Congregational Prayers

Sunday, October 19, 2008

O Lord of the Ages,

We are creatures characterized by limits in both space and time. We can’t see around the corner. We don’t know what lies over the hill. Our senses and experience inform us only about the present hour and hours past; to the future we are blind. You, Who created the universe imbuing it with time as well as space, knows not only every corner, nook and cranny intimately, but also every moment of every hour that passes. You know the end from the beginning, and just as You laid out the Heavens and the Earth with precision and purpose from foundation to pinnacle, so too have You foreordained our days, architecting them with content and character, each moment with an overarching purpose and plan. As You created the Garden of Eden to be a warm and welcoming home to nurture and sustain man so that he could serve and glorify You, so too did You give man days, months and years – mellow and temperate times – for him to savor Your fellowship and engage in the joyful calling of worship and service. But just as the Fall of man laid a curse on the ground, so did the Fall curse our days, and now rather than fulfillment in worship and satisfaction in labors of dominion, our days are now filled with worries, pains, uncertainly and foreboding. Like thorns amid the wheat, our time spent is ineffective, our successes are tempered with failures, and the joys of friends, family and fellowship are tainted with conflict, malice, disappointment and disaster. We are as ignorant of what confronts us tomorrow as we are of what faces us behind these walls. How dreadful and fearsome is the fallen world!

But just as the Gospel has been presented to us which speaks of a new Heaven and a new Earth, so too do we find an End of the Age, a time when Time will be redeemed and eternity in Christ will break into the corrupt and dying time of our experience. With our current eyes we cannot see behind the wall or beyond the hour, but with the eyes of faith promised in the Gospel and given us by the Holy Spirit, we can see that the Kingdom of God is advancing throughout our earthly world, and we can see the Day of the Lord coming in all its glory. Grant us this faith! Pour Christ and the faith that comes from His works into our hearts that we would not be slaves to the discernable, but free men of the redeemed eternity. Reset our hearts and minds from the here-and-now to the hereafter, that we may worship You now as Kingdom citizens and not mere applicants.

With our eyes focused on Your present and coming Kingdom, we pray for our current and crumbling world. We pray for our nation’s leaders, for our president, congress, justices, governors and mayors. We pray for our Church, that intrusion of Christ into the fallen wasteland. Grant our elders, and deacons Your mercy and wisdom, and fill our congregants with faith in Christ and hearts of love, peace and service. Advance Your Kingdom through the work You’ve given us, and comfort us in our fears and worries, as our faith sometimes lags and falters. We pray for the specific needs of our local body.

Lord, we know that the promised hope we see in faith, is not seen in an objectless faith, but in faith in the efficaciousness of the life, death, resurrection and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. And so it is in the name of Jesus Christ we pray.

AMEN