Our Holy Father and our God, Creator of the universe, Creator of all things…we come to You, O God, this day. You have called us into Your presence. We have confessed our sins to You; You have pronounced upon us Your forgiveness. We have sung to You, O God, and praised Your name. You have spoken to us. You speak to us through Your Word, O God. And we pray, Lord, may indeed Your Word, may the Gospel that it puts forward, dwell richly within us. May there be a great deposit of Gospel within us that drives our lives. Lord, may Your character dwell within us, may it be seen upon us…may Gospel come out of our fingertips and out of our mouths.
Lord, we praise You for Your wisdom and Your faithfulness…the wisdom by which You created the world, as Wisdom dwelt with You, Your Scripture says, as all of creation was made. For your faithfulness, O God, as You made promise to deal with sin, that the head of the serpent would be crushed by the Seed of the woman. By your faithfulness, within that promise, to send Your Son to us to come to us to save us…to come to us to cloak us in righteousness…to come to us to reconcile us to You by his blood, that we might even come into Your presence, Father. There was nothing about us that was worthy of being called into Your presence, of being called to join with the Church Triumphant. But Jesus has given us His worthiness, that we might have the great blessings of standing before You.
Lord, we give you thanks that you have brought us into Christ’s church. We thank You, O God that indeed, in Christ and for Christ there is a body here on earth that is His church. We give You thanks that you have made it the ground and pillar of truth. We know, O God, that that is sometimes more and sometimes less true, as we can see it, yet we know that Your word tells us, promises us, that Jesus Christ is going to make his church a glorious bride without wrinkle or spot or any such thing, and that a day comes when we will be there at the wedding feast of the Lamb and his bride the church, and we look forward to that day.
We pray that judgment might start at the house of God in that process of making Christ’s church that fit and glorious bride.
We give You thanks for our denomination, the CREC, and we pray for our brothers and sisters who stand beside us shoulder to shoulder. We pray for our sister churches gathered with us.
Father we have many in our number and many we love who are ill. We have a long list, Father, and we know that You can read it. We do not say that lightly. We know as well that you can read our hearts, that there are things that we hold about these things that are not on this paper. We know that You attend to these and we commend them to your care.
Lord, we pray for the persecuted church, we know that for those who believe, what is happening to them is making them more like Jesus, and we rejoice in that. But we pray, Lord, make us suffer with them as well, that we might hold them in our hearts.
And Father, we pray for this country. We know that those who govern, whether they are elected, appointed or employed are Your ministers. We know that they do their jobs that You have assigned them more or less well. Yet we know also that these things are all under Your control. Help us to stand in firm assurance of your control in these matters. We pray that indeed this country would be returned to Christ. We pray that You would make Christ’s church faithful in this country, that this might come about. We pray that those who govern might be converted, that their hearts might be changed, that Christ might be honored at all levels of our government. And Father we pray that your enemies would be overthrown, including the enemy that we hold in our own hearts, the sin that is within us.
And Father, we pray, bless the rest of our worship. Watch over us, guide us by your Holy Spirit, that we might faithfully worship You. As we come to this Table, help us to remember how it was set, what it took to set it, and help us to bask in that goodness, knowing what You have done for us, and to know what it means for us.
All this we pray in Christ’s holy name.