Prayer for the Week, August 23

To You, Our Father, through the work of Your Son, Jesus the Christ, and by the strength and encouragement of Your Holy Spirit, we come to pray.

We pray because we lack wisdom for the decisions we make; we pray because we lack strength to live according to what wisdom we gain; we pray because we lack power to remove the obstacles in our path. We pray because we lack authority to forgive sins and thus find new life. Most of all we pray because You have invited us to come, to taste and see that You are good. 

We pray because we live in a darkened world. Even on a bright and beautiful Sunday morning of Your making, darkness infringes upon us. It keeps many, many people from presenting themselves before You in worship and thanksgiving for all the gifts this world has to offer. Shine, Lord Jesus, into such darkness.

In the darkness, wrong seems right and right seems wrong. Shine the light of true wisdom upon our pathways. In the darkness, we struggle with relationships, so easily broken, so inadequately mended. Shine You light of forgiving wholeness. In the darkness, the enemy comes in to kill and destroy, fostering hatred, envy, greed, despair, revenge, and terror. Shine, Lord Jesus, with Your powerful, redemptive love. 

Your light will shine to the measure that we allow it to shine through us. Forgive us, we pray, for keeping the light You have placed within us under all manner of shade. We do what we should not, and dampen the light; we fail to do what we should, and the light does not shine. Have mercy upon us; Lord have mercy. We have not offered the cup of cold water, the healing words, the extended hand of forgiveness. We have not sought first the kingdom of God, the rule of the Son, or the strength of the Spirit. So once again, we pray with Your fallen yet chosen and redeemed people of all times, Our Father . . . 

Prayer for the Week, August 16

Heavenly Father, the One who knows us and loves us, we bow our heads before You this day. We consider so little the wisdom that resides in You and You alone. The majestic creation, so intricately designed and fit together in ways the best of our efforts can only begin to understand, speaks of wisdom beyond comprehension. The complexities of human hearts, minds, and wills are all known to You as well; we cannot begin to truly assess ourselves and know even as we are known. Yet You do know us—and love us still. May our praise therefore arise daily.

Joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure, insight and confusion are our constant companions in this world, combining in ways that move us and shape us. We know not what to ask or imagine; we struggle to know where to focus our energy, our time, our concerns. Make us wise, we pray.

We confess this day that we have worked hard for the wrong things, the unimportant things; we have given time to fruitless pursuits, to idle hours; we have stressed over insignificant things, over uncontrollable events. Forgive us, we pray; Lord have mercy.

Draw our minds to Your words, we ask this day. In Your written Word are all the instruction that we need in the way of wisdom; in Your living Word, even Your Son, our Savior and Lord, are all we can ever know about who You are, what You desire, and how to truly prosper in this world. Forgive us for looking elsewhere, we pray; Lord have mercy.

Even as Your own heart weeps for the poor, the needy, the despairing, the sick and infirm, soften our hearts, open our hands, increase our compassion for them all, so that we may be prepared to act in Your place when they come across our path. Then shall we become wise and truly live, even as we pray,

 Our Father . . .

Sunday Prayer for August 9, 2015

We have sung it innumerable times, O Lord, our God; we have repeated the words that still comfort, encourage, and inspire us: “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound.” It is sweet because we know our need and we know your provision.

We know inside the deepest recesses of our lives that we have not done all the things you have wanted us to do; we have done things we know we ought not to have done. These we confess before You now. … We recognize that we have not the power, the strength to overcome the sins that beset us; otherwise we would have ceased. Your grace comes in our need, to our aid, and stands for us in presenting our petitions before Your throne.

We live in a world so deeply in need of grace; You send us as Your emissaries. So often have we failed. Forgive us, we humbly pray. We are prone to responding to the pain and confusion of the world in the world’s own way; we’ve encountered the darkness, but have shed insufficient light. We talk about that darkness in many ways, but too seldom bring the light of grace to bear upon it, to dispel the blindness and bring wholeness to life by means of Your own word.

For the grace of forgiveness, we pray. We also pray that our hearts will be as forgiving as Yours. For the grace of second chances, third chances and many more, we give You humble thanks; teach us not to condemn as worthless those who need to know that their lives, too, still matter, regardless of what they have done.

For the grace of hope, the boundless future awaiting those You are redeeming, we offer joyful praise; teach to live in ways that communicate that hope is real, its dream secure, its way through love.

For the grace to bear the trials and tribulations, the disappointments and the pain that comes to all in a broken world, we pray. Teach us to live above the world, seated where Christ is seated, above the power of anything in this world. Then will people ask us about the hope that lies within.

And so for the sick, the poor, the homeless, the jobless, we pray. And for our faithfulness to Jesus we pray, even as the church has prayed for centuries,

Our Father . . .