Our Holy Father and our God…we know, O Father, that it’s all of You. That whatever we have, and whatever we are…these things have been given to us. We know, O Father, that salvation lies in Jesus Christ alone, and that that is of You as well…that before there was time You purposed to give us a Savior. Before there was time, You purposed to provide for our greatest need…that our question might be the same as the question of those at Pentecost…’How may we be saved?’ You knew that that question was there before we even were. And You gave an answer, O God, that we might be saved in Jesus Christ, by Your grace through faith in Him. We give You thanks, O God, that You have given us Your Son, that we have the grace to stand before You, having no righteousness of our own, but only His righteousness to depend upon, the grace that allows us to be heard…the grace, O God, that not only has given new hearts, but builds around those new hearts new lives. And we pray, Father, indeed, as Your apostle says, be about completing that good work You have begun in us, that it might be complete in us when the Day of Jesus Christ comes for us.
Father, we look forward to a time when again, as Your Scriptures say, You and Your Son live among Your people on this earth. We look to a day when we might look upon Jesus Christ and see Him as He is. We look to a day, O God, when there is no need for sun and moon, because all the light we need will be Yahweh, the Living God, and His Son, the Lamb. We look forward to a day when we sin no more and we will no longer be in the presence of sin. Until that day we pray that You would be at work in us, that You would help us, O God, to focus on that mirror, the perfect law of liberty. Lord, we are incapable of changing ourselves, but by Your Spirit work in us to will and to do according to Your good pleasure. Make us like Your Son, O God, as hard and as painful as that might be…and give us joy in it, for we know that true joy comes only from the Triune God.
Father, we give You thanks for Christ’s church. We give You thanks that You have set it on earth, that in it Christ has a body. We thank You, O God, for Christ’s church wherever we find it. We know, O Father, that it suffers from without and from within, that it suffers without from persecutions in various places and that it suffers from within from unfaithfulness. We pray, O God, for those who are persecuted, that You would alleviate their persecution and that those who persecute them might die the death of baptism or that they might be swept from the face of the earth. And we pray, O God, may judgment start at the house of God.
We, O God, are not a perfect church, and there are none. We know that a day is coming when Christ’s church will be that glorious bride, without wrinkle or blemish or any such thing. And we pray, may Your Son be about that business of washing His church-bride by the Word as if with water. And Lord, may Christ’s church respond well to that.
Lord, we give You thanks for the CREC, for the brothers and sisters and sister churches that stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us. We thank You for those watch over us, presiding minsters and sponsor church and session, and ask that we might be a light and joyful burden for them.
O God, we pray, hear us. Look upon the list of our concerns. We know that You knew it before we wrote it down. And we know that You know better than us what must be prayed in each of those circumstances, and that Your Holy Spirit completes that for us. Lord, in the deep recesses of our hearts, our pains and fears and bitterness, our distresses and our disappointments…we lay those before You and ask that by Your Holy Spirit they might be prayed for effectively in groanings that we cannot utter.
And Lord, we pray, give us joy. The joy knowing that Your Son is risen. The joy of knowing that Your Son lives, and that with Him we win as we are in Him. Lord, may we see Him as we come to this Table.
Father, all this in Christ’s holy name we pray.