One key element of our worship at Grace Fellowship Church is a pastoral prayer, in which one of the elders prays for the church and on behalf of the church. Every now and again I like to share one of those prayers. This prayer was prayed last Sunday by Tristan, one of the elders.
O God, most high and glorious, who planned to bring salvation through Christ to unworthy sinners like us. We marvel that Christ Jesus so closely identifies and loves the church, that the church is called the body of Christ. Through him, you have united and equipped people from diverse backgrounds to carry out your purpose. We marvel that you use the imperfect church as a means and instrument to accomplish your good purposes.
We know that you are Almighty, so you don’t need our help. Yet, we praise you for displaying your power through feeble people. Our finite and faulty minds struggle to comprehend your infinite greatness. It’s true your thoughts are not our thoughts, and your ways are not our ways. So certainly, we need your help to know you.
We praise you for graciously revealing yourself to us in your Word and sending your Holy Spirit to empower us to understand with greater clarity your steadfast love. You have told us through your Word that “blessed are those who seek you with their whole heart”. Help us to do this today. Help every Christian here to continuously seek to know you better. As we do this, renew our minds with your Word. We want our minds to be filled with more of your Word and less of the world. That our minds would more closely reflect yours. That we might not sin against you.
O God, we want our lives to reflect our new identity in Christ. We want our lips to be a beacon of grace to others. We want to use our words to encourage and to build up others. We want to use our voices to worship and praise your Great name. We want to use our words to bless. We want our words to speak the truth.
We confess that this week, some of us used our lips to lie, gossip, and slander. Some of us used your great name in vain. Some of us used words to communicate wrath and bitterness. Some of us used our words for filthiness, foolish talk, and crude joking. We acknowledge that these grievous sins do not reflect the new life we have in Christ. Please forgive us. Help us to put these sins far from us. O God, transform us by renewing our minds. We don’t want to use our lips in the same way we did before we became Christians. We want our speech to be instruments of righteousness to your glory. O God, how much more would our church be marked by love if every Christian here used their speech only in ways that brought glory to you! How much more would our church be united if we every Christian worked hard by your grace to put bitter jealousy and selfish ambition far from them! Make this so we pray.
As we think about our church, we thank you for blessing our church with elders. Thank you for saving, equipping, and calling each elder to this role. Grant to each elder the spiritual wisdom needed to fulfill their duties. Grant to each elder joy in their work. Protect each elder from the schemes of the enemy. And give to each elder grace to fight the good fight of faith. And bless this church with more faithful and qualified men to serve in this role for your glory.
We also remember our dear sister [M], who has been in debilitating pain for four weeks. O God, heal her back and reduce her pain. We know that you are near to your people. We pray that she would know your nearness and comfort in this time. Call to her mind your Word that she has been storing in her heart over many years. We know that your grace is sufficient for your people in any season. So we pray that you would powerfully demonstrate your gracious power in [M’s] circumstance and in her home.
As we prepare to hear your Word preached, help us to focus and listen. O God, reprove us in the areas we need to be reproved, rebuke us in the areas we need to be rebuked, and encourage us in the areas we need to be encouraged. Do this all for your glory.
In the name of Jesus, Amen