Congregational Prayers

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Most Holy Father,

Even on a day that celebrates the simple, holy and blessed aspects of our family and fellowship, we are nevertheless still attacked and struggling with myriad pains and sorrows. Since our fall in the Garden the work of our hands has been tied to the sweat of our brow, and nothing we do to maintain our homes and provide for our families is done without thorns and thistles of many kinds. That freedom and ease of labor, that efficiency and productivity we knew in Eden is cursed now with a million setbacks, losses, failures and frustrations. While we yet derive satisfaction from our work – for in Your good and perfect design You have made us to be workers – we now labor at work that drains and uses us, that saps our strength and deteriorates our bodies, and provides us precious little return on our investment. While our labors are in and of themselves difficult and daunting, we must also work alongside other men and women, and like all things in this post-fallen world, our social relationships suffer similar corruption. Our coworkers may be combative and our bosses antagonistic; there may be a void of patience, charity and goodwill. The sins of pride, jealously, greed and selfishness pervade these relationships as they do all others. We thank You that the picture is not as bleak as it could be; that there is yet some measure of peace and brotherhood to be found, but our work is nevertheless frustrated and frustrating and we are weary and worried and long for relief.

From where shall our help come? We look not for capitalism or socialism or consumerism or communism or any other “-ism” to counteract the curse, but we lift up our eyes to the hills and look to the eminent return of Christ and the institution of His transcendent kingdom to put to death once and for all, all corruption and suffering in body, soul, work and relationships, to the glory of the Triune God. Praise be to God and Praise be to Christ Who in His good time will restore His People to Paradise! Come quickly, Lord!

As we await the Day of Your Return with revived hope and faith, we neglect not the labors You have given us today, frustrated though they may be. We therefore pray for Your creation and Your Church and commit ourselves to labor for it, that both will honor and glorify You and that we will be found faithful stewards when You return in all Your glory. Be with our nation’s leaders and magistrates, that their labors would be fruitful and that the most brutal thorns of the curse would be blunted by civilization. Be with the shepherds and keepers of our Church, that we would be lead and sustained in keeping with our Heavenly Shepherd. Give us a love for one another and a joy in fellowship that transcends the curse and suggests to the watching world that we are Christ’s. Build our homes and families in the Gospel, that we would put no faith in the halting and ineffective work of our hands, but in the finished and efficacious work of Christ. Grow and build us for Your glory, and preserve us in You until You come again.

We pray these things in the name of Him Who works all things to our benefit, the Lord Jesus Christ.

AMEN