On Sunday, January 5th, the first Lord’s Day of the new year, our elder-led congregational prayer was focused on the most basic, but also most vitally important thing that we as individual Christians and as a church need: God’s Word. I asked if I may reprint it here, as a reminder that our Only Wise God has given his Word to us as the means by which he sanctifies us, and we cannot grow in godliness without it. I too pray that we would be convicted of our need to spend more time in the Word. O, Lord, “Give us a desire and a love for your Word that burns within and that withstands the things that would distract us from it.”
Following this petition, we were led in prayer for specific concerns for our nation, our church, and individual members facing health battles before asking the Lord to bless our pastor as he preached to us from God’s Word. A Word-bookended prayer for a people who need the Word so very desperately. May we always recognize our need.
Lord God and Father, you are our only rock, our only sure fortress, our only sure deliverer. In you alone do we find refuge for you are our stronghold, our shield, and our salvation. There is none like you Father. You alone are our Lord God Almighty, the only one worthy of all of our praise.
Thank you for your Word and your revelation of yourself, your character, and your works. Thank you for the gospel of your Son Jesus and the gift of salvation. We know that your Word, more than anything else, is the means you use to sanctify us and that we cannot grow in godliness without it. So our first request in this new year is that the Holy Spirit would convict us of the need to find or make time to be in your Word. There are many, many things that distract us from reading your Word—from daily devotions, from family devotions—and that is no surprise because we know it is a spiritual fight as well as a time management fight. The enemy certainly doesn’t want to see us complete and equipped for every good work, to see our eyes opened ever wider to you and your will. Give us a desire and a love for your Word that burns within and that withstands the things that would distract us from it.
We pray for the safe deployment to and return of our troops from Iraq. We pray for wisdom in our leaders as they make decisions about our actions there.
We pray for our pastors and their families. In particular, protect them spiritually from the world, the flesh and the devil. We see evidence all around your church of attacks on those who teach your Word. Help our pastors recognize and resist attacks on them. We pray for their physical and spiritual health—keep them strong. And we ask for wisdom and discernment, for discipline and faithfulness, and for humility for our pastors and elders. And we give you thanks for the devotion to their work that our deacons demonstrate regularly. Thank you for their faithfulness and guide them on the narrow path.
We thank you for R__ S__ who celebrates her 92d birthday today. We ask for healing and comfort for her. We pray that the treatments that L__ T__ has been through would prove successful. We thank you for the continued progress in healing that F__ S__ is making since his back surgery. We also pray for mercy, for spiritual strength and for comfort and peace, even as they grieve, for the B__ family as they face the prospect of losing A__’s father. We know there are many more with health issues or with loved ones who have health issues. We ask for healing, we ask that your will be done, we ask for comfort and peace for them, their families and friends. And we ask that you hear the individual prayers of the members of our congregation.
We pray for an end to the slaughter of the innocents.
Now as Pastor John prepares to preach we ask your Holy Spirit to give him the right words, to prepare our heads and hearts to receive those words, and that each of us would go home today with the lesson taking firm root in us. Now we close this prayer with the prayer Jesus taught us…
Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be your name. Thy kingdom come; thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.