of Paul that our relationships within the body of Christ must be a source of acceptance and affirmation for one another.  A mere “Good Morning” will not do this.
  2. The Pastoral Prayer will be very engaging to all worshipers if it is a combination of sung and spoken petitions. The three subjects of the petitions identified in this service are the three that N.T. Wright says are Paul’s concern in this passage. (Paul for Everyone – the Prison Letters, N.T. Wright, Westminster/John Knox Press, 2004). These petitions are introduced and woven together by singing the verses from “Spirit Divine, Inspire our Prayer.”

Sermon Notes

By the time we reach the third verse of this epistle, we already discover how deep and firm the bond of love is between Paul and the Philippian Christians. This is not only a beautiful picture of what was happening in Philippi, but it’s also an excellent model for the Christian church today, especially for pastors and congregations. Listen to Paul’s heart speak through his words: “I thank God for you…I pray for all of you with joy…I long for you…I know you hold me in your heart.

This deep bond rests on much more than friendship or sentimentality. It rests on the firm recognition of God’s deep work in their lives. Both Paul and the Philippian Christians see God in the other. They have shared in the gospel from the first day (v.5); they recognize God’s good work in each other and know that work will continue (v.6); and they share in God’s grace both during Paul’s imprisonment and his ministry. In their bonded relationship, we see a practical exhibition of great theological truths. God has begun his work in us and will continue it, regardless of circumstances.

We can find inspiration in this model of relationships, but we can also find instruction on how to pray for one another. Paul prays for the Philippians “with joy” (v.4) even though he finds himself in prison. And the content of his prayers for them reaches beyond the present and asks for God to cause his love to “overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight” (v.9). His eye is on the “harvest of righteousness” (v.11) that will bring praise and glory to God. The means to such a harvest is found in insight to know what is best so we can be pure and blameless and be able to discern right living (v.9-10). While this is a model for relationships between pastor and congregation, it also becomes a model for how pastors need to pray for their parishioners. What fruitfulness will surely come from that!

Music Notes

  1. The text of the opening hymn for this service is found in Dwelling with Philippians p. 22. We are suggesting this text be paired with either FOUNDATION or ST. DENIO. Arrangements of either of these tunes could then be included in the prelude. Resources for alternative harmonization are also given:


  • Organ: 
    • Cherwien, David. Interpretations. bk. 9 AMSI SP-106 [1992] (E-M)
    • Haan, Raymond H. Four Hymns of Rejoicing. Morningstar MSM-10-518 [1998] (E-M)
    • Held, Wilbur. Seven Settings of American Folk Hymns. Concordia 97-5829 [1984] (E)
    • Hobby, Robert A. 3 Hymns of Praise. Set 8 Morningstar MSM-10-543 [2007] (E-M)
    • Kosche, Kenneth. Musica Sacra: Easy Hymn Preludes for Organ vol. 2. Concordia 97-7015 [2003] (M)
    • Linker, Janet. Variations on “How Firm A Foundation”. Concordia 97-6586 [1996] (M)
    • Murphree, Claude. Toccata on How Firm a Foundation. H. W. Grey GSTC 813 [1955] (M, out of print)
  • Piano:
    • Courtney, Craig. Classical Hymns. Beckenhorst PC14 [2003] (M-D)
    • David, Anne Marie. Here I Am, Lord. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7566-5 [2002] (M)
    • Larkin, Michael. Simple Gifts Piano Meditations on American Hymn Tunes and Spirituals. Morningstar MSM-15-836 [2006] (E-M)
  • Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
    • Burkhardt, Michael  As Though the Whole Creation Cried  vol. 2. Morningstar MSM-10-606 [2009]
    • Busarow, Donald. All Praise to You, Eternal God. Augsburg 11-9076 [1980]
    • Goode, Jack C. Thirty-four Changes on Hymn Tunes. H W Grey GB 644 [1978]
  • Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
    • Hopson, Hal H. The Creative Use of the Piano in Worship. Hope 8392 [2008]
    • Wellman, Samuel. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000]


  • Organ: 
    • Thomas, David Evan. Augsburg Organ Library – Autumn. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7579-7 [2003] (M)
    • Carlson, J. Bert. (1995) Augsburg Organ Library – Epiphany. Augsburg 11-11073 [2001] (E-M)
    • Burkhardt, Michael. Praise and Thanksgiving. set 3 Morningstar MSM-10-753 [1990] (E-M)
    • Burkhardt, Michael. Six General Hymn Improvisations. set 2 Morningstar MSM-10-534 [1999] (E-M)
    • Haan, Raymond H. Welsh Hymn Tune Preludes. SMP KK426 [1989] (E-M)
    • Held, Wilbur. Those Wonderful Welsh. Set 2 Morningstar MSM-10-842 [1992] (E-M)
  • Piano:
    • Shaw, Timothy. Great Hymns of Faith for the Church Pianist. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 978-0-8006-2167-4 [2008] (M)
  • Handbells:
    • Wagner, Douglas E. Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise. Agape 1238 [1986] (3 octaves, E-M)
  • Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
    • Goode, Jack C. Thirty-four Changes on Hymn Tunes. H W Grey GB 644 [1978]
    • Wood, Dale. New Settings of Twenty Well-Known Hymn Tunes. Augsburg 11-9292 [1968]
  • Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
    • Helvey, Howard. Let It Rip! At the Piano. vol. 2 Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7580-0 [2003]
    • Hopson, Hal H. The Creative Use of the Piano in Worship. Hope 8392 [2008]
  1. The anthem suggestion “Many Colors Paint the Rainbow” by Roy Hopp is published by GIA G-5465 [2000]. It is scored for SATB divisi and Piano. (M)
  2. Resources for the suggested offertory and alternative harmonizations for congregational singing can be found in:


  • Organ: 
    • Diemer, Emma Lou. (1993) Augsburg Organ Library – Autumn. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7579-7 [2003] (M)
    • Ferguson, John. A Wedding Triptych. Morningstar MSM-10-650 [2003] (E-M)
    • Powell, Robert J. Sing a New Song. Augsburg 11-10766 [1996] (E-M)
    • Wood, Dale. Wood Works on International Folk Hymns. Sacred Music Press 70/1070 S [1995] (E-M)
  • Piano:
    • Carter, John. Today’s Hymns and Songs for Piano. Hope 244 [1995] (E-M)
    • Oines, Sylvia Berg. Bread of Life. Morningstar MSM-15-834 [2005] (M)
    • Porter, Rachel Trelstad. Day by Day. Augsburg 11-10772 [1996] (E-M)
  • Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
    • Hopson, Hal H. The Creative Use of the Piano in Worship. Hope 8392 [2008]
    • Organ, Anne Krentz. Let It Rip! At the Piano vol. 2 Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7580-0 [2003]
  1. Resources for the postlude, based on “Lord, Dismiss Us with Your Blessing” can be found in:


  • Organ: 
    • Bish, Diane. The Diane Bish Organ Book. vol. 3 Fred Bock B-G0756 [1984] (E-M)
    • Burkhardt, Michael. Hymns of Joy. Morninstart MSM-10-013 [2000] (E-M)
    • Young, Gordon. Eight Voluntaries. Presser 413-41034-30 [1961] (E-M)


Glossary of Hymnal Abbreviations

  • CSW: Contemporary Songs for Worship (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
  • ELW: Evangelical Lutheran Worship (Augsburg Fortress Publishing)
  • GSW: Global Songs for Worship (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
  • HW: Hymns for Worship (Calvin Institute of Christian worship; Faith Alive Christian Resources) 
  • PH: The Presbyterian Hymnal (Presbyterian Church USA; Westminster/John Knox Press)
  • PsH: The Psalter Hymnal (Christian Reformed Church; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
  • RL: Rejoice in the Lord (Reformed Church in America; W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
  • RN: Renew! (Hope Publishing Company)
  • SFL: Songs for LiFE (children’s songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
  • SNC: Sing! A New Creation (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Christian Reformed Church, Reformed Church in America; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
  • SNT: Singing the New Testament (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
  • SWM: Sing With Me (Faith Alive Christian Resources)
  • TWC: The Worshiping Church (Hope Publishing)
  • TH: Trinity Hymnal (Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America; Great Commission Publications)
  • UMH: The United Methodist Hymnal (United Methodist Publishing House)
  • WOV: With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)
  • W&R: Worship and Rejoice (Hope Publishing)