In Peter’s charge to wives to be submissive to their own husbands, he offers no general requirement of women to be subordinate to men in general but rather to their husbands within the context of the Christian family. This charge is given even to those who are married to unbelieving husbands who can “be won without a word by the conduct of their wives,” when they observe their respectful and pure conduct. Peter suggests that their adorning should not merely be external (hairstyles, jewelry, or fashion) but that the adorning should be “the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (verse 4). This hidden, deeper adornment, this inner beauty, he suggests, is how the holy women who hoped in God demonstrated the admirable qualities which won them honor, such as Sarah who demonstrated this in her relationship to Abraham. Peter says that emulating her behavior today makes believing sisters, her daughters “if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening” (verses 5-6).Peter’s exhortation reveals a keen spiritual principle that we will explore together, i.e., the powerful, inner qualities of strength, character, and excellence demonstrated by the women of Scripture. We will carefully look at and meditate on vignettes (little scenes) of a number of holy women in the Old and New Testaments, to see how we can understand what it means to learn of their cultivation of true beauty,the “hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.” These traits of godly character can both inform and enrich the spiritual formation of all believers, sisters and brothers alike.As those who are called, both men and women, to adorn ourselves with the glory of Christ, we can learn much as we ponder the rich, inner lives of the women of Scripture, and learn from their courage, wisdom, and inner power (cf. Rom. 13.14 – But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires). Their attitudes and actions can deeply inform and shape the life of Christian formation to which we are all called, regardless of age, gender, or background. As they were clothed in Christ, so we can learn from their attitudes and conduct, and so grow up in him.
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Father, thank you so much for the power and strength of the holy women testified of in the Scriptures, whose disposition and character reveal a spiritual depth that we all long to have. Teach us, through your Holy Spirit, that we might learn from the example and wisdom of these dear sisters, whose pattern of love to you can enrich our own walk in you. Teach us through their examples, for Christ’s sake, amen.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father, And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, Is now, and ever shall be, World without end. Amen, amen.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord's Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
--Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Affirmation from the Psalms
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.  Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.  Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
~ Psalm 51.5-10
Pray without Ceasing - Flash Prayer for the Day
Lord Jesus, cultivate in me a likeness to yourself in the “hidden person of the heart” in order that I may truly honor you in who I am and what I do.