From time to time I like to share an example of a pastoral prayer drawn from Grace Fellowship Church. Here is one I prayed a few weeks ago.
Father, here before you and before one another we freely and gladly declare that we love you. We love you for being the God you are. You’re a God of love. You’re a God of mercy. You’re a God of truth. You’re a God of justice. You’re a God of absolute perfection.
Father, we love you for loving us before the foundation of the world, and loving us so much that you sent your Son—your only Son—so we could be in relationship with you, so we could be your children—sons and daughters of God. Father, you gave what cost you most for our benefit. And we thank you.
Jesus, we thank you for loving your Father and loving us and for your willingness to be sent on our behalf. Thank you that you were willing to leave the Father’s side, to lay aside your glory, to take on flesh, to enter into this broken world, to take our sin upon yourself, and to pay the penalty for it. Thank you that you loved us even to the laying down of your life. Jesus, you gave what cost you most for our benefit. And we thank you.
Spirit, we thank you for loving the Father and the Son and for loving us. We thank you for your willingness to be sent as the Spirit of God to dwell within your people, to stir us to life so we can respond to the message of the gospel, and for empowering us so we can grow more and more holy, more and more like Jesus Christ. Holy Spirit, thank you that you are bringing to completion this great work of sanctification.
Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Almighty God, triune God, we give you thanks and praise and glory.
Of course we confess that we have sinned against you. We have not loved you with our whole hearts. We have not loved our neighbour as ourselves. So we ask, “Have mercy.” With hearts bowed low before you we ask, “Have mercy on us.”
God, thank you for the assurance that if we confess our sins, you are faithful to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. So let us receive that forgiveness now, let us believe that we really have been forgiven, and let us live like it’s true. Let us live in freedom, freedom from captivity to sin and freedom to a life of holiness and purity.
Father, we ask that as a church we would know your blessings. We pray that we would see clear evidence that you are at work here. Let us see that evidence in the ways we relate to one another. I pray that we would be a people marked by an obvious, sacrificial love for one another. I pray that we would hold loosely instead of tightly to those things that you’ve given to us, remembering that each is a gift from you—our time, our money, our homes, our possessions. I pray that we would always be both willing and ready to share with those in need, to be a blessing to them. Let us not love only in our thoughts and our words, but in our actions. Help us to be imitators of Jesus Christ in the way that he loved us.
Father, let us see clear evidence that you are at work not only in the way we relate to one another, but also in the way we relate to others who do not know you—people in this neighbourhood, people in our classes or offices, people in our families. We pray that we would live before them in such a way that they see our good works and give glory to you. We pray that we would not only live a Christian life before them, but speak the Christian gospel to them so they, too, would call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. We ask that you would add to our number, week by week, those who are being saved.
If we are to live in these ways, we will need to be filled with your Word. We will need to know it and obey it. So as we prepare to open it and read it and hear it preached to us, we ask that we would listen humbly and attentively, that we would listen expectantly and prayerfully. Use it to both confront and comfort us, to call us away from sin and toward holiness. We pray that we would be changed by your Word. That is our desire. That is our prayer.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.