Congregational Prayers

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Most Holy Lord,

The shortness of the time we spend gathered here this morning belies the magnitude of what transpires. We gather in Your Name this morning to bring You our prayers and petitions, to sing Your praises and to hear and study Your Word. We confess our sin and hear Your faithful absolution. We pledge our faith in the creeds and confessions, and we feast on Christ in the preaching and in the bread and wine. We edify one another in our prayers and fellowship, and we testify to the observing world that we are a people saved by grace and sanctified for Christ. What riches this day holds for us! How vastly important this time is to our bodies and souls; how very necessary it is for the health and robustness of each. Thank You, Father, for the Lord’s Day – for bringing Your people into a preview of the established kingdom, for giving us this “foretaste of glory divine.” We know we cannot truly comprehend the nature of Your established kingdom, but on the Lord’s Day we see it less hazily, and we know that it is wonderful and glorious beyond belief. Come quickly Lord, and bring our redemption to completeness! Free us once and for all from the chains of sin and the Curse, for we like Simeon have seen Your Salvation, and our desire now is to depart into that eternal holy peace.

But as we wait, according to Your will, we are mindful of our responsibilities and duties. You have not created us to be idle. Before the Curse You gave us dominion and responsibility, so labor and striving are not mere effects of the Fall that can or should be dismissed. On the contrary, as strangers in a strange and fallen land, our work of spreading the Gospel is magnified and our obligation to love our neighbor all the more crucial. And so we bring our prayers and petitions to You, knowing that the obstacles against us would overcome us, apart from Your inspiration and in-dwelling.

We pray for our nation and her leaders, that they would prosper and flourish, for as a nation prospers, so prospers the Church. We pray for the transition of our Presidents, that it would be done smoothly and that the nation would be safe in the midst of it. We pray for our nation and state’s economies, that You would minimize the suffering and despair a collapse would entail, and that You would raise up the Church to deeds of faith and generosity wisely applied.

We pray for your Church, that in the many noble goals and objectives on which she focuses, she would not lose focus on the primary: the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ and the calling of sinners to flee to Christ and His beauty and salvation. Grant our ministers Your wisdom and discernment, strength for the day and faith in troubled times. Be with our consistories and councils, that the men would be wise, patient, faithful, temperate, gentle, and above all, loving. Protect these men and their families and fit them for the challenges You give them. We pray for our congregants, our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, that we would all be rich in Christ, that His completed work would be in the forefront of our minds, that we would not forget that Gospel, but rejoice in it and cling to it passionately. Forgive us our sins and meet us in our need, for Christ’s sake.

We pray these things in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,