Monday, January 30, 2012

A Congregational Prayer

This prayer was offered yesterday, though the personalized requests have been omitted.

Gracious Heavenly Father,

We bow before You for You are Lord of heaven and earth. You have called heaven your throne and the earth your footstool. And when the highest heavens cannot contain you, we ask,  “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man, that you care for him?” Your majesty and glory bring us awe. So I pray that we come not as a matter of liturgy.  Break the chains of routine and mundaneness. In a fresh way, with a renewed spirit, may we fear Your Name, revere You and worship You as Soverign King. And may we take refuge under the shelter of Your wings, abiding in Your shadow, and embrace You as children trusting their Father.

By Your great love You sent Your Son. And we are eternally thankful for the Person and work of Jesus Christ. By Him we have an unshakable hope. We are free, in Christ, to pray and worship, and with our unified voice we exalt You, O Lord. For we know where we came. We know of our trespasses. We rebelled against you. By our wicked sin we tried to seize Your crown thinking we could be god. Lord, we deserve death and judgment and hell. Even now you restrain your wrath for the fullness of time, and show us grace by withholding your judgment. Let us use this time to repent and draw near to you Lord. In these few moments, we individually confess our sins.

We are unrighteous and unholy, but you demonstrated your love in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us. Grant us faith to confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord. Grant us faith to believe in our hearts that You raised Him from the dead.  God, grant us the gift of salvation. We thank you that Jesus bore on Himself the wrath due our sin and freed us from the bondage of sin and death. He shed His blood for us. We thank you that we are clothed in His righteousness. Most of all Lord, we thank You that through Christ we are restored unto You. We are reconciled with the Almighty and may commune with You once more.

And we give you great thanks for sending Your Holy Spirit. It is a great comfort to know that we have a Helper. You have made us Your temple and dwell within us, and walk among us. You are our God, and we are Your people. Thank you that the Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words…according to Your will. We thank you for the promise of fruit in our lives, and ask by the Spirit to grow in love, joy, piece, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Help us to grow toward love for one another. Your Son commanded us to love one another, just as he loves us. May we be known by our love so the world sees us as disciples of Jesus. We pray that this love leads us to a unity of the body. Let us have this mind among ourselves, which is ours in Christ Jesus: to count others more significant than ourselves, to look to the interests of others, and to humbly sacrifice ourselves to serve others. Complete our joy by making us of the same mind, to take up our cross and follow our Savior. Show us how we may lay down our lives for our friends.

Father, this is our prayer for our church as a whole, and this is our prayer for our men in particular.  Bless the Men’s Ministry as it seeks to encourage men in their walk of faith. Give us servants’ hearts as we seek to love others through acts of mercy. Pour out your grace on us so that we may humbly lead our families, care for souls and encourage one another. Bond us together and conform us to the image of Christ.

For those that are sick, we ask for Your healing hand and relief from suffering. Give each person the strength they need to recover and the grace to know that You love them and care for them.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Any value we have comes from You, Lord. And may Your Name be exalted in worship today as the only One worthy to receive worship. Stir in us the hearts of the heavenly hosts as they fell on their faces and cried out, “Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen!”

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