Congregational Prayers

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Our Holy Father,

You have described Yourself as the God Who calls things that are not as though they are, and such is truly bourn out in Your dealings with Your children. We have been sinful from birth, even before birth! “In sin did my mother conceive me,” says the Psalmist. Our lives have been examples of ill-will, rebellion, rejection and sin. And yet we who were strangers and rebels, actively opposing You in every conceivable way, we who have hated You so passionately, are now called sons and daughters of the Most High, beloved children, and co-heirs with Christ. How can this be? Praise be to Christ Jesus, Who won for Himself a flawed and ruined people, and Who even now is clothing and beautifying us in all patience and deliberation. A mob of vile sinners being transformed into a mighty host of purified saints!

We pray for the redeemed Church of Christ, for our own local congregation as well as our brothers and sisters in the faith worldwide. We pray that You would strengthen and preserve us, that You would forgive us our sin and transform our hearts, that the sin nature which is ever-present, would no longer rule and reign in our lives, but that in humble and willing submission, we could lay ourselves at Christ’s feet. Sanctify us that we would not resemble our former father, the Devil, but that we would be transformed, slowly perhaps, but inexorably into the image of Christ Himself. How we long for a Christ-like countenance! How bitter and frustrated we are with our body of sin! Father, fix our eyes on the Kingdom to come, that we may rest in the assurance of Your promise to redeem and purify us from all our sin, and wrap us in the robes of Christ’s righteousness, that sin and rebellion nevermore afflict or characterize us.

We pray for the men You have given us to aid us in this sanctification journey. We pray for our elders and deacons, for our ministers-of-the-word and seminary professors and students. Grant these men Your blessings as they labor, that their work would be profitable to the Kingdom of God and that they would be encouraged in the midst of it. Keep them safe and healthy, and keep their theology and ministry pure, holy and uncompromised. We pray for Grace Evangelical Church and for our Consistory and Council in particular.

We pray also for our federal, state and local officials, who are called by You to administer justice and promote the peace and safety of our lands. Direct their labors so that Your Church may strengthen and grow to Your glory.

We pray for the specific needs of our local body.

We thank You that You look upon us not as our past sins, or present struggles would portray us – still sinful, greedy, proud and unlovely – but as we are hidden in the Person of Christ – pure, holy, unblemished and lovely. We rejoice in our covering, and we rejoice in our Savior. It is in the name of Jesus Christ that we pray.