Pastoral Prayer – February 10, 2019

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours.  Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 1 Chr 29:11 ESV

At the invitation of our Lord Jesus, your children gathered here humbly come before your throne to offer our prayers.  Almighty and loving God, we are grateful for every soul you have sovereignly brought into our fellowship.  We praise you and thank you for your work among us and through us.

Father, you know everyone here completely:  our works, our words, our thoughts …our sins; from you no secrets are hidden.  We have all rebelled against you, doing things that your commandments and our consciences tell us are evil.  By our sins we’ve made a mess of our lives, hurt those around us, and earned your wrath.  You tell us in Hebrews, it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.  Most Holy God, were you to judge us based on the lives we have lived, you would rightly banish us to an eternity of anguish in hell.

But in a glorious union of your mercy, justice and love, you sent Jesus into the world to rescue your elect from that fate.  Taking on flesh, he lived the sinless life each of us is commanded to live, but does not, and then went to the cross to bear the wrath due to everyone who repents of their sin and surrenders to him as Lord.  Your acceptance of his substitutionary sacrifice was evidenced by your raising him from the dead!  Those of us who have had our hearts changed, our eyes opened, and have run to the arms of Jesus say hallelujah!

Your law lovingly shows us our sin and our inability to obey it completely.  By sending your Son, you have lovingly shown us mercy we do not merit – your amazing grace.

The giving of the law was accompanied by thunder, lightning, smoke and fire.  Moses went up Mount Sinai alone; the people were not allowed to even approach the mountain, lest they die, for you cannot tolerate sin in your presence.

Over a millennium later, your Son, God in the flesh, climbed a mountain in Galilee, not alone, but with his sin-stained disciples gathered around him.  In what we know as his Sermon on the Mount, he proclaimed the Messiah’s authoritative message about living under the Covenant of Grace amidst a fallen world.

Lord Jesus, as members of your kingdom we need to hear again your words of blessing – your beatitudes (Mt 5:2-12 ESV), so that we may be encouraged to live faithful lives in this sinful culture.  And so, Christ Jesus, we pray that…

  • As those who recognize our spiritual bankruptcy, our hearts will sing at your words, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • As those who grieve over the pain and loss caused by our sin, we will be heartened by your promise, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
  • As those called to love and serve those around us, we will humbly sacrifice our interests for theirs, strengthened by your declaration, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
  • As those who recognize you, Lord Jesus, as the only source of righteousness and who long to be more like you, we will celebrate your benediction, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
  • As those who called to be kind and forgiving to our enemies as well as our friends, we will be spurred to do so by your proclamation, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
  • As those who have been credited by the Father with your righteousness, may we doggedly pursue personal holiness – not just an external holiness, but a holiness in our innermost being, motivated by your vow, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
  • As those entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation, may we urgently tell others your gospel, the only path to peace with God, being eager for it to be said of us, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
  • As those who often suffer adverse consequences for telling people what your Word says and are belittled for seeking to live in obedience to your commands, may we be fortified by your assurance that, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • And as those ridiculed and castigated for our faith in you, may we renew our resolve to live faithfully and joyfully because you have said, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for teaching us the blessings of discipleship amidst a culture hostile to God.  May we glorify you by our walks.

Holy Spirit, we pray you will plant these beatitudes in our hearts and use them to encourage each of us in our pilgrimage down here.

Heavenly Father, we pray that by your grace we may live lives that exalt your Son and are pleasing to you.  We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, forever God, world without end.  Amen.

Posted on: February 10, 2019 - 3:32PM

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