Congregational Prayers

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Most Holy and Loving Father,

As winter approaches and begins to settle in, we are reminded over and over by our culture that winter is symbolic of death and decay, and the end of all life and cheer. How unfitting such an inference is for the Living Church of God! How little the weather of our times has to bear on the souls of the saints! New life in Christ and in the Church abound in the midst of the coldest moments, and fire of our joy in the Lord drives the discouragement away from the most barren landscape. Our God is Living and our Church is organic and growing! So we pray for our local congregation, this morning, as well as for our sister churches within our federation and beyond it, and we pray as the Puritans did, that our houses “may be a nursery for heaven, and [our] church a garden for the Lord.”

O Lord, fit each of our fathers within each of our nurseries to aptly lead his family in the image of Christ; shape each mother to glorify You in the work of the home and the training up of the young. Grant each child the safety and security of a peaceful place of rest, and bless them early with the graces of salvation and the steady march of sanctification. Be pleased to train up our saints and perfect Your people in the humble confines of our homes.

And we pray that You would make our young men and women gardeners of the Church, workers within Her walls whose love is expressed in the patient attention to Her beauty, to watering and weeding and constant tending. Grant that our seniors members would amend the soil of our Garden with wisdom, mercy, longsuffering, with encouragement and good council. Strengthen our elders, deacons and Ministers of the Word, that they would plant the seeds of the Kingdom and would build a hedge around the Garden of the Lord, keeping out those who would trample and uproot, and providing protection, comfort and peace-of-mind to those within this Garden. And lastly Most Holy God, be pleased with Your garden and come into it and walk within it and enjoy its fruit and the love and fellowship of the workers, and in Your good time bring about that long-anticipated harvest and the celebrations that will follow, in a new garden of unsurpassed beauty and wonder, the likes of which Eden itself bears no comparison. How we rejoice in that thought of our future heavenly home, praising and worshiping God in the presence of one another, and loving and adoring our Chief Gardener, Jesus Christ, Who planted that original mustard seed from which our lives have blossomed to God’s glory.

We pray for the specific needs of our local body.

We pray these things in the name of the Him Who tends to the fields of Israel, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.