Congregational Prayers

Sunday, October 5, 2008

O Merciful and Loving Creator,

We greet You in the Name of Your Holy Son, Jesus Christ, Who did not consider His own life something to be hoarded, but gave it up freely for the people You had given Him, to trade us life for death and peace for warfare. In His suffering and death on the cross we were raised to spiritual life and fellowship with You; in His taking upon Himself of the fury and war of Your wrath against our sin we were issued into the peace and tranquility of eternal, everlasting holiness and harmony with our Creator. We are therefore a people grafted in, a crop unnaturally sown and harvested, a people designed for glory, ruined in rebellion, and restored via atonement. How can this not drive us to the throne of grace in thanksgiving, adoration and worship?

So we thank You this morning for the grace and mercy You have shown us. We thank You for Christ crucified, for the mediation of the Holy Spirit Who applies the work of Christ to each of us personally. We thank You that You did not redeem us just to set us back on the doomed path of self-sufficiency and autonomy, but that You saved us to be our God, to make us Your children – Your beloved possessions. And in this adoption You now nurture us and provide for our every need, both spiritual and physical.

We thank You for Your spiritual gifts: Your instruction in the Word and sacrament, Your peace in prayer and meditation on Your Word. We thank You for the renewal of Your grace day in and day out as our old man still obstinately attempts to wage war against You. We thank You for Your sanctification and maturing that gradually stifles the rebellions of the old man, that the new man can worship and praise You whole-heartedly; for sanctification that often takes the form of painful discipline which You bring about in our lives not to crush or defeat us, but to mold and correct us and set our feet again on Christ’s path. For we who are in Christ there is no longer any condemnation, and so Your discipline of our sin is not punishment for it – it is grace and sanctification from it.

We thank You for Your material gifts: our homes, families, nourishment, and jobs; our church and fellowship. We thank You for our society of law and order, for the peace and security and general restraining of the most egregious acts of evil. You have given us all we need, and so much of what we desire. We are recipients of lavish generosity.

We also come this morning in supplication, as You have commanded of us, that we might bring our needs and petitions before You, acknowledging You as the only source of life and well-being. We pray for Your blessings on our church and the men You have given us to lead her. We pray for our congregation, that You would grow us into the rich and beautiful Bride of Christ You intend us to be. We pray for our families – for strong husbands and industrious wives, and for children who come quickly to know Christ and love him – and for fellowship among us, one with another. We pray for the specific needs of our local body.

What we have we have at Your hand, and that only because of the compassion and sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so it is in His blessed name that we pray.