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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pastoral Prayer: 15 September 2013

{I hope you are finding these beneficial. Feel free to use it in your church, and in your personal prayer time - Mike}

Prayer Preparation: The wise man reminds us in Proverbs 15.8, “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.” We hear a verse like this, and we want to cringe and cower in our pew. On the one hand, we rightly see ourselves – standing stripped down to just ourselves – as “the wicked”. But hear the second part through the ears of those who are united to The Upright One, “Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 Jn 2.2). We are not stripped down to just ourselves, but united to Jesus, we are clothed with his uprightness – and so this verse should rouse us in prayer – our prayers are – not might be, not could be, but are – acceptable to the LORD!

Let us pray:
Lord God, thank you that through faith you have made us all sons of God, and our baptism declares that we are united to Christ. And so, clothed, as it were, in him and his uprightness, we come with humble courage, with thanksgiving and supplications.

O Father, in whom we live, and move, and have our being; who has made us for yourself so that our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you (St. Augustine, "Confession" 1.1), we pray on behalf of those dealing with their own frailties, sickness, unbearable predicaments, whether physical or mental….Grant them to find their rest in you, save, heal, restore, and refresh them that they may sing your praises all their days. O Lord, hear our prayer.

Creator, you made this creation good; but since the fall of Adam, creation groans waiting for the day when it will be delivered from its bondage to corruption and enter into the glorious liberty of your Children (Romans 8.21-22). Now things that were created good can become destructive, deadly and devastating; forest fires, tornados, hurricanes, and massive rainfalls that bring detrimental, earth-and-life-shattering damage. For those in Colorado trying to recover; those still trapped, those mourning, those attempting to bring rescue and recovery: Give them your help on every level, for their good and your glory. O Lord, hear our prayer.

For freedom, Lord Jesus, you have set us free. Help us to stand firm in that liberty and not submit ourselves again to a yoke of bondage; but also help us to not use our freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but to lovingly serve one another. In this way, may we walk in the Spirit, so that if a brother or sister is caught up in any transgression, we would restore them in a spirit of gentleness, keeping watch on ourselves, lest we also become tempted (reflecting on Galatians 5.1-6.1) O Lord, hear our prayer.

Our Father, take notice of Your Church worldwide, especially in Syria and Eqypt, and also {list churches in your area...}; Strengthen that which is wholesome and right; correct that which is off the mark; supply every need through the riches in Christ Jesus; and make your Word continue to increase through the prayers and work of your church. O Lord, hear our prayer.

Look with compassion and mercy on the many who are like sheep without a shepherd, roaming aimlessly, adrift on the tidal surge that is sweeping them further and further away from you. As you are the one who opens doors that no one can shut, please orchestrate opportunities for us to speak your refreshing words of life to them, and by the blessing of Christ and the working of your Spirit, may the Word bear much fruit by bringing many to become “obedient to the faith” (Acts 6.7d). O Lord, hear our prayer.

O God, be merciful to us, and bless us, and make your face shine upon us. Make your way known on earth, your saving power among all nations! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth (Psalm 67). Thank you for hearing us as we have prayed about the tensions between our country, Syria, and the others. Thank you that the threat seems to be losing steam. But we still pray for those being terrorized, vandalized, and victimized. Raise up many to defend the innocent and protect the vulnerable, and most of all, deliver your church, O God, deliver your church!  O Lord, hear our prayer.

All of these prayers we offer through Your Son, Jesus Christ, as we now sing:
Hear our prayer, O Lord;
Hear our Prayer, O Lord.
Incline thine ear to us,
and grant us thy peace 
(Trinity Hymnal 728).

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