Hearing the love for Christ and his church in the words of our elder-led prayers on Sunday morning is so comforting. These under-shepherds to the Great Shepherd care for the flock, and their compassion shows. I am so grateful to God for these men who carry this stewardship with humility and love. May he continue to strengthen them for the role with which they are entrusted, that they may shepherd the flock of God that is among them, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have them; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in their charge, but being examples to the flock; that when the chief Shepherd appears, they will receive the unfading crown of glory. And may we all clothe ourselves with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:2-5, paraphrased).
Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory
and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is
the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all.
1 Chronicles 29:11
Let’s bring our thanksgiving and concerns before God in prayer. Our Holy Father and our God, You’ve called us to come out of the world this day and into Your marvelous light. You have called us to leave behind the cares, the worries, the frustrations of the City of Man and to come and rest in the blessings of the City of God. We have come, and we join with Christ’s triumphant church across the world to give you worship and praise on this Sunday.
We praise You and bless Your holy name, O Creator God. The whole creation displays your wisdom and your glory. We are humbled by the evident and constant attention and care of Your creation. Complexities too great for us to understand and too small and subtle for us to see or perceive are sustained moment by moment through Your power, O God…put together by Your wisdom.
Father, we praise you and bless Your holy name for the gift You have given to us in Your Son…that in Him, O God, we have salvation…the forgiveness of sins… that in Him, O God, we know that we can trust…we know that we can lay our lives, our fears, our concerns before Him, and not only be heard, O God…but be healed.
We give You praise and bless Your holy name, O God, for Christ’s church…that on this earth, in the midst of the City of Man, You have established it…that You have brought together this particular body of believers. We thank you for our pastors, our leaders, all who serve and all who worship you here. We ask you to bring us together through our union in Christ Jesus, in peace, in fellowship, in trust, and in mutual prayer and worship.
We do pray for our pastors, elders and deacons, and their families. We pray that you would guard them well, help them stand firm against temptation, stand firm and contend well for your gospel, and to be wise and have empathy in helping those whom you have called them to shepherd. Keep them spiritually and physically well and lead them in all things to focus on glorifying you.
We ask you to hear the prayers of all who raised their hands. We are in marriages and relationships that are struggling, we are wrestling with some aspect of our lives or with things that confound us or with behaviors that bring you no glory. Some of us are fighting recurring sin. Some are looking for purpose in their lives. Among us are those who grieve the loss of loved ones, those who daily face pain and illness, new or chronic, or declining abilities. And there are many other concerns among us, your children, as well. We lift all these things up to you who is already well aware of them and who is not indifferent to them. We ask for spiritual, mental and physical healing where needed, and we humbly ask for guidance, for assurance and for renewed confidence for those who seek those things. And we trust these requests and these brothers and sisters to your providence, your love, your care, and your purpose.
We pray for your church across the world, especially for those who are being killed and imprisoned, persecuted, and suppressed in your Son’s name. Give them strength to continue to stand firm in their faith and grant them relief and peace. Throughout their struggles may they stand strong as witnesses to the gospel and may you be glorified above all.
May your Holy Spirit speak through Pastor John as he preaches this morning. May your word find purchase among those who worship here today. And we pray that we would be prepared in mind and spirit to hear your Word preached this morning.
And now we close 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