Congregational Prayers

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Holy Father,

As we enter the advent season we are reminded that Christ came to us, not as a man under no obligation, but One in submission to authority and subject to the will of others. Christ honored You the Father, in taking on flesh and dwelling among us, attending to the Law in every detail, and once incarnate, He chose to submit Himself to the very authorities that in eternity past He created ex nihilo. Christ willingly endured the physical realm, knowing the hunger, weariness, sadness and mirth that daily engage His creation; and He willing humbled Himself under the societal and governmental authorities which He himself had set up to govern man, not God. The Second Person of the Trinity paid taxes, honored the king, and allowed himself to be walked through the bureaucracy of legal systems – evil, hypocritical ones at that. Such submission is a powerful example, and we for whom these authority structures were made do take note that our Very God-man Himself was content to abide for a time within them. We are called to pray for our civil magistrates, and do so joyfully this morning, knowing that our Lord and Savior did the same, even to ask forgiveness on their behalf for unknowing sin.

And so we pray for those civil authorities You have given us, to restrain sin and promote the peace. We pray for our President, Congress, and Justices at the federal level, as well as our Governor, and state assemblymen and our Mayors and city councilmen. As children are governed through the hand of imperfect parents, You govern Your people through these men, and through they are human and prone to sin, and often even given over to it, they are nevertheless Your appointed instrument for us. We do, therefore, pray for their health, safety, and most importantly, their wisdom in carrying out their duties.

We pray also for the ecclesiastical authorities You have given us. While we are called to honor and obey our civil authorities, we are called to cherish and delight in our fathers in the faith, and to love and support them in all means physical and spiritual. We pray for our pastors, elders and deacons, the men who guide and nurture their churches and protect and shepherd their congregations. Be with these men as they serve You; guard their hearts and minds that their service would indeed be for Your glory and not their own, and that their ministry to their congregations would be holy, solid and effectual. Wash them in Christ and fill them with the Holy Spirit, that they would not speak their own words and act upon their own whims, but would be true to Your holy Word and keep step with the Spirit of God. Pray specifically for our own Consistory and Council, that Grace Evangelical Church would not sin against You or Your people, but would be lead in humility and holiness.

We pray for our congregation and the needs of our members. Keep us healthy, safe, and secure as well, and turn our hearts and minds to Christ day in and day out, that our thoughts would be full of Him and His glory.

We pray these things as men and women under obligation and authority, for we are servants of the High King, and our Lord and Master is Jesus Christ. It is in His name we pray.