A Prayer for Those in Pain

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
(Psalms 4:1)

Giver of all good gifts, today we praise You for Your mercy and for the unbelievably precious gift of our salvation in Christ. Thank You for loving us even when we were in rebellion towards You and for saving us despite ourselves. You are truly a God of mercy, compassionate and faithful to the uttermost!

As we come before the throne of grace today, we come as those who are in desperate need. We need Your grace, Lord. There are many among us who are hurting either physically or emotionally; many who walk in darkness and struggle with burdens too heavy for us to carry. Yet You are the Light of the world who dispels the darkness, and upon Your able shoulders we are told to cast our cares and our worries.

Today, I ask that You will help those who are in need to do just that: cast their cares on You. Pierce the darkness with the light of Your truth and goodness, and lift the burden of those who are heavily laden. Refresh the weak and weary in spirit and revive the heart of the despondent. I humbly ask that You will lift the eyes of the downcast and cause them to be fixed steadfastly on You.
Be the Healer, the Provider, and the Joy of Your people, Lord! Make our hearts feel the rightness of Your presence and cause our spirits to soar on wings like eagles’. May it be that Your people are  so filled with the joy of the Lord that we naturally proclaim Your goodness and grace by our every action and word. Revive the hearts of Your people for Your own glory, Lord, and let it be that we display Your power as we walk in victory over sin and despair. For the glory of the risen King and in His name we ask this benefit, amen.

A Prayer for the Church

 

Our Lord who is our Portion, we truly have no good apart from You. You are the Giver of all good gifts, our Refuge and Strength, and Your grace alone is sufficient for us. Forever, You are faithful, holy, and just, and in You we find satisfaction.

Yet… we are a fickle people. We confess that we often try to find pleasure or fulfillment in things that seem to satisfy but are only temporary. Too often, we look to hobbies, entertainment, or even other people to placate us in our whims. Too often, we grow impatient or restless when You call upon us to wait on Your timing, and we endeavor to accomplish Your work through our own means or strength. In brief, too often, Lord, we fall short of believing that You are enough.

Still, You are enough. If we belong to You, then we can trust You no matter what our circumstances may appear to be. Just as You had a plan for Joseph in the actions of his traitorous brothers and even in his undeserved imprisonment, sometimes what seems impossible or horrible to us is merely a part of Your plan to bring glory to Your name.

God, forgive us for our unbelief! Forgive our mistrust of Your motives and ways, and teach us not to look for pleasure and contentment apart from You. Forgive, too, our self-focus as we concern ourselves with the gratification of our desires rather than with Your good pleasure.

Replace our self-focus with Christ-focus and restore us to a right relationship with You. May we become less in our estimation as You become greater. As the psalmist wrote, “you make known to us the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore,” (Psalm 16:11).  Let these words become reality for us, Lord, and may we become a people passionate to exalt the reputation of our mighty God. All this we ask for the sake of Your Son and in His name, amen.

 

A Prayer of Repentance: Great is Your Faithfulness

“O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules…

O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy.

O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act…”
(Daniel 9:4b -5, 18-19a)

Most High God, Creator of all things both visible and unseen, Refuge for Your people and wise and just Judge, You alone are good. To You belongs all manner of praise and honor. You are faithful and Your lovingkindness is without end. I rejoice in You today, for no matter what circumstances may lie in my future, You are enough and Your grace is sufficient for me.

But Lord my Strength, I also weep before You today for my weakness and the weakness of my people. I come to the Throne of Grace empty-handed, for I have nothing to offer the Almighty but my confession. Even my most noble deeds are stained and soiled by selfishness and pride.  To my shame, my mouth utters complaints that expose my unbelief and do not magnify the incredible benevolence of my God.

And my nation, O King of kings; my nation is reeling and staggering from the effects of a huge and horrible malignancy. My countrymen are consumed by our own sin. Like lepers, we can see the ravages of decay yet we are numb to the pain. Sadly, we are even in denial of the extent of the damage, for we have called what is evil, “good” and what is good, “evil” and reviled and ridiculed those who reject confusion and embrace purity and truth.

As a nation, our faces no longer burn with shame but instead we delight in debauchery and make it a source of entertainment, casually exploiting others for that which does not satisfy but only increases a peculiar, wasting hunger. We have cast off all inhibitions, even rejecting common sense and reason in favor of feelings and perceptions.

With pride grown grotesquely bloated, we have believed our foolishness to be evidence of our great intellect and mocked the very God who gave us life. We have exchanged Your truth for a lie and we worship our selves along with our own mad notions rather than the Creator of life.

What was formed in hopes of a “more perfect Union” has become a disunion. My race, the human race, has become impulsive in our fears and prejudices and have divided ourselves up into groups bordered by nothing more than economic and cosmetic differences. We seem to live fueled by rage, harboring grudges and licking our wounds instead of extending kindness and forgiveness. Rather than bear with others patiently, we jostle and jockey for positions as silly as being the first in line at the next streetlight.

We have attempted to rationalize evil by sanitizing the words we use to speak of it and have attempted to escape the consequences of our deeds by eliminating or ignoring them. Just as Israel did, we have sacrificed our children to worship prosperity, prostituting ourselves to the gods of wealth, convenience, entertainment, and comfort.

We have dressed ourselves in the garments of our success, yet we cannot see that they are mere tatters, soiled by the stench of our own putrefaction.

In all this and so much more, we have sinned and fallen far short of Your grace. And yet, Lord, I do not believe the sickness and folly of this nation in which I sojourn is beyond hope. Your grace is sufficient even for this great burden of guilt.

In 2 Chronicles 7:14, You declared to Israel:

…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

I believe You, my Lord.

I repent of my own wickedness, of my critical and unforgiving nature, of my careless words and my unbelief. On behalf of the waywardness and wickedness of my nation, I repent as well and plead with You on behalf of those who have been blinded and hardened by the deceit of our ancient enemy.

As I lift up my supplication to You, I know I do not pray alone. Even so, O Lord, hear the cry of Your people! Oh Lord, forgive! Oh Lord, save!

Send Your Holy Spirit in full force, piercing the hearts of this nation, healing the blindness and opening many eyes to see Your Truth, replacing numb and stony hearts with vulnerable hearts of flesh that ache with the pain of contrition.

Bring about a flood of compassion for others, of mercy and tenderness for those who hurt, of zeal for Your Kingdom, and of hunger for Your truth.

Teach our hearts to forgive the little slights we have endured because of the immensity of what You have forgiven us. What a gift You offer in Jesus! May the eyes of many, many enslaved souls be open to see the wonder of His sacrifice and the riches of Your grace. How astonishing that we who deserve dishonor, contempt, and death have been offered forgiveness, mercy, and everlasting life!

Then, O Lord, as many come before the Throne of Grace in true repentance, replace our leper’s rags with garments of praise. Place a new song in our mouths and teach us to magnify Your name together, opening our lips in praise for the marvel of our Salvation and for love of our Savior.

No matter what the future holds for our nation, may it be that we soon see an influx of new sheep to Your flock, and may we welcome them with tears and shouts of joy.

For those who are in Christ already, we ask that You increase our thirst for You, O Living Water. We confess our distraction and our spiritual lethargy and ask You to renew the joy of our salvation. Renew our passion and our fervor for Your Kingdom.

Fount of Living Water, fill Your people to overflowing, drowning out the chattering lies of our enemy in a thunderous cascade of Your righteousness. Help us to hear only Your voice, our Good Shepherd, and compel us to obey swiftly with eager diligence.

As a nation, I pray that You will humble our hearts and bring us to our knees in gratitude for the work that Jesus has completed on the cross. Turn our mocking into shouts of adoration and praise. Let us magnify You, our God! Restore that which is broken, cut away the festering disease, and heal our land.

And then, O Gracious Redeemer, restore us to Yourself that we may be fully restored. Even if we should wait weeks, years, decades — even lifetimes — remind us that Your timing that is perfect. May we never doubt Your goodness nor waver in trust, for what You have begun You will surely bring to pass.

Great is Your faithfulness;  even when we falter in unbelief, You are steadfast and Your mercies are new each morning. O Lord, give strength to Your people! Amen.

sunrise003

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
Lamentations 3:21-24

 

A Prayer for His People

 Father, Comforter, Healer, we thank You today for all the ways You are tender with us, offering us the shelter of Your wings when we deserve nothing more than Your scorn.  When troubles and enemies seem to encompass us on all sides, it is You who are our shelter and our refuge, our very present help in trouble. When the path we walk seems dark and confusing, You have given Your word as a lamp to our feet and a light to the path. Even more, You are with us even through the valley of the shadow of death, and so we have nothing to fear.

You are our Guide, showing us the way You would have us go. You are patient with us, reminding us to walk closely with You again and again as we repeatedly wander off on our own and stagger off course. You are Father, providing chastening at just the right time and to the proper degree. You are Savior, giving Your life to us who were dead in our sins. You are the God Who Sees us, who knows we are dust and knows when we have truly given our all to You… and when we have not. You are the God who is Love; whose banner over us is love. You are the Vine and we are the branches, growing strong and pulsing with Your life when we abide in You.

May we crave You as we crave air itself, knowing that a life without You is no true life at all. If we do not love You enough — and Lord, how could we? —  plant a passion for You within us. Teach our souls to pant for You as the deer pants for water; to thirst for the springs of Living Water and not to carve out broken cisterns for ourselves that hold no water.  Make us into a planting for the display of Your splendor in this earth, O God, and sanctify us completely in Your truth! For Your name’s sake we ask this, and we praise You for what You are doing and what You will do in and through us for the glory of Your Kingdom, amen.

Dust

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
Psalms 103:13-14

Oh Lord, how you must shake Your head at us sometimes! We are so fickle. So glibly we offer You praise on a fine Sunday morning, claim to believe in You, profess our undying love in song, and then we walk out the doors.  Back in the real world, we harbor resentful thoughts towards our husbands, we complain about the volume or the temperature in church, we snap at our children for being children, we mutter angrily at being cut off on the interstate, and all the while we are smugly certain that we are really rather mature, spiritually.

Rather than looking so hard at others, would we not do well to look carefully at ourselves? Naturally, we do need to discern between good and evil in this world where the enemy of our souls is working tirelessly to blur the lines. However, if we walk closely each day with the Light of the world, we find that lines that seemed dim in the twilight are stark in the radiance of His presence.

And so, as we walk in this brilliance, let us turn our eyes to ourselves. In the light where the stain of evil is readily apparent, how do our own garments look? Do our words to others throughout the week harmonize with that Sunday tune of praise and belief? Do we face financial challenge with blessings to our Provider on our lips, hearts in full assurance that the God who clothes the grass in such splendid array will take care of our needs, too? Does our internal dialog reflect an attitude of reverence and worship, continuing the hymn of adoration throughout each moment of the week no matter what trials or triumphs await us?

Ah, God! Teach us not to become so distracted by this world! Train our hearts to gaze on Your face, letting our little idols of self crumble from neglect. Though the darkness looms, seeming to press against us, remind us not to fear, for Your light cannot be quenched by it. Help us to truly become doers of Your Word, not just those who hear and remain as unmoved and unmovable as stones. Fill us with Your love by which Yeshua said the world would know that we are His disciples. Set a guard on our lips so that they may  not speak against a brother or judge a brother, nor speak bitter or hateful words at all. Better yet, Father, purify our hearts so that there is no bitterness nor any other evil within which can taint our speech or spoil our actions. 

And God? Father? Thank You for calling us Your children. Thank You for remembering that we are dust as we daily battle against our flesh and our sin nature, winning some battles but losing others. Thank You that You are patient with us, that You have compassion on us as we stumble and stagger along the narrow road, often forgetting to use the Lamp you have given us to see by. Teach us, Lord, as we go along to become more faithful and please increase our faith in You. Let us be children who trust in our Father implicitly; not foolish children who scamper off on our own way but wise children who listen in adoration, who obey from hearts swelling with love.  And while we are being loved by You, reveling in Your patience with our failures and Your compassion for our meager efforts, give our hearts the wisdom to show that same patience and compassion with our brothers and sisters.  Thank You in the name of our Messiah, Your Son and our King, amen.