As you know, I like to share occasional examples of pastoral prayers. I do this hoping they may provide inspiration for others as they prepare their prayers week by week. This particular prayer was prayed this weekend at Grace Fellowship Church.
Our Father in heaven, we love you.
How can we but love you, for you are so worthy of our love. We look at the gods that men have invented and we can only conclude that none of them are worthy of love. They are small, they capricious, they are arbitrary, they are unfair, they are unjust, they are unlovable. We could not love those gods. But we look at what you have revealed of yourself and our hearts swell, our hearts rejoice, our hearts are drawn to you. We love you because you are kind, because you are good, because you are merciful. We love you because you are slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. We love you because you are the same yesterday, today, and forever. We love you because you have first loved us. Thank you for being a God who is eminently worthy of our deepest loyalty, our highest affection.
Yet we confess, God, that we have not always loved you as we ought. Too often we have loved ourselves far more. We have chosen to do what pleases us rather than what pleases you. We have chosen to pursue our heart’s desires instead of yours. Each of us was born in a state of rebellion against you and each of us deepened that rebellion as soon as we had the ability to do so. So we confess our sin and our sinfulness, the sins we have committed and our very tendency toward sin. Forgive us, Lord, for being sinners, and do forgive us for each and every transgression of your law and each and every failure to perfectly conform to it.
Thank you, Lord, that you do forgive. Thank you that you have forgiven. Thank you that you always will forgive. Thank you that your heart is forever inclined toward forgiveness, that your love is deep and strong and true. Thank you that your love does not waver and does not whither. Thank you that you have restored the relationship that we ruined, that you have bound up all that we had broken. Thank you that you have enabled us to come to you, and thank you that you tell us to come just as we are, thank you that you receive us with arms open wide, thank you that you make us new.
And Father, you have now invited us to bring our prayers before you, to speak so you can listen and respond. And so, because you have told us to do this, we now bring our petitions. We ask first and foremost that you would receive the glory through us. We ask that we would be faithful, faithful to be who you tell us to be, faithful to value what you tell us to value, and faithful to do what you would have us do. We ask that we would live out our love for you by loving one another. We ask that we would live with kindness and patience and generosity toward one another, that we would exemplify amongst ourselves the virtues that are so perfectly seen in you. We ask that we would comfort one another in sorrow, that we would forgive one another when sinned against, that we would be slow to speak ill of one another and quick to point out any and every evidence of your grace.
We pray that we would live well in this world, as faithful neighbors, faithful employees, faithful students, faithful friends. Help us to have a good reputation in the eyes of those around us. Help us to live in a way that displays the gospel and that makes it look attractive. Help us to be quick to tell others about Jesus. Help us to carry out your work in this world, to serve as your representatives.
We ask, Lord, that you would keep us faithful, that you would preserve us to the day we see you face to face. We ask that some day we would stand together before the Throne, as brothers and sisters, now perfectly holy, rejoicing in all you are and in all you’ve done. Please Lord, continue to show us your love. Please Lord, continue to help us to love you as we’ve been so perfectly and wonderfully loved by you.
In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.