Monday, March 26, 2007

Pastoral Prayer from March 25, 2007

Occassionally I'm called on to give the Pastoral Prayer in the morning worship services at WFMC. It is a high calling to pray and the task is great. When ever I compose a prayer and look at it I'm always aware that somewhere someone or some circumstance is being left out. There is a great deal to present to God when we do so in a community setting. Often a written prayer troubles at gaining much in global proportions, I dare say a prayer said at the moment, at least from me, would fail to get past my own personality, and then it wouldn't be very good.

I wrote above that I composed this prayer. Some of that comment is true. We have two services at WFMC and after standing and praying it, I felt as if I had been praying words that were not my own. I really sensed that the Spirit had been leading and guiding in the words. This was a moment of "praying in the Spirit."

There are two parts of what follows, the introduction to our prayer time, and the prayer itself.

March 25, 2007
Pastoral Prayer

In Isaiah 49 God compares his compassion and care for is people to a mother who cares for her nursing child. God goes so far to say that though a mother may forget her child, He will not forget His children.
As we prepare to pray we need to be reminded that God cares profoundly for His children, for us, and for the world. As we come to pray, we do so in confidence that God hears us, speaks with us, and in the midst of prayer shapes our heart and mind to be more like Jesus.
Today we want to give thanks for God’s goodness, for his leading, for providing wisdom for decisions that are made countless times every day.

We also want to bring to the Lord, those in our family and community who stand in need of God’s special care.
L. F. – has been sick with the flu. He went to the hospital ER yesterday. L. needs the Lord’s strengthening.
K.A. – is on bed rest with first pregnancy
V.H. – grieve the death of his brother
Let us also pray: For the stand off over the British Marines captured by Iran; For our Missionaries who serve around the world, especially C.&S. K. and their family serving in Asia.

We’re going to sing once again and as we do you’re invited to come and kneel at the altar if you’d like for prayer. Let us sing.

Let us pray
Glory be to you Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.
With thankful and grateful heart we gather in this sacred setting to lift High your name. We long to praise You with our earthly voices as the angels and saints sing in the heavens. We long to tell one another, our brothers and sisters in the faith, of your goodness and grace, of your great and particular salvation and mighty power at work in us. We long to bless You, our Great God and King, Your Hand is mighty and Your beauty is matchless.
In this season of lent, this season when we acknowledge the potholes in our lives, when our temptations take on a new awareness and our need for mercy is ever before us – your glory and mercy are radiant, in the lives of your redeemed saints who walk this earth, and in the glory of your creation which is springing to life before us. The dogwood trees in particular are a gift of mercy and cherished emblems of your beauty. They point us to the garden where Christ stood victorious over sin and death.
In our community you have graced us with grandma’s and grandpa’s who have walked with you. The testimony of their lives is added affirmation of your work in our world, and your work in us. Your faithfulness O God, is unending and constant. Forgive us when we fail to keep faith with you.
We are thankful L.F. We lift him to you; knowing that he needs the strengthening of your hand, the healing of your presence.
We pray for K.&D. A. and for the life that K. carries. Let not fear overwhelm them, but may your hope be their constant companion.
We pray for the H.’s in the loss of V.’s brother.
We pray for others who likewise need your strong healing hand . . .

We pray for the K.s today, and with them all who serve around the world in the name of Jesus. Bless their work, grant to them encouragement and joy when the labor is tough. Grant to them perseverance and grace. May their relationships be renewing and as they serve, may they find your strength renewing their own souls. Assist them, and us in this place who have young children in our homes – may we be faithful to them. May C. and S. live in the certainty of your care for them and in the joy of your presence. Assist also, with your Divine strength, B.&K. B. May their trip be used for your purposes.

As we pray for our world we are reminded that we live in a world at war. We pray for the British soldiers captured this past week and their families. We also pray for the leaders of nations who make life changing decisions. We pray that in the places of leadership You, O God, would change hard stony hearts to be hearts who seek peace. We pray that your Church would not succumb to a political point of view, but would live and speak in the way of Jesus.

Before we speak to the world, we long to hear your voice. With Samuel we say, Speak Lord, for your servants are listening . . .

Hear the prayers of our hearts, to the glory of your name. Glory be to you Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, World without end. Amen. Amen.

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