Father, your Word tells us that your blessings are not upon those who walk in the counsel of the wicked, who stand in the way of sinners, or who sit in the seat of scoffers. Your blessings are not upon those who deny you, or those who flagrantly disobey you, or those who forsake your will and your ways. Your blessings are not upon those who choose to embrace folly.
No, your blessings are upon those who find their delight in your Word and who meditate on it day and night. Your blessings are upon those who look outside of themselves for wisdom, who look beyond sinful humanity to know what’s true and false, to know what’s right and wrong. Your blessings are upon those who look to you, to the all-knowing, all-wise God. These are the ones who are like trees that have been planted beside streams of water, who are able to drink from that source of nourishment, who are able to grow strong, who are able to bear up under any challenge, who are able to prosper in the ways that matter most.
Yet we have to confess that we do not love your Word as we ought. We do not have the commitment to it that we ought to have for this source of wisdom that is so good and so precious and so pure, wisdom that is able to guide us away from all sin and into all righteousness. In the week that has gone by, each of us has at various times turned away from it. We have all chosen to disregard it. We have all chosen to disobey you. So we ask that you would forgive us. We ask that you would forgive us for all the sins we have done and for all the righteous deeds we failed to do. Forgive us for every time we embraced sin and for every time we forsook righteousness.
Thank you that we can have rock-solid assurance that when we confess our sins, you are faithful to forgive us our sins. Thank you that we aren’t left hoping against hope that you forgive us. Thank you that you’re the loving Father who graciously forgives us our every sin and remembers them no more. They are gone as far as east is from west, so we can live in the joy and freedom of forgiveness.
Father, we pray that we as a church would have a deep commitment to your Word, that not only individually but also corporately we would ground all we do in the Bible. I pray that as a church our delight would be in the law of the Lord and that we’d meditate on its truths together day by day, week by week, service by service. As we approach our annual business meeting to reflect on the year gone by and to prayerfully lay out the plans for another year, we pray that we’d be wise, that we’d be prayerful, that we’d be biblical, that we would be deeply submitted to you. Let all that we do, all that we plan to do and hope to do and aspire to do, reflect not our own incomplete and insufficient wisdom, but the wisdom that is from above, the wisdom you so freely and graciously offer us through your Word.
And Father, I want to pray specifically for the members of this church who are enduring difficulties, who are facing trials, who are sorrowful, who are oppressed by sin or sinners, who are hurting in body, mind, or spirit. In every case, I pray that they would know your comfort. I pray that they would know that you have not turned away from them. You have not forsaken them. You have not forgotten about them. But you are there with them, present in your Spirit and in your Word and present even in your people, the other members of this church. So I pray that we would minister to them with that Word, that we would bring them the truths that would be helpful and meaningful to them. Yet let us go further still. I pray that we would be willing to give time and effort and money and a listening ear and whatever else we can do to help ease their sorrows and to help bear their burdens. Let us serve them by representing you. And please, through these means, give them joy, give them hope, give them the assurance that all of these burdens are momentary afflictions before they see and experience the eternal weight of glory.
Please, Father, be with us now as we continue to worship you. Amen.