Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash
I led the pastoral prayer this past weekend at Edgewood, and I have included it below for those who might be inclined to use it once or twice for personal prayer during these challenging times.
There are so many things to pray for these days. Yes, safety and health…of course. But in these unique days, many people are asking about eternity. That makes it a significant time for Kingdom work…and so we plead, “Hallowed be Thy name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done…”
Of late, I am enjoying a book of prayers in my own devotional life: Piercing Heaven, Prayers of the Puritans, edited by Robert Elmer. I find it helpful to read (and pray!) the prayers of others from the past. They help me to think outside of the box in my own praying, which if I’m not careful, can fall into ruts. You’ll note that the prayer below is itself based on that particular famous prayer taught by Jesus, along with various verses from around Scripture. Here’s to rut-free praying…
Our Father in heaven, we praise You today as the Sovereign God, Who rules in majesty and glory. You are the One to Whom Job finally said, “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?” So we too are of small account, and yet in our smallness, you have adopted us as your children. Oh, glory to your name! We worship You for your might – As Jeremiah said, “Ah Lord God, behold thou hast made the heavens and the earth by thy great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for thee.” And in Your might, You have worked a great salvation. We confess that You are mighty to save. And You have not only saved us, You have delighted in us, You have quieted us with Your love. You rejoice over us with loud singing. And so…we worship You.
And as we worship, we pray that others would worship You as well, so that Your name would be honored. The recent events in our world are causing billions of people to wonder at who or what they have been worshiping. Oh Lord, in Your wisdom, You have allowed this pandemic, and now, we pray that You would use it to bring multitudes to their knees in worship of You, the One True God. Use this pandemic to stem the rising tide in our culture of secularism and unbelief and apostasy. Many of us have for years been praying that loved ones would turn to you…would trust in You. O God, please, please, use these recent events to that end. Bring the prodigals home.
And cause us to do Your will. Cause us to speak Your Gospel word. Do not let us, Your chosen people, squander this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Good news. Make us wise…and yet in our wisdom make us bold and daring. Your word tells us to be ready to give an answer to those who ask the reason for our hope. So first, Father, fill us with hope…where there is fear among us, push it out by the power of Your Spirit, and would You, the God of Hope, fill us with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of Your Holy Spirit, we would abound in hope. More hope, Father! Where there are those among us struggling with assurance of their salvation, fill them with an assurance from Your Holy Spirit, Father. Spirit, bear witness with their spirit that they are your children. Fill Edgewood Community church with hope so those around us will look to You!
Give us this day our daily bread. We ask of course, for health and protection during this crisis, and we ask in particular for protection for those most vulnerable among us. We ask for your protection of the seniors who call Edgewood home, and for the seniors not a part of our church but who are dearly loved by the people of our church. O God, protect. Keep safe those in our body with compromised immune systems. You have said, “You do not have, because you do not ask”…well, we’re asking. We’re asking. Protect the people of our church, Heavenly Father, and do it so that we can continue to serve and honor you with our lives.
And forgive us our sins. We confess that we are a sinful people. Born in iniquity. Conceived in sin. Purge us with hyssop and we will be clean. Wash us and we will be whiter than snow. Let us hear joy and gladness again. Let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Blot out all our iniquities and create in us, clean hearts…then we will teach transgressors your way, and sinners will return to you.
And lead us not into temptation, but lead us into holiness…and God, protect us from the evil one. He has plans…Thwart them. He has schemes…Frustrate them. Counter them. And protect us from him and his minions.
For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, for ever and ever, Amen.