Declare, My Soul, The Greatness Of God
Comments about using this piece in the context of worship…
There are many types of expressions during this piece. There is loud declaration, emotional descriptions of things to praise God for, there are spoken prayers, and wonderful times for the congregation and choir to join voices to fill the worship space with unified praise! With all of those expressions, effort should be made to not only show those differences vocally and instrumentally, but also visually. The faces of the choir members will impact the total worship experience once it comes to the worship service.
At the point for the spoken prayers, as suggested earlier, have the choir bow their heads to visually signal the congregation that it is a time focused on prayer. While you are encouraged to create your own prayers for use in your church community, the prayers written and used for the first performance of this piece are shown below either as samples or may be used as they are with our permission. During the prayers, the accompanist may choose to play quietly under the prayers, or the may choose to have the prayers be spoken in silence, then the accompaniment can resume at measure 103 as a short introduction to the next verse of the hymn.
Suggestions for worship context before and after Declare, My Soul, the Greatness of God
It may be most appropriate to precede the song with a scripture reading. The scripture may be spoken by a single reader, multiple readers, or the entire congregation. One of the Psalms of praise or a choosing of various Psalms would work as well. Psalms 145-150 would work, as well as Psalms 48, 95, 96, 98, 100…and several others. Be creative!
Songs that might be good following the song are:
All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name (CORONATION)
Come, Let Us Worship and Bow Down (Doherty)
Written by Lisa Lamb, and used by permission
Prayer before Verse Two:
Lord, we desire to draw near to you in this place, to bring our whole selves into your presence. We come tonight confident in the goodness of your rule over all things. And yet our world does not yet fully know your reign, and we do not yet allow it fully within our own hearts. So we are vulnerable—as nations, and within ourselves, we live too often outside the shelter of your wings.
So, from terrors of night, from the evil and dangers of our world today, from loneliness and heartache within, we come seeking the sure protection of your wings. Weary, we long for your sustenance, like roots long for refreshing rain. Battered, we seek your shelter. Empty, we turn to you, and find all that we desire, more than met in you.
Prayer before Verse Three:
We confess, Lord, that the works of our own hands fizzle, fade, and fall apart. But when you infuse them with your grace, they flourish, nurtured and protected by your care. May we entrust our work to you, letting you defend it and not our own efforts. We will give you all the glory as you cause it to prosper.
O Lord, we live surrounded by your goodness and mercy; it holds us up in ways we scarcely perceive. Each day you give us gifts that sustain and renew life within us. Shape within us a new awareness of the mercy that attends us each day.
Turn our hearts again to ponder your power. We delight in the astonishing paradox that you, Almighty One, desire to meet us with friendship. Befriend us with your love anew tonight.
Prayer before Verse Four:
With our every breath, we join with all that breathes, in a symphony of delight in your beauty. You quicken our heartbeat with glimpses of you, and we fall in astonishment and adoration.
You have made us your own people, and in this we are so glad. We long for the day when all will proclaim you as King. Our voices echo the cry of all creation; may it be so!
In the power and friendship of Jesus Christ we say, Amen, Amen.