Every now and again I like to share an example of a pastoral prayer from Grace Fellowship Church. I do this because there are few examples of pastoral prayers online and I thought these may serve to inspire themes, passages, or ideas as other pastors and elders prepare to lead their churches in prayer. Here is one I prayed before my church near the start of a new year.
This morning we want to echo the psalmist and say, “It is good to give thanks to you, O Lord. It is good to sing praises to your name. It is good to declare your steadfast love in the morning and your faithfulness by night, and to do this all of this together, together as your people called by your gospel. And we do this, Lord, because you have made us glad by your works. When we look at who you are and what you’ve done, we sing for joy. We can’t help but sing for joy, because you are so good” (Psalm 92).
Father, in your presence, and in the presence of one another, and the presence of whoever else will listen, it’s our joy to declare, “the Lord is upright; he is our rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” There is no unrighteousness in you Lord. There is not a trace of it in your character. There is not the smallest hint of it in your works, in your ways, or in your decrees. You are only ever good. And that gives us such confidence as we come to another day, another week, another year.
Father, we’ve already asked this morning that you would forgive our sins, and so we want to receive that forgiveness, to say in your presence that we are choosing now to live as those whose sins have been forgiven. Those sins aren’t hanging over us like a sharp sword just waiting to drop. We are not just putting them off, procrastinating so we can deal with them in the future. No, we believe our sins have been taken away. You’ve taken them away. You’ve thrown them into the sea, you’ve trampled them underfoot, you’ve thrown them behind your back, you’ve covered them, forgotten them, removed them, blotted them out, taken them away, and canceled their debt. They are as far from us as east is from west. You’ve done all this so we can live in the freedom of forgiveness. So I pray that we would. Give us a holy boldness to live meaningful lives. Give us a holy joy to live sanctified lives.
Father, already early in this new year we’ve been given reminders of how small and weak and frail we are. We’ve been reminded that while you reign and rule on high forever, we are like the grass of the field that springs up but soon withers. We are weak, you are strong.
We thank you for sustaining [church member] through the shock of discovering his illness and through the surgery to address it. We thank you for the good reports and pray that he would make a full recovery, a quick recovery, and a permanent recovery from this illness. Please use this to bolster his faith, to teach him more about who you are, and to give him a great desire to make every moment count for you and for your glory. Please be with [his wife] as she cares for him, give her strength and confidence and joy in you. And be with little [child] and [child] in this time of turbulence. Please work in them even through this so from a young age they will know and profess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
We pray that you would be with [church member] as she prepares to say farewell to her father. We pray that she would receive comfort from your Spirit, from your Word, and from your people, and that she would be able to be a great source of comfort to those around her. Please help her to know the truth and believe the truth so she can minister that truth to others. We thank you that though she doesn’t know when her father is going, she knows where he is going. Thank you that he is known by you and loved by you and that you are calling him home to be with you forever.
We pray for all those who are suffering, for all those who are discouraged, for all those who are lonely, for all those who are feeling oppressed by sin, for all those whose dreams have been shattered, for all those who are inexplicably sad, for all those who have unfulfilled longings, for all those who wonder if anyone cares—we pray that you would be near to them, that you would comfort them by your Spirit. We pray that we would be near to them, that we would be faithful in ministering to them, in bearing those burdens together.
Father, as we continue our worship, and especially as we turn to the Word, we pray that we would be attentive and we pray that we would be expectant. Help us to be attentive—to listen well, to put aside distractions and to allow you to speak to us through your Word. And I pray that we would be expectant. You tell us that all of Scripture has been breathed out by you, so it is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. We pray, then, that you would speak and we would listen, so that we would be changed.
We pray this in the name of Christ our Savior. Amen.