Pastoral Prayer—May 22, 2005
Jesus said one of the attributes necessary for being a part of God’s kingdom is to share in the faith of a child. Jesus, we don’t believe, was encouraging us to be “childish”, but to be childlike, to share in their qualities of trust, to share in their arms wide open approach with their earthly father and mother with our heavenly Father. As we come to a time of prayer know this, if we approach God with the awe of a child at a beautiful flower, if we come before God with the joy of a child on Christmas morning, if we come with the tenderness of a child who has skinned a knee—God will hear us, and bless us.
As we prepare to pray we want to rejoice with those who celebrated the completion of course work at Asbury Seminary yesterday. We rejoice with J.R. on the occasion of her 80th birthday. We rejoice with those who are finding God’s leading and provision a fresh in this season of life.
We want to combine our petitions for W.&A. M., and those who will undergo surgery this week. We We should keep in our prayers those in transition, who are searching for God’s direction.
God hears our prayers offered in humility and love.
We welcome you to come and kneel at this alter of prayer as we sing again.
Knowing that Jesus is the Good Shepherd let us lift our prayers to the Lord.
Eternal God, whom we know as three persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, You grant to us a vast array of pictures as to who you are, what you’re like. Creation speaks of your might and creativity. Redemption speak of your justice and mercy. The stories Jesus spoke reveals you in other terms—today we hear of you as a shepherd who yearns for the lost sheep.
Such a description is riveting to our souls. For all of us have known what it is to be lost; lost in the world, lost from our dreams, lost in the bills and mundane of life, lost in our self-absorption and pride, lost from You. Yet you push your way through the thicket, the thorns and briars to rescue us, from our sin and you temper the consequences from our wrongdoing. You pick us up, dust us off and call us your children.
May we who have been redeemed rejoice at your loving kindness. May we rejoice as you continue your work of rescuing others, of caring for the whole of your creation. We know of family members, friends, neighbors and people around the globe today that are lost to your kingdom. Be for them the good shepherd.
Today there are those who rejoice among us, for their graduation, for birthdays, for new opportunities, for new marriages and families—thank you for the joy of accomplishment and the joy of your presence. Thank you for placing us within communities that reveal your love to us.
Today we pray for W.&A. M. , for those who are to undergo surgery. Be their constant companion.
We pray for those in transition—those graduates who are looking for a place of service, those with new additions to their families, those charged with taking care of their parents, may you be their eternal strength, guidance and comfort.
We pray for those who are far away from us, serving in the armed forces, serving on the mission field. We especially remember T.O., and the A&R V.
We pray for those who are contemplating the cost of leaving your flock, who are under a great threat of temptation, deliver us we pray. Protect us from the pitfalls that would destroy us, the cliffs from which we would tumble.
Thank you Good shepherd for hearing our prayers, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that we may wondrously love you, and live lives signifying your holy name. One God, now and forever. Amen.