Yesterday, as we watched the livestream service of our home church from our living room, the elder-led congregational prayer was lifted to God’s throne from the pulpit of an empty sanctuary. The pews may have been empty, but the Spirit of the Lord was there, helping our dispersed congregation in our weakness, interceding for the saints according the will of God. Though the words echoed throughout the hollow space, the prayer rose like incense before the Ancient of Days in his holy temple. May he ever and always be glorified in the prayers of his people.
Gracious Father, Creator, Sovereign God Almighty
The heavens and the earth declare your glory oh Lord! Your creation declares your name and your presence fills every nook and corner of that creation. There is nowhere we can turn or go and not find you there. Into all this you have placed us, each one of us deliberately created, unique in how you made us, and completely undeserving of your love and mercy. Yet you show us your love and mercy in abundance. You have called us your children, gifted us with faith and belief, and you have justified us and clothed us in the righteousness of Christ Jesus, that we might glorify you and enjoy you forever. And you show us again and again that there is no true happiness, no real purpose in our lives, if they are not lived in and for our Savior Jesus Christ.
So with confidence we bring our petitions to you on this beautiful Sunday morning. Please hear the prayers of all who indicated they have a prayer for you this morning. Though physically apart, as members of this congregation we agree with the prayers of our brothers and sisters, asking for your mercy, your relief, your healing, your help, your comfort, your guidance, your peacemaking, and all the other needs in those prayers. Lead those who have lost jobs during this time to new work. Restore hours or pay where those have been cut. Bring business back to our small-business owners. Give to all peace of mind and confidence in you.
We thank you for the first providers among us and ask that you protect the health of them and their families as they do their work. We pray for our children who graduate from high school, college, or graduate schools this month. Wherever they go next, lead them into fellowship, give them a continuing thirst for your Word, a compulsion to pray, and a compulsion to attend a church of believers where they might worship you.
We pray wisdom for our leaders in Washington, Austin, and locally now and in the weeks to come as they make decisions regarding our paths in the future.
Lord God, we pray that you bring renewal to your people and your church. Make these months and circumstances a life-changing time in our walk with you. Have our circumstances revealed idols or recurring sin? Hear our prayers of repentance, and help us cast these sins out of our lives. Let your Holy Spirit give us an overpowering hunger for more time in prayer with you individually, within our families, and in our congregational prayer groups. Where family devotions did not exist, we pray that they do now and that they will continue as life returns to normal. Convict us of the need to build the habit of spending more time in your Word, reading and studying, and that each of us would make the time for consistent daily quiet times with you. Bring renewal in Christ Presbyterian Church—that we would emerge from this time away from one another with a hunger for worship together, for ministering together, for fellowshipping together. Make our witness strong, make our faith enduring, make our unity strong in Christ Jesus; and we pray that any who see us alone or together, in life or ministry or worship, would see Jesus Christ proclaimed to the world in what we say and do. In all things Lord, be the center of our lives, the beginning of our thoughts, the purpose in all that we say and do.
Care for our pastors and their families. We ask that they would continue to grow in you, to hunger for you, to stand strong against the temptations of Satan, and that you would hone them as they face trials and as they shepherd the members of this church. We ask for discernment, for wisdom, and for the guidance of your Holy Spirit as the pastors and elders deal with the challenges of restoring the church to normal worship and fellowship.
We pray for Pastor B__ this morning as he preaches your Word. Let your Holy Spirit speak to us through him, and let your Word preached find purchase in our hearts and minds.
Father, let us look back on these past weeks and months and be able to say that you worked a difference in our lives—that we didn’t ignore you and waste this time and these circumstances.
And now we conclude with the words your Son taught us:
Our Father, who art in heaven; Hallowed be Thy 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. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil; for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.