Congregational Prayers

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Holy Father,

We are doubly Yours. Firstly, You have created us out of the dust of the earth and given us life and breath, so that all that we have, even our very selves, are not our own, but Yours by rights. And secondly, You have purchased us afresh, paying in the life and death of Jesus Christ a ransom for our souls, redeeming us from death and hell and acquiring us as Your children, purchased at great price. As the catechism so beautifully teaches, “…I, with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ…” You have become our God and we have become Your people.

As children greatly loved, You have bid us come into Your presence and make known before You our wants, our needs, and the desires of our hearts. You have called us to be a people of prayer, to have always in our hearts and on our lips our praises and petitions. And so we do come before You now, in humility and great joy, with our prayers for our land and leaders, for the Church and for the individual needs of our members.

We pray for our earthly government. You have commanded us to honor the king and to submit to our authorities in all things that are godly, rendering unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. We pray both for our government and our attitude toward it. We pray for our President, congressmen and judges; for our state and local officials. Grant them wisdom, discernment, and a heart for the people they lead. Give them an understanding of the true purposes of their calling, to restrain evil, to preserve the peace, to promote the health, public safety and general wellbeing of their lands. Keep them from tyranny and lording it over their charges, giving them a love for their constituents and a desire to serve them. As they govern, bless and protect them, encouraging them and making their burden light. Likewise we pray for our attitude toward our leaders. Grant us humility and submission to our authorities in all things that are glorifying to You, reminding us that we are under their authority by Your will and providence.

We pray for the Church You have established. Build and sustain Her in all the reaches of the earth. Strengthen Her with the Word and the sacraments, made alive through the Holy Spirit. Beautify Her with the Gospel and the good works that come from true righteousness, and prepare Her to be a loving Bride for Her Bridegroom Who is Christ Jesus. Be with our ministers and elders and deacons who strive to regulate and manages the affairs of the Church. Encourage and equip them; grant them health, safety, wisdom, discernment and much fruit in their labors.

Be with our congregations and grow us in our knowledge and love of Christ. Strengthen our faith, purify our theology, purge us of our sins and fill us with love for one another and for our Lord and Savior. Protect us and sustain us, drawing us more and more into the likeness of Christ, sanctifying us and transforming us in the Holy Spirit. We pray for the specific needs of our local body.

We are indeed a people greatly blessed. We rejoice in Your sovereign love and providence, knowing You work all things for the benefit of Your beloved Church. We pray these things in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ.