Monday, April 23, 2007

Prayers of the Church

This prayer was prayed at church yesterday during worship. I want to meditate on it this week.

Father in heaven, we raise our voices in thanksgiving to You, confessing that we are unable in ourselves to do good or to seek after You. Left to ourselves, we seek only our own peace, our own comfort, our own pleasure. It is Your Holy Spirit who works in us, giving us hearts to love You, changing us, and sanctifying us and our desires so that we may truly seek to glorify You in all that we do. So we pray, dear Father, that You would soften our hearts to hear Your Word, and quiet our wills that we may be guided by Your Spirit. Enable us to see past our own fleshly desires so that, in all we do, Lord, may we seek Your honor and glory.

We pray for the hastening of the day when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that You are the One, True God and that salvation is found in none other than Your Son. Continue to work in Your people to make our efforts effective for the advancement of Your kingdom. Use us as leaven to work in the world around us, transforming lives, throwing down everything that sets itself up in opposition to You, and bringing all things into subjection to Your throne of grace. Give us boldness to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to those around us, and grant that our words would go forth in power to bring the multitudes into Your Church.

Give us also a burning desire to see Your Church built up in faith and good works, washed by the water of Your Word, and cleansed from every spot and wrinkle, that we might be presented to You perfected at the end of time as a Bride for our Bridegroom, Christ Jesus. Give us a sense of urgency to minister within your Church, seeking not only to bless, but also to edify and to exhort one another unto holiness in our lives. Use our worship—the preaching of Your Word, the singing of praise, our prayers and the celebration of the sacraments—to nurture in us an abiding desire to walk worthy of our calling as Christians. Remind us of the privilege that is ours to lift up before You our fellow saints throughout the world, and especially those who worship in the face of persecution and martyrdom. Comfort them with the knowledge that their trials are a fleeting thing compared to the glory that awaits them in the world to come.

Lastly Father, we pray for our needs. We lift up to You all those who suffer from illness, infirmity, and difficult circumstances. We pray first of all for peace and a faithful witness in the midst of trials. We pray that You would be glorified in how we respond to adversity, and that Your strength would be made perfect in our weakness. Remind us that You love us, and that everything You bring into our lives is done out of love for us, Your children. Keep us faithful to You as we seek after healing, as we seek after work, as we look forward to moving and to the birth of new children. And in all this, Lord, grant us what we need. Give us this day our daily bread. In Your mercy, grant us healing, jobs, homes, and safe delivery of children.

Heavenly Father, where there is sin in our lives, root it out and grant us repentance. Where there is complacency, give us zeal for You and Your kingdom. Where there is pride, humble us. Where there is corruption, grant us a desire for purity in thought, word, and deed. Where there is anger and bitterness, grant us a desire for peace. Where there is selfishness, grant us generosity and abundant love. Where there are idols in our lives, give us the desire and the determination to cast them down. And in their place, may we exalt You, our glorious God and King.

We ask all this in confidence, knowing that as we seek Your will for our lives and as we sincerely desire to obey You in all things, we know that You will lead us not into temptation but will deliver us from the Evil One. And so we lift all these prayers up to You and rest in the knowledge that You are our faithful covenant keeping God, praying through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

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