Join our mailing list

The God Who Is Big Enough - Luke 11, Romans 11, HCLD 52

A service plan from the Lord's Prayer focused on the greatness of God in power, compassion and grace in a series on prayer as explained in the Heidelberg Catechism.

Worship Service

Theme of the Service

The theme of this service is the greatness of God. Because of God's greatness in power, compassion and grace, we can pray with confidence and assurance as shown through the doxology at the end of the Lord's Prayer, which gives God praise.


We suggest a number of resources that will be valuable tools for you in this study of the Lord's Prayer.

  • Each week we will provide references for you from the Heidelberg Catechism and both the Larger and the Shorter Westminster Catechism.
  • The website of the Center for Excellence in Preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary also provides sermon ideas for each Lord's Days.
  • Comfort and Joy: A Study of the Heidelberg Catechism, Andrew Kuyvenhoven, Grand Rapids: CRC Publications, 1988.
  • Our Only Comfort: A Comprehensive Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism (vol. 2), Fred Klooster, Grand Rapids: Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2001.

Catechism References:
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 128
Westminster Larger Catechism, Q. 196
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q. 107

* * * * *


Prelude: "Creator Spirit, by Whose Aid" [see music notes]
"At the Name of Jesus"
"The God of Abraham Praise"
(Each of these three pieces focuses on one of the Trinity, all of whom deserve our praise!)

Call to Worship

*Song: "Father, We Love You" CEL 9:1-3, PsH 634:1-3, RN 37:1-3, SFL 77:1-3, TWC 10:1-3 [seemusic notes]

*Our Declaration of Trust and God's Greeting:
Congregation of Jesus Christ, where is your trust placed?
Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Grace, mercy and peace to you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

*Worshipers greet each other.

*Response: "God Is Here" PH 461:1, PsH 516:1, RN 5:1, TWC 701:1, UMH 660:1, WOV 719:1, WR 1:1

Children's Moment

Children's Anthem: "God of Great and God of Small," Sleeth [see music notes]
Or: "My God Is So Great" SFL 35, SWM 40


Call to Confession

Our Prayer of Confession

Assurance of God's Pardon

Song of Thanks: "Halle, Halle, Hallelujah!" RN 139, SNC 44, WOV 612, WR 5

God's Guide for Grateful Living


*Song of Preparation: "Father, Long before Creation" PsH 464, RL 353

Prayer for Illumination

Reading of Scripture: Luke 11:1-13 and Romans 11:33-36
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Sermon: The God Who Is Big Enough
Prayer Patterns 9

Prayer of Application: [see liturgy notes]
Gracious Lord, Almighty God and Merciful Father,
we make our prayers to you
for yours is the kingdom
and the power
and the glory forever.
We make all our requests of you
because, as our all-powerful king,
you not only want to,
but are able to give us all that is good;
and because your holy name,
and not we ourselves,
should receive all the praise, forever.
And we conclude our prayers with "Amen"
because this is all sure to be!
We believe that it is even more sure
that you listen to our prayers,
than that we really desire
what we pray for.
We come always in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen. (from The Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 52, Q&A 128-129)

WE RESPOND WITH PRAISE [seeliturgy notes]

*Song of Response: "You Servants of God, Your Master Proclaim" PH 477, PsH 477, RL 598, TH 165, TWC 103, UMH 181, WR 112 [seemusic notes]

*Acclamation of Praise:
We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
the One who is and who was,
for you have taken your great power
and have begun to reign.
Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Christ.
Great and amazing are your deeds, Lord God the Almighty.
Just and true are your ways, King of the nations.
Lord, who will not fear and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come and worship before you,
for your judgments have been revealed. Amen.
-from Revelation 11:17; 12:10, NIV; 15:3-4, NRSV (TWS, O.1.4.1)

Anthem: "The Never Ending Song of Praise," Harris [seemusic notes]

Prayers of the People [seeliturgy notes]

We offer our gifts for .
The offering of music: "Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow" [seemusic notes]

*Response: "Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow" CEL 166/814/815, PH 591/592, PsH 638, RL 556, RN 83, SFL 11, TH 731/732/733 TWC 808/809, UMH 94/95, WR 34/44/147


*Words of Praise and Blessing:
Grace and peace to you
from him who is and who was and who is to come.
All praise to you, God of all, for your blessing upon us now,
for your blessing upon us in what has been
and for the gifts of grace and peace you wait to give us.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father,
to him be glory and dominion forever and ever.
All praise to you, Jesus Christ, for your great love for us,
for giving yourself to us, and for bringing us back to the Father.
Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him.
Lord Jesus, we look in expectant hope
to the day of your great glory
and wait with eager breath
to join with all creation in your praise.
"I am the Alpha and Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is
to come, the Almighty."
Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power
and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.
-based on Revelation 1:4-8; 7:12 (TWS, P.1.4.8)

*Song of Praise: "Holy God, We Praise Your Name" CEL 2, PH 460, PsH 504, RL 619, TH 103, TWC 3, UMH 79, WR 138 [seemusic notes]

Postlude: "Holy God, We Praise Your Name" [seemusic notes]

*Please stand if you are able.

* * * * *

Sermon Notes

It may seem strange that the statements of the Lord's Prayer with which we have become so familiar and which are taught by the Catechisms do not appear in our Bibles. As you read the passage from Luke 11, the doxology of the prayer is not there. In the parallel passage of Matthew 6, it appears only in a footnote in most translations. We are instructed in the footnote that the doxology appears in some later manuscripts. Yet, this doxology has become an essential part of Christian prayer traditions. For this reason it will be necessary to (briefly) explain the textual problem with various manuscripts, but it will be even more important to identify that, whether included in the earliest forms of the prayer or not, the spirit of this doxology is totally consistent with the spirit and theology of prayer that the Bible teaches. N.T. Wright, in The Lord and His Prayer (Eerdmans, 1996) has written, "But it was already well established within a century or so of Jesus' day; and it is actually inconceivable, within the Jewish praying styles of his day, that Jesus would have intended the prayer to stop simply with "deliver us from evil" (81). In any case, the doxology fits in exactly with the message of the prayer as a whole: God's kingdom, God's power, and God's glory are what it's all about.

As this series of messages and services conclude, we suggest that we all review our theology of God. Who is God, what is he like, and what do we understand his nature to be? A small-god theology will leave little room for confident prayer. Karl Barth once said, "whenever the churches have told men about a tiresome little god, the churches are empty.." Look at 1 Kings 20, and notice how a "god of the hills" (see verse 23) leaves us with a little god who can't really handle more than a limited area of turf. So why pray to someone that small? We need to be asking today about whether the narcissism and secularism of our culture leaves us with a small god who is interested and able to do little more than make people happy and comfortable. The classic statement of a small-god theology that destroys prayer is found in Psalm 115:4-8. About 50 years ago J.B. Phillips wrote a penetrating look at such failing theologies and put his finger on a fundamental problem, with his book Your God is Too Small. All of us who pray and who probably struggle with our prayer life from time to time need to evaluate our theology (understanding of God) as a necessary step to greater confidence in praying.

The answer to this problem of weak praying is a theology of a big God. The theology of a big God is found from beginning to end in Scripture. You may select multiple passages of your choosing to illustrate and teach this: Consider the creation account in Genesis 1 and 2, the exclamations of Psalm 99, Nebuchadnezzar's testimony in Daniel 4:33-37, the teachings of Jesus in Luke 11:9-13, the powerful doxologies of Paul (Romans 11:33-37, Ephesians 3:20-21, Philippians 2:9-11,, and finally the visions John has given us in Revelation (chapters 4, 5, 7, and 19). God's power is also illustrated and implemented in the work of Jesus Christ who is exalted now and reigns at God's right hand. God who is ultimately transcendent, has become immanent in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, and continues to be immanent in the daily events of our lives often in answer to our prayers.

Imagine the impact all this must have on our prayer life: amazement that God actually gives us the invitation to pray, to approach him, humility that he and not we receives the praise (Q&A 128), and confidence that he is able and willing to give us all that is good (Q&A 128).

Finally, do not miss the impact of the word "Amen" (Q&A 129). This word is not a closing of the door because the prayer is done. This single word has an entire profession involved in it: it declares that we are sure and confident of God's ability to hear and answer our prayers. No wonder Christians have historically concluded the Lord's Prayer with a doxology and a hearty "Amen!" Such a pattern is fitting for all our praying.

Music Notes:

Glossary of Hymnal Abbreviations:
CEL Celebration Hymnal (Word Music/Integrity Music)
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)
SWM Sing With Me (children's songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
TH Trinity Hymnal (Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America; Great
Commission Publications)
TWC The Worshiping Church (Hope Publishing Company)
UMH The United Methodist Hymnal (United Methodist Publishing House)
WOV With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)
WR Worship & Rejoice (Hope Publishing Company)

You may wish to include the singing of the Lord's Prayer throughout this series of services. Here are some suggested settings that could be used congregationally:

GREGORIAN [The Lord's Prayer (UMH 270)
LANGDON [The Lord's Prayer] (PsH 207)
MALOTTE [The Lord's Prayer] (RN 177)
MELITA [The Lord's Prayer] (TH 725)
ST. MICHAEL [Our Heav'nly Father] (RL 262)
VATER UNSER [Our Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth] (PsH 208)
VATER UNSER [Our Father, Clothed with Majesty] (PsH 562)
Our Father in Heaven (PH 571)
Our Father in Heaven (SNC 196)
The Lord's Prayer/Our Father (SWM 174)

We suggest the prelude be designed to include three selections, each directly related to one person of the Trinity:

MELITA ["Creator Spirit, by Whose Aid"]

Barr, John G. Three Preludes on Hymn Tunes. H. W. Grey. GSTC 01079 [1992] (E-M)
Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 9. AMSI SP-106 [1992] (M-D)
Stearns, Peter Pindar. Twelve Hymn Preludes for General Use. Flammer HF-5145 [1987] (E-M)
Wold, Wayne. L. Suite for Organ on Eternal Father, Strong to Save. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-
7569-X [2003] (M-D)

KING'S WESTON ["At the Name of Jesus"]

Burkhardt, Michael. Praise and Thanksgiving, set 3. Morningstar MSM-10-753 [1990] (E-M)
Johnson, David N. Easy Trios. Augsburg 11-9291 [1969] (E)
Powell, Robert J. Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart. Augsburg 11-10478 [1994] (E-M)
Schaffner. John Hebden. Organ Music for the Seasons, vol. 2. Augsburg 11-11010 [1999] (E-M)
Stearns, Peter Pindar. Twelve Hymn Preludes for General Use. Flammer HF-5145 [1987] (E-M)

Gramann, Fred. Fantasy on King's Weston. Agape 1671 [1994] (3-6 Octaves, D)

LEONI/YIGDAL ["The God of Abraham Praise"]

Albrecht, Timothy. Grace Notes X. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 0-8006-7561-4 [2002] (E-M)
Burkhardt, Michael. Praise and Thanksgiving, set 3. Morningstar MSM-10-753 [1990] (E-M)
Harris, David S. Ten Hymn Preludes in Trio Style. H. W. Grey. GB632 [1974] (E)
Johnson, David N. Twelve Hymn Settings for Organ. Schmitt 7634 [1976] (E-M)
Langlois, Kristina. Miniatures and Interpretations for Organ. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 0-8006-
2354-1 [2006] (E-M)
Page, Anna Laura. Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing. Boardman 4570-46 [1981] (E-M)
Peeters, Flor. Hymn Preludes for the Liturgical Year, vol. 6. Peters 6406 [1966] (M)

Carter, John. Contemplative Folk Tunes for Piano. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 0-8006-5977-5
[2001] (E-M)
Oines, Sylvia Berg. Bread of Life. Morningstar MSM-15-834 [2005] (E-M)
Wyrtzen, Don. Don Wyrtsen Piano. Hope 1711 [1994] (M)

A descant on the opening hymn "Father, We Love You" can be found in SFL 77.

The anthem "God of Great and God of Small" by Natalie Sleeth is published by Carl Fischer, Inc. CM-7808 [1973] and scored for unison voices and keyboard (E).

The alternate suggestion "My God Is So Great" is a simple song suitable for young children.

Alternate harmonizations for the Sermon Song of Response can be found in:

HANOVER ["You Servant sof God, Your Master Proclaim"]

Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Busarow, Donald. Thirty More Accompaniments for Hymns in Canon. Augsburg11-10163 [1992]
Goode, Jack C. Thirty-four Changes on Hymn Tunes. H W Grey GB 644 [1978]
Thiman, Eric. Varied Accompaniments to Thirty-Four Well-Known Hymn Tunes. Oxford ISBN 0
19 323210 3 [1937]

The anthem "The Never Ending Song of Praise" by Ed Harris is published by Hinshaw HMC-913 [1987]. This piece is scored for SATB voices and keyboard (E-M).

Suggestions for offertory music can be found in the following resources:

GENEVAN 134/OLD HUNDREDTH ["Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow"]

Burkhardt, Michael. Five Psalm Improvisations. Morningstar MSM-10-511 [1997] (E-M)
Burkhardt, Michael. Praise and Thanksgiving, set 2. Morningstar MSM-10-752 [1989] (E-M)
Callahan, Charles. Psalm of Praise. Concordia 97-6790 [1999] (E-M)
Callahan, Charles. Two Festive Organ Pieces. Morningstar MSM-10-761 [1999] (E-M)
Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 8. AMSI SP-105 [1991] (M)
Ferguson, John. Three Psalm Preludes. Augsburg 11-10823 [1997] (M)
Johnson, David N. Twelve Hymn Settings for Organ. Schmitt 7634 [1976] (M)
Jordan, Alice. Worship Service Music for the Organist. Broadman 4570-27 [1975] (E-M)
Krapf, Gerhard. Sing and Rejoice, vol. 3. SMP KK278 [1983] (E-M; adaptable for piano)
Purcell, Henry. A Collection of Thanksgiving Music. H. W. Grey [1938] (E-M)
Willan, Healy. Ten Hymn Preludes, set 1. Peters 6011 [1956] (E-M)

Hayes, Mark. Lord Be Glorified. Word 301 0047 312 [1990] (M)

Kerkorian, Greg. Old Hundredth. Lake State HB00066 [2000] (3 octaves, M)

A choral resource and postlude suggestions based on the closing hymn are available in:

GROSSER GOTT ["Holy God, We Praise Your Name"]

Choral Resource:
Ferguson, John. Holy God We Praise Thy Name. GIA G-3167 [1988]
(SATB, congregation, organ and opt. brass quartet; M)

Bish, Diane. The Diane Bish Organ Book, vol. 1. Fred Bock B-G0548 [1980] (E)
Burkhardt, Michael. Praise and Thanksgiving, set 4. Morningstar MSM-10-754 [1991] (E-M)
Dahl, David P. Hymn Interpretations. Augsburg 11-10972 [1999] (E-M)
Held, Wilbur. Hymn Preludes for the Pentecost Season. Concordia 97-5517 [1979] (E-M)
Hobby, Robert A. Three Hymns of Praise, set 5. Morningstar MSM-10-760 [1998] (E-M)
Manz, Paul. God of Grace. Morningstar MSM-10-599 [2004] (D)
Manz, Paul. Ten Chorale Improvisations, set 8. Concordia 97-5342 [1979] (D)
Peeters, Flor. 30 Chorale Preludes, set 3. Peters 6025 [1950] (M-D)

Wiltse, Carl. Holy God, We Praise Your Name. Stained Glass SGM-136 (4 octaves [3-4
octaves hand chimes], level 4)

Liturgy Notes

1. In the liturgy we have reformulated the statements of the catechism (Lord's Day 52, Q&A 128-129) so they become the verbal prayer of the congregation in response to the sermon. If you decide not to use it as a prayer, we suggest inserting the reading of this passage into the liturgy somewhere appropriate. To reprint for personal use, a ministry setting, or classroom use, include this credit line: © 1987, CRC Publications, Grand Rapids MI. Reprinted with permission.

2. The response section of this service includes the participation of worshipers in both song and readings that are an opportunity to express our praise and adoration to God. The conclusion of the service should not be hurried. Worshipers need to linger in the presence of God and express their doxologies before leaving.

3. The Prayers of the People may take any one of the forms it has taken in previous weeks. We've encouraged that each week during this series this prayer be an expression of or built around the Lord's Prayer. We have offered several alternatives in the preceding weeks: an extended paraphrase of the Lord's Prayer with phrases from one of the catechisms, a prayer structured according to the Lord's Prayer with each line expanded according to the prayers written by the leader, or a combination of sung and spoken words.

Also in this series: