Congregational Prayers

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Father,

As we look around us this morning we see so many testaments to Your providence and perseverance with us. As spring sets in and the days warm up we see afresh the rituals and rhythms You have established for us from creation, and understand that You are a God of order and decency. And as plants come to life and grow and multiply, we are reminded of the nature of the Kingdom, with its springing forth from a seed and swelling to fill all the earth. And as we see new birds and bugs coming into our yards and neighborhoods we are reminded of Your faithfulness to Your creation in the days of Noah, in having replenished a world devastated by the Flood so that living creatures, both man and animal, abound again in every corner. How grateful we are for the revelations of Your character we see in the world around us, and yet how conscious we are that such revelation, apart from a revelation of Christ, can only condemn us and never save. And so our prayers this morning are those of thanksgiving for Your glories revealed before our eyes in the Creation, and also for the glories revealed within our hearts by the Holy Spirit – those of Christ and atonement, for substitution death and propitiation, and of redemption, justification and sanctification, to Your glory.

We thank You this morning for that chief mechanism through which the Holy Spirit unfolds His great revelations – that is the Church. How dear and precious is this Body to us. We are saved by Christ and Christ alone, but the Church is His Body and is so intimately tied to our salvation that to be saved apart from the Church seems a contradiction. We pray for the Church, for Your grace and growth upon it – that, though it seem seedlike in many ways, it would grow and flourish (perceptibly or not), and swell to fill the world. We pray for the men You’ve appointed to lead the Church. Protect them, strengthen them, keep them faithful to the truths of the Gospel and humble in their service. Give them hearts for their congregants and a passion for their Savior and the proclamation of His Gospel. We pray for the congregants that they would be built up and strengthened in the preached Word, that they would see and feed on Christ in the sacraments, and that they would grow in grace and purity as the Holy Spirit works sanctification upon them. We pray for our fellowship of congregations, the United Reformed Churches of North America, and we pray specifically for those in our classis, and particularly for the Kauai Reformation Church as it manifests the kingdom/seed parable quite dramatically in Hawaii.

Holy Father, we are grateful for Your providence, and thankful for the reminders You provide us, both in the natural revelation of the world around us, and in the special revelation made by the Holy Spirit to our hearts in the preaching of the Word and the administration of the sacraments. We thank you and praise You in Jesus’ name.

AMEN