Congregational Prayers

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Oh Holy Father,

How good and how pleasant is the place of Your dwelling, the body of the Church and the communion of the saints. How restful and restorative it is to gather in Your Name, to purge our sins and bolster our faith, to speak words of encouragement to one another, and to hear precious words of love, forgiveness and fellowship from You. How encouraging to meditate on the Law You have fulfilled and to sing of Your deeds and acts in history. As the Psalmist cried, so echo our hearts: “I was glad when they said, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.’”

And so in the righteousness that is by faith in Christ, and by the invitation given us also by Christ, we do come boldly before You, to offer our praises, our thanksgivings, and to make known the wants and needs of our day. And with the assurances of Scripture firmly in mind, we have no doubts that You will hear our prayers and will surely answer them according to Your wisdom, to our benefit, to the blessing of the Church, and to Your own great glory.

We thank You this morning for our government officials and pray for them. We are grateful that You have established authorities over us that restrain sin, protect the weak, and encourage the prosperity of the land, and subsequently the Church. We pray for the men and women You have placed over us, that they would understand the purposes and limits of their calling, that they would exercise their authority with gentleness and wisdom, and that they would not lord it over others or succumb to corruption and tyranny, but that You would steer their hearts into fitting paths. We pray these things for our President, Congress, and Judges and for all our state and local officials.

We pray for Your Church, both local and worldwide. We ask Your hand upon us as we meet and worship and pray. Strengthen and encourage us in all things godly. Revive our troubled faith and give us grace upon grace, in the Word preached and the sacraments received. Forgive us our sin and receive us with all joy into Your Kingdom. Be our God and take us on as Your people. We pray for our ministers, elders and deacons; grant them peace and confidence, faithfulness and gentility. Equip them for the shepherding of Your Church and guard their hearts and minds from sin and heresy. Through them raise up congregations of great strength and beauty, a testimony to Your restorative power lavished on sinful man. Be pleased with Your Church and make Her into that Object of beauty You so desire.

In all things we are indebted to You, and apart from the life and death of Christ, our debts would overwhelm us. We thank You and praise You for the wonders of the cross that cancelled our debts and restored us to You. We pray these things in the name of our beloved cross-bearer Jesus Christ.