Welcome and Opening Prayer
Praise and Worship
Alternate the verses of the song “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” (Song #39 from The Salvation Army Song Book) with the following scripture verses: Romans 12:12, Philippians 4:4, Romans 15:13, Galatians 5:22, John 16:24, Proverbs 17:22, Romans 14:17, John 16:22, James 1:2-4, Psalms 16:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:16.
Activity — The Long and Winding Road of Prayer
We can learn to celebrate God’s direction through difficulties. In this worship activity, the leader sets up brown paper bags around the room. Each brown bag should be made to look like a brick on our life’s walk and will be printed with an area of life—marriage, kids, family, work, finances, friendships, future, past, dreams and spiritual life. Space the bags apart as individual prayer stations. Place paper and pencils at each station. The women are invited to walk the long and winding road of prayer. At each station, they are to take the time to celebrate God’s direction through the difficulties and to write the name of a person or situation of concern in each of the areas. By placing them in the bag, they indicate that they are entrusting their cares in that particular area to the Lord.
While the women are walking the road of prayer, have the George Michael updated version of the song “Long and Winding Road” playing in the background. This can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJifw6Kej2s. Once the song is completed read Proverbs 3:5, 6. Remind the women that as we walk life’s road, we need to trust in God wholeheartedly, believing that we must trust only in Him regardless of the outcome. He will make our paths straight.
Walking Life’s Path
How many of you are Beatles fans? Toward the end of the group’s time together as a band, Paul McCartney wrote a song titled “The Long and Winding Road.” A little known fact about the song is that it was not inspired by a love interest but was written by Paul based on tensions within the band. The first line says: “The long and winding road that leads to your door.” We each experience times of joy and times of sorrow in this life. However, if we allow the Lord to take control, those difficult times in our lives can lead us to Him.
We can compare our life to a journey. We can picture ourselves physically walking this journey called life. Walking is an activity that many people enjoy. Walking as a form of exercise has great benefits physically and is also a great stress reliever. There are seasons of our life walk that are enjoyable and smooth, especially when the path is level and predictable. Then there are those seasons of our life walk that are more challenging.
On our journey, there are days when we are on top of the world and it feels like nothing can go wrong. Everything is great at work and all your co–workers are all getting along. Everything is smooth at home also. Then there are other days where everything goes wrong at work. The house is a mess and it seems everyone has conspired against you. Have you ever had one of those days? No matter how hard you work, nothing seems to gets better? Or even worse than a few bad days are months or even years of sorrow. Perhaps your loved one is facing an illness or you experience a sudden loss in your family. Life can be unpredictable and hard to endure. Unexpected difficulties can be draining. Sadly, we all will have those days, but it is important that even in the midst of these we remember to go to God with our concerns.
Proverbs 3:5,6 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and he will make your paths straight.” These verses give us three important steps to apply during difficult times: Trust in Him. Lean on Him. Submit to His will. And the result is He will lead you on your journey.
One of the lines in that Beatles song says: “Crying for the day, why leave me standing here? Let me know the way.” During those difficult times in our journey, we ask God why? Why did You allow this to happen? Why have you left me all alone? He knows when we are walking through those difficult roads in life. He even knows when we are about to give up and feel that we just can’t take any more. In those moments, we need to trust, lean on Him and seek His will for our lives. As the Beatles sang, “Let me know the way.” The Lord will always teach us the way and make our paths straight when we turn to Him.
Maybe today you feel as though you are on this long and winding road and you’re beginning to lose your sense of joy. We can be happy or sad but our joy need never be lost. Joy is our inheritance as believers. Sadness and happiness come and go, but even amid a difficult situation we can keep our joy. Joy comes from a confidence in knowing that God is in control of your life. Joy comes when you have made the choice to praise God regardless of the situation.
Lord, you didn’t promise us a life without troubles. We read in John 14, “You will have many trials and sorrows, but take heart…” Today we claim the promise that You are with us and will not leave us alone. You lift us up in the midst of our pain. We know that we can trust in You.