Monday, February 20, 2012

Congregational Prayer for 2/19/2012

Our Father in heaven,

Today we pray as a church, “hallowed be your name.” You are the holy Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer. We prostrate ourselves before an awesome and holy God. Hallowed be your name. You who command the sun and moon and stars, hallowed be your name. You who laid the foundation of the earth, hallowed be your name. You who remove mountains and shake the earth out of its place, hallowed be your name. The morning stars sing together and all the heavenly hosts shout for joy at the work of your hand. They never cease to say, “holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”

May our hearts beat a note that resounds, “holy, holy, holy.” May each breath that we draw remind us of the breath of life you have breathed in us. Your creative work continues every moment by your very Word, and it causes us to cry out, “hallowed be your name!” It is our joy to praise you and glorify you as our Sovereign King and Exalted Lord. May our worship rise up under the weight of your glory.

And the glory of your creation does not end in the physical realm. We praise you for giving us life, and we marvel that you give us new life. We took what was good and perfect and holy and defiled it. Our corrupt flesh has run after death, and we deserve nothing more than the destruction we’ve wrought. We not only miss the mark, but we turn our back on you and aim for everything but your holy standard. We use the good you’ve given us to hurt each other and rebel against you. Lord, we confess that we are sinful creatures and need to repent, and we need your forgiveness.

Your glorious plan, from eternity past, was to send your Son, very God of very God to cleanse us from our sin and restore our fellowship with you. His crimson blood washes away our guilt and makes us white as snow. We see that through your Son you have made us a new creation in Christ, receiving a new heart and a transformed and renewed mind. Lord, you have caused us to be born again. May we believe in your Son with all our might—with all our being. Lord, give us faith; help our unbelief.

Father, I pray that we treasure your gospel so greatly that we have a heart to share it.  Give us the heart of Jeremiah who wrote, “If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.” Even when your Word feels like a reproach and a derision, let us remember that our great Savior became a man of sorrows, stricken, smitten, and afflicted--acquainted with grief to save us and glorify you. May we be bold to speak this truth to the world. We long to see the day that every creature in heaven, on earth and under the earth bows the knee and declares, “blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

I thank you for the example of missionaries that have gone before us. Thank you that the Judsons left the shores of the United States exactly 200 years ago today as our country’s first Protestant missionaries. You teach us patience when we see that none were saved in the first six years of their ministry. You teach us of the power of your Word and the assurance of your promise when we see that 8,000 people believed by the time they died. Lord, the same mustard seed that sprang up in Burma is the same mustard seed that’s been planted in Batavia. Help us to be faithful to plant and water, and Lord, we ask for growth. May your kingdom come. Lord, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We want to be missionaries, evangelists, disciples of Jesus in our homes and neighborhoods. Lord, give us faith in your word, hope in your promises and love for our neighbor.

And Lord, as we pray for a work of bold faith to be done in our church, we pray for our missionaries throughout the world. We pray for all who preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, but we especially ask for blessing on the lives and ministries of the missionaries that we know and love. We pray for the Hansens in Bolivia; may the students they teach in seminary become national leaders for your kingdom. Bless the Kellys as Todd trains pastors throughout the world and makes disciple-making disciples.  We pray for the work of the Kuligins in South Africa and ask for continued recovery after Abigail’s jaw surgery. As the Martins work in a church plant in France, may the light of the gospel shine in a darkened country. We ask for gospel growth in the Czech Republic as the Nichols teach your Word at the seminary. Help the Nystroms focus with their busy schedule, and may translation work continue smoothly in Papua New Guinea while the John and Bonnie finish their book here. Give Daniel Owens wisdom as he finishes his doctorate at Wheaton and prepare their family to return to Vietnam.  May the Wicks experience your grace and strength as they serve in a dangerous Middle East and grant salvation to its citizens. And we thank you for the work Michelle Munoz desires to do and we pray that she raises her support quickly and sorts out all of the logistics she needs to accomplish before she starts her work in Oregon. Bless these front line missionaries and let them be an example to us to remember the wisdom of Jim Elliot when he said, “He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” We confess that it’s true for us too.

God, may your glory go out to all the earth.  Send your Spirit to every tongue, tribe and nation. Bless these missionaries as they speak of your Son and preach the good news. Raise the value of Christ’s worth in the hearts of all people around the world. And do that here. Batavia needs to enthrone Jesus as Savior and King. Prepare a harvest in our community and help us to see how the fields are white. Keep the gates of hell from prevailing in this town. Let us be strong in you Lord--in the strength of your might.

And by your Spirit may we worship you in song, prayer and preaching, but let us also worship you in obedience by making disciples on this soil.

            The end of all things is at hand; therefore we wish to be self-controlled and sober-minded and prayerful. Above all, give us to loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Let us show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, help us to use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

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